The essence of “propaganda” in Germany

Managing Director of the Hanse Press.

Propaganda is a word often pronounced with a certain intonation, and the word is associated with ideas like prejudice, exaggeration and but little discrimination in the selection of means and methods. In fact, propagandists have been thought of as cold-blooded and calculating creatures whose stock-in-trade is deception, not to say lies.

But such conclusions are unfair. It does not give consideration to the fact that every manifestation of human life has its positive and negative symptoms. Obstinacy may mean strength of character – or merely stubbornness; national feeling exists next to narrow-minded Chauvinism; real piety finds its counterpart in bigotry, and in hypocrisy. Both varieties grow in the same soil, and yet they are separated by a whole world. Only those who judge are often unable to differentiate between the real and the false. They do not notice the difference between the propagation of an idea and the yells of a cheap-jack. Like a boomerang, such an error returns to its sender. Remarks of an English paper that the general participation of the public in the Jubilee of the sovereign was a “mob” would be on the same level as referring abroad to demonstrations in National Socialist Germany as staged get up. There are critics everywhere who dissect and label every feeling, and attribute it to the lowest possible causes. They are only satisfied when they belittle in others what is, in most cases, missing in themselves…

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