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Dirk Schindelbeck » Blog Archiv » Stoetzners Rede “The coming battle of human minds”

Stoetzners Rede “The coming battle of human minds”

Am 2. Februar 1943 hielt der in die USA emigrierte ehemalige Anzeigenleiter der Frankfurter Zeitung, Dr. Eric Woldemar Stoetzner in Philadelphia folgende hier im Original-Wortlaut wiedergegebene Rede. Sie kann als der früheste Versuch eines Re-education-Konzepts interpretiert werden, wie mit den Menschen im besiegten Deutschland nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg umzugehen sei.

Mehr Hintergrundinformationen dazu finden Sie in meinem Buch “Marken, Moden und Kampagnen”. Teile davon stehen auch als pdf-file zum direkten Download zur Verfügung. Zu Eric Woldemar Stoetzner vgl. auch den Text “Deutsch-amerikanischer Januskopf” von Rainer Gries und mir in “Das Parlament” stoetzner3551


The Coming Battle of Human Minds

(Quelle: Horst Fischer: Die Stoetzner-Story, München 1986, S. 161ff.)

We are all well aware of three dimensions of the present world wide conflict: the dimension of land and the battles that are occurring there; the dimension of the seas, and the hard fighting on and under the waters; and the third dimension of the air.
But there is a fourth dimension a fourth front of this war which we do not so easily recognize. It is the so called propaganda front, the front of human minds.
This is a front where the conflict will be most severe after the other three fronts have been won and the battles there have ceased.
This is the front where we must fight for a mutual understanding between ourselves and our defeated enemies if the peace which follows is to last.
It has always taken great effort for people on this side of the Atlantic to understand Europe even in normal times. Such understanding has become more difficult now after totalitarian propaganda has upset all values and proportions on the Continent.
Reports from Europe and from this country, too, indicate there is one recurring question:
“What about Germany after the War?”


Germany, it is true, will be an outstanding economic problem; but, first of all, Germany is now and will continue to be after armed conflict has ended the psychological problem-child of our time.
In order to find the keys to the changes which have taken place in the whole European spiritual structure, we on this side of the Atlantic must study and be familiar with the Nazi ideology and Nazi propaganda techniques. With these keys firmly in hand, we can
unlock and re educate the European and, more particularly, the German mind as we shall find it in the post war reconstruction period.
What we have recently seen in North Africa the decline and confusion of the French conception is due principally to the impact of Nazi philosophy upon large segments of the French people. This is in reality only one alarm signal the tip off, you might say for
the many nagging problems waiting for us after our conquests in Europe.
Difficulties will increase the closer we approach the center of the European illness itself Nazi Germany.
An analysis of the German propaganda front, or more explicitly of German propaganda on the home front, answers the problems we have to discuss before we draw decisive conclusions. Nazi propaganda has created a new type of German personality. The false indoctrination of ten and more years ol Nazi ascendancy will leave deep and significant scars upon the thinking process of all Germans and many other Europeans.

