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Mein Kampf: the Good, Bad and Outright Ugly
Learned from Marxists
The Marxist Socialists knew how to put it to practical uses. The right use of propaganda was an art in itself.
[The Marxists] were furnished with arguments against our claims which were being constantly repeated.
The Marxist cause [was won by] propagandist work done by thousands of agitators … standing on tables in smoky taverns [who] hammered ideas into the heads of the masses.
Atheist Marxist newspapers advocated the cause of one religious denomination or the other, through slogans which were immeasurably stupid.
“Feelings … nothing more than Feelings”
Guard against considering the broad masses more stupid than they really are. In political matters feeling judges more correctly than intellect.
Propaganda must be in a popular form, and its level not above the heads of the least intellectual.
[For most] thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. Not complex [but only] the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.
The art of propaganda [is] to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings.
‘Intellectuals’ look down on anyone who has not been through the prescribed schools. What a man can do is never asked but rather, what has he learned?
So-called intellectual circles [cannot] take a realistic view of their own interests, and the interests of their nation. They are utterly incompetent [yet] self-conceited, without the slightest justification.
Placid aesthetes would readily transform the impressive character of real propaganda into something suitable only for literary tea parties.
Simple, absolute, repetitive
The broad masses are never susceptible to any half-hearted attitude that wavers. Emotional grounds [account] for their extraordinary stability.
[Convince them of] the reality of a certain fact, necessity of things, something that is essential.
People prefer the ruler to the suppliant [and] a teaching that brooks no rival [to one] which offers a liberal choice.
Receptive powers of the masses are restricted, they quickly forget. Propaganda must be bare essentials expressed in stereotyped formulas.
A single enemy
The art of leadership [requires] consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary.
Our people [must] fix their attention on the sole enemy, which is robbing us of this existence.
Make opponents appear as one category. [Followers may doubt] the justice of their own cause, if they have to face different enemies.
‘Public opinion’ .originates [not] from personal experience, [but rather] through persistent ‘information’.
The most effective branch of political education is the Press, a kind of school for adults [through] persistent repetition.
Mass meetings, oratory and rhetoric
The force [behind] religious and political movements is the spoken word. The broad masses are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric. All great movements are popular movements
False ideas may be set aside by instruction, but emotional resistance never can. That appeal can be made by scarcely any writer. Only the orator can hope to make it.
[In] mass assemblies the individual begins to feel isolated and in fear of being left alone. In the crowd he feels sheltered … they draw him still closer to the movement.
Our pig-headed intellectuals think that a writer must of necessity be superior to an orator in intelligence.
I slowly became a platform orator at mass meetings. The bourgeois intellectuals [relied on] writers and [were not] orators.
Followers, members and agitators
Every movement has two groups. The follower who understands and accepts its aims; the member who fights for them.
Believing is enough for the majority [who are] mentally lazy and timid. The more revolutionary a doctrine the more active its body of members, [it] will frighten away the chicken-hearted and small-minded bourgeoisie.
The combative form [of] our propaganda [meant] only men of radical views were disposed to become members.
Germany was waging war for its very existence. Propaganda [should strengthen] the fighting spirit. Beautiful and humane are not standards of war propaganda.
The masses cannot understand mutual hand-shakings between men who are declared enemies. Their wish is to see the stronger side win and the weaker wiped out.
Sole responsibility [for the war] should have been laid on the shoulders of the enemy. The masses [cannot] discern where the enemy’s fault ends and where our own begins.
A treaty [with] unbounded oppression and impudent demands [made] excellent propaganda. The world looks upon us only as its valet, or a dog that will lick its master’s hand. Versailles was a scandal, highway robbery … done by the Marxists. Therefore, it was necessary to take the opposite side.