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Propaganda in 19 easy steps

January 16, 2010

Propaganda in 19 easy steps


Most people know that Goebbles was Hitler’s chief propagandist in Words War 2. In what is possibly the most well orchestrated campaign of hate and vilification in history he logically and deliberately planned half truths and lies for all forms of media. He placed a lot of faith in the belief that everything was based upon the perception it is given. Mein Kampf by Hitler was full of delusions of grandeur; a hate (of Jews) and an absolute contempt of ordinary people. Both men shared the belief that the wool could easily be pulled over people eyes because there were superior and inferior people. From Mein kampf: “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.”; “The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force.”


Armed with contempt of the masses Hitler was no fool and studied hard to at every human weakness. He knew the value of hate as shown by this passage from Mein Kampf: “The art of leadership. . . consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention. . . . The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category.” Here he shows his view that deception and vilification are the tools he will use to forge his future. Goebbles was the tool that Hitler needed to spread his campaign and that tool was as sharp as it was spiteful.


So how did someone like Geobbles approach this task with a steady mind and logical calculating reason? He gave some clues to his think in his ‘Principles of Propaganda’. Below I have listed these principles in order to inform people. We all have a right to ask if they are ever being employed in the modern world. Only through knowledge do people understand when something is being twisted by an unscrupulous source. I found these interesting and perhaps you will too.


Warning: If you happen to be thinking that this knowledge is power to your own dark cause then think again. Both Hitler and Goebbles killed themselves when they could no longer deceive people.

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Based upon Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda by Leonard W. Doob, published in Public Opinion and Propaganda; A Book of Readings edited for The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

1. Propagandist must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion.


2. Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.

a. It must issue all the propaganda directives.

b. It must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale.

c. It must oversee other agencies’ activities which have propaganda consequences

3. The propaganda consequences of an action must be considered in planning that action.


4. Propaganda must affect the enemy’s policy and action.

a. By suppressing propagandistically desirable material which can provide the enemy with useful intelligence

b. By openly disseminating propaganda whose content or tone causes the enemy to draw the desired conclusions

c. By goading the enemy into revealing vital information about himself

d. By making no reference to a desired enemy activity when any reference would discredit that activity

5. Declassified, operational information must be available to implement a propaganda campaign


6. To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.


7. Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.


8. The purpose, content and effectiveness of enemy propaganda; the strength and effects of an expose; and the nature of current propaganda campaigns determine whether enemy propaganda should be ignored or refuted.


9. Credibility, intelligence, and the possible effects of communicating determine whether propaganda materials should be censored.


10. Material from enemy propaganda may be utilized in operations when it helps diminish that enemy’s prestige or lends support to the propagandist’s own objective.


11. Black rather than white propaganda may be employed when the latter is less credible or produces undesirable effects.


12. Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.


13. Propaganda must be carefully timed.

a. The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.

b. A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment

c. A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness

14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.

a. They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses

b. They must be capable of being easily learned

c. They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations

d. They must be boomerang-proof

15. Propaganda to the home front must prevent the raising of false hopes which can be blasted by future events.


16. Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.

a. Propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat

b. Propaganda must diminish anxiety (other than concerning the consequences of defeat) which is too high and which cannot be reduced by people themselves

17. Propaganda to the home front must diminish the impact of frustration.

a. Inevitable frustrations must be anticipated

b. Inevitable frustrations must be placed in perspective

18. Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.


19. Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both.

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