***

How did Nazi propaganda change the individual’s attitude? What, for instance, is the difference, created by propaganda, between a German city and an American city?
Let us walk together through a German city in order to se the differences in every day life. The most obvious change that meet the eye result from Hitler’s successful demonstration technique.
Your first impression is: “Practically everybody is wearing a uniform!” There is the brown SA man and the black SS man, the black Hitler boy and the black white Hitler girl the blue labor frontist and the bluish plant trooper, the dark, brown labor service man, the
brownish farm year girl. People without a uniform demonstrate their conviction by wearing at least one button showing party membership of membership in one of the Nazis’ professional groups. Those who were liberals prior to 1933 prove their “coordination” by donning several buttons at a time.
Visitors have marvelled at the ocean of flags in German cities. That seemingly spontaneous expression of the populace’s feelings began immediately, with the start of Hitler’s regime, when a more or less soft spoken word of the political Blockwarden made it clear to any citizen that everybody had to display a flag or else go into the next concentration camp.
Window dressing of the stores and the shops is put into the party service likewise. Today, in wartime, they contain, in place of goods, Hitler’s picture and an appeal to follow him, the leader.
At any newly constructed building you find a tremendous billboard which says: “That we are building here, we thank thee, leader!”
Sometimes Nazi are not aware of their own jokes. Wouldn’t you be delighted with the billboard outside a recently constructed insane asylum: “That we finished this building, we have to thank thee, leader!”
These examples of propaganda express the victory of the demonstration method over the individual and his own reasoning. The individual is dimmed out. The entire nation is welded together as a uniformed mass with uniform reactions. At the same time these measures represent the victory of Hitler’s gigantic test method. For before he ever starts any campaign, he tests out everything in question. He tested the success of his ideas about uniforms and buttons and flags on smaller groups, then on entire regions. Finally, after years of preparation, he tried the tested results on the whole nation and, still later, upon the conquered lands of Europe.
Of course, the test method is familiar to the American advertising man. But to my knowledge Hitler tried it for the first time for political purposes on such a large scale.

***

So far we have looked at the German city. Now let us listen to the people.
“Heil Hitler” greets you in your home, in the hotel, the shop, the trolley car, your business meeting, the post office, the telephone everywhere. You hear it many hundred times a day.
“Heil Hitler” is the substitute for the old German greeting, “God be with you,” or “Good morning,” or “Good evening.”
How cleverly it is figured out! For this daily greeting is an ever repeated expression of conviction. It is a continuous mouth to mouth propaganda. It implies: Hitler is everywhere - Hitler is omnipresent - Hitler is the superman who will solve our problems. The idea, “Hitler,” is being hammered into the uncritical minds of the children.
The idea behind the hundreds of “Heil Hitler” greetings everyday is Hitler’s well tested repetitive method. This blunt kind of repetition annoys Americans, but it does not annoy the Germans. American advertisers would do well to realize this for their future use. The
repetitive method has to be used in Germany if large groups are to be reached.

***

How did Hitler originally conquer the German masses? After he had gained their confidence through his long campaigns, he secured, through his first restriction measures, a monopoly of all means of mass information. One of his first actions was to destroy the freedom of the press. It was his plan to create a press, working like an orchestra, with himself as the conductor and all Germany as the audience.
Since 1933 the controlled German newspapers have reported, not what happened in truth, but what they have been told to report.
As you know, the German press has never accentuated the news. It has always been an opinion press which nursed the editorial idea in every column. These columns always represented an ideology. To understand the German newspapers it is important to keep in mind that they and their readers have a different conception of the freedom of the press than does our press.
Freedom of the press has meant freedom of propaganda to them. But it is through this very propaganda they have destroyed their own basis, for they split the public opinion in so many particles that these small scattered groups of opinion were easy prey for the Nazis. It is an irony of fate that the newspapers themselves actually had to help finance their own destruction. For Goebbels forced them to pay 2 % of their entire advertising revenues as a kind of tax for protection. He then used this money to make them his instruments and to build up his propaganda ministry as the most influential governmental department.
How do the Nazis always manage to get a uniform reaction from all the sources of information which they control? This is how it is done: They hand out in secret daily meetings confidential directions to press and radio representatives. An editor knows
disobedience to instructions means the risk of his position, and the betrayal of the confidential material means loss of his head as well.
Here is an example of such a confidential instruction to German newspapers and those of occupied Europe.
When Pierre Laval returned to take over Vichy, the Nazis ordered: “There is no reason to give special prominence to the new Laval government. Doubtless the appointment will be greeted with satisfaction by a majority of the French population since Laval was the man, who, after the collapse of France, showed great understanding for a conception of the New Order in Europe. Germany’s interest in the Laval government consists exclusively in the expectation that he will inaugurate and carry through internal reconstruction of France in the interest of the European New Order.”

***

Radio is now established as a political force. An experience I had as president of an advertising club in southern Germany may illustrate radio’s great power. The club members were invited for a Friday 12 o’ lock luncheon meeting, to which they came from all parts of the country. We were just about to gather when, totally unexpectedly, an announcement came out of the ether. The omnipresent Hitler was to speak over the radio at 12 o’clock!
This effect was that of an earthquake. All means of communications were stopped. All labor ceased. Printing presses big and small halted, for after the speech - who knew? - the world might look entirely different. The plant workers and employees had to gather in an assembly hall and listen in as the “folk’s community.”
The speech began to roar over all heads, the faces became masks, everybody put on an interested smile. After the speech was finished, the obligatory exclamations followed: “How inspiring! How wonderful.” The crowd poured out of the assembly hall. The important meeting of the visitors from far out of town gathered two hours later without the slightest consideration for their other business engagements.

***

The daily radio program echoes the belief that Germany is at war against a world of enemies open enemies abroad and secret ones at home. Thus is created a constant nervous aggressiveness toward everybody outside Germany and the ever present suspicion of everybody towards everybody else. This method of propaganda was introduced because of the Nazi principle that attack is the best defense.
Although every German citizen has to pay 24 marks, about 10 Dollars annually for permission to listen in on the radio a great revenue for Goebbels’ ministry they are not allowed to tune in foreign stations. Why not? Goebbels has a significant answer: “As the soldier is forbidden to maim himself, so the civilian is forbidden to maim himself mentally through listening to foreign broadcasts.”

***

Public speeches, always a force in America, had been unknown in Germany. Therefore the masses were immediately victimized by the first purposeful orator, Hitler. He has now declared the talent for public speaking the first requirement for Nazi leadership. My
business associates and I met this type intimately in the person of Robert Ley, the labor leader and we were shocked. The study of his speeches helped me to understand the Nazi oratory. Their principles of public speaking are quite a little different from those
expressed in American textbooks about “public speaking.” These principles make it understandable why Nazi orators conquered Germany and parts of Europe. The first principle is that the speeches have to be popular. Masses are ruled by emotion, not by reason.
Therefore the level of the speech has to be determined by the lowest intelligence in the audience. Everything is painted black or white like wishful dreams. The concepts are “haves” and “have nots,” “the well organized leader state” and the “jewish destructive
democracy,” “love and hate,” “patriot and traitor.” A vicious melodrama!
Another factor influencing emotional reaction is the careful staging of every meeting. The mass meetings are performed in the night hours, when mental resistance to strong propagandistic stimuli is weakest. Songs, music, light effects, emotional outbursts, bring
forth the effect of a Wagner opera.

***

But the most important targets of Nazi propaganda on the home front are education and religion, and German youth is the prize. The system for influencing the young is an even greater menace than Hitler’s creation of modern psychological warfare, the so called war of nerves. It is the greatest menace because through this education the present age groups from 8 to 30 are fanatically devoted Nazis. This means a younger non combatant army after the fighting armies are beaten. There still will be armies of young people to be dealt with! These boys and girls, the coming citizens of Germany, constitute the greatest complication for any future peace treaty in Europe.
A complete network of organizations is spun about every child. Hitler has succeeded in making a perfect Nazi out of every boy or girl, at least in uniformed appearance. lt is impossible to distinguish between the false and the genuine Nazi, since they all wear
uniforms and salute with the same snappy “Heil Hitler.”
Nazi propaganda is everywhere that the youngster walks, rests, reads. The example of one arithmetic problem in a school primer represents the way school teaches the Nazi way of life: “Vacations. Father and son take a trip to the Black Forest. Father makes a monthly salary of 300 Marks. Sixty Marks go for rent, 12 for gas and electricity. How much is left? Father and son take on their trip 170 Marks. Mother and two daughters stay home. How much money is left to them?”
This arithmetic problem filters into the pupil’s mind the idea of how a Nazified family is run; the female members stay home while the father and the boy enjoy their trip!
The newspapers and the schools cooperate. So, at present, a Berlin newspaper is serializing “Grapes of Wrath” and the teachers discuss the novel with their classes and present the evidence of the wickedness of Americans and the pitiful lot of the downtrodden poor.

***

Don’t think education completes the Nazification. The Nazis realized early that education is only one medium for creating the perfect Nazi of the future. Religion offers serious competition for the totalitarian claim of the state. So, they had to uproot Christianity and to create new Nazi taboos and religious substitutes to fill the religious longings of the Germans. They propagandized a new religion to bring even this part of the human soul into coordination with their ideas. They transformed church festivals into Nazi festivals. Easter, 1942, was celebrated throughout the country as the first Nazi communion instead of the usual festival of the churches to which German youth has been accustomed for centuries.
The church service was imitated through organ music and the reading of the party bible, “Mein Kampf,” instead of the Scripture from the pulpit. In place of the customary sermon, the youth leader made the final appeal, describing and quoting the Fuehrer as the “holy example whom all people have to follow.”
As the first commandment demands unconditional devotion to God, so the totalitarian state demands the same complete devotion. The youth of both sexes has been forbidden to attend church celebrations with the subterfuge that they last too long and prevent boys and girls from getting enough sleep. Yet, attendance at party functions, which often last past midnight, is obligatory. Churchgoing is not declared illegal officially; but it is made the nonsocial thing to do. The youngster who is caught attending service is called a “Sissy” and won’t get any employment after school is finished.
How Nazi anti religious propaganda has influenced the masses may be illustrated by the following story: One of the servants in our home was a Catholic. She was one of ten brothers and sisters of a farmer’s family near Heidelberg. She used to tell us in an upset
manner about the marriage of her eldest sister who chose a Protestant as her husband. This had nearly broken her parents’ hearts. Whatever misery this lost sister went through, her whole family told her was because she had sinned. All this had happened long before 1933. In 1937, four of the younger sisters and brothers were married to Protestants. But no argument broke out in the family over these sacrileges. Was it tolerance? Oh, no! It was utter indifference toward the same holy belief which many generations of this family had upheld. The reason? Parents and children had been converted to Nazism within the four years
between 1933 and 1937.
What is the explanation for such a devastating change of deep rooted conviction? Why are so many millions of Germans so ready to renounce their Christian religion? It is due mainly to force and pressure, and because of propaganda which plays up to the primitive instincts of the masses.

***

On the whole, the German people have lost their spiritual and educational background. They are uprooted to such an extent that their spiritual situation complicates the already intricate problem of future peace.
Propaganda made possible the modern dictators. lt created loyalty and enthusiasm in the masses. In the same way propaganda and re education will have to redeem Europe’s spiritual situation.
America - whether it chooses or not - is cast in the dominant economic role in post war Europe. We must learn to live with the Germans who are left. It was difficult after the last war to find the right approach to such an uprooted, demoralized nation. Let an
example, not of the business world but of social work, explain the dire need for the study of the German approach.
After the First World War some exceedingly efficient and well organized agencies from America went into Germany to feed the undernourished children. The effect of this work of love was tremendous. It impressed Europe like a biblical miracle. But the question arose and was not sufficiently answered: “Who are these Americans who have come over to help us?”
Since those good people had renounced all publicity about themselves and about their beliefs, the underlying current concepts about Americans got the upper hand in German minds.
Thus, to the Germans, these Americans were, like all Americans, rich, terribly rich. They were, of course, millionaires! At home it must be that they controlled large industries, and money worries were alien problems to them. The German inflation which swept away the last cent of former fortunes enhanced this idea of American abundance. In German eyes the American humanitarians and Christians had come to Europe to do some social work. Their goods and food and acts of sacrifice thus seemed to the German minds to be just one drop out of the tremendous American bucket.
This erroneous interpretation of their work is a pity for the simple reason that the great mission did not bring the desirable result, a spiritual awakening of the European masses. This mission fed their bodies but not their souls, although there was hunger in their
souls. The Americans had supposed that the deed speaks louder than words. But they overlooked the fact that the Germans needed sober explanation - not preaching, