By By Alex Grobman | August 31, 2023
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Reich Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, appreciated the importance of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda. Early in the war, he repeatedly called the conflict a “Jewish war,” initiated by the Jews for their own economic benefit and their ultimate objective of world domination, noted historian Saul Friedländer.
Jews: A Satanic Force
Jews were considered a satanic force, explained historian Bernard Lewis, and the cause of virtually every evil in the world. Jews were allegedly involved in an eternal plot to control the world, using any nefarious methods necessary. Communism and capitalism were said to have been created as a means to manipulate the world and dominate its people. Jews were accused of infiltrating modern society and using their skills to direct the government, the stock exchange, the press, the theater and literature.
World War II
The war would enable the Germans to destroy the power of “international Jewry,” which controlled the enemies of Germany (France, Britain and the U.S.), and facilitate their removal. as Hitler’s stated goal, articulated already in 1919, historian Yehuda Bauer points out. Thus, the obvious conclusion, Bauer said, is that antisemitism was one of the two primary ideological motives influencing the Nazi leaders to start a war in which tens of millions of people lost their lives and produced endless misery.
The Jews were not merely victims, Bauer said. They are a people, a community and a nation, “which was in some significant ways, central to the self-understanding of European and not just German society.” This is why the Jews became the focus of an unprecedented assault that has transformed the Western, and progressively also the non-Western world’s “perception” of itself. The essence of National Socialism is not its bureaucratic culture or “modernistic structures”—which clearly contributed—but an ideological commitment to abolish not just a government or a political system, “but the basic order of the world.”
Goal of Propaganda
As pointed out elsewhere, the notion that propaganda means the “art of persuasion,” calculated only to transform attitudes and ideas, is clearly one of its objectives, but frequently a partial and secondary one, historian David Welch claims. “More often, propaganda is concerned with reinforcing existing trends and beliefs, to sharpen and focus them.” Another fundamental misunderstanding is the belief that propaganda is based primarily on lies and fabrications. In reality, it functions on a variety “of kinds of truth—the outright lie, the half-truth, the truth out of context.” To a certain extent, some view “propaganda as essentially appeasing the irrational instincts of man,” and they are correct. Yet since decisions are the result of one’s “rational decisions, propaganda must appeal to the rational elements in human nature as well.” Thus, propaganda “is ethically neutral—it may be good or bad,” Welch concludes.
Goebbels Visits Poland
After a visit to Poland, Goebbels met with Hitler on November 2, 1940, and described the Jews as a “waste product,” a “clinical issue more than a social one.” They decided to increase anti-Jewish propaganda throughout the world, Friedländer said: “We consider,” Goebbels noted, “whether we should stress the Zionist Protocols [sic] in our propaganda in France.” Throughout the war, and particularly toward the end, Goebbels’ plans to employ the Protocols continually recur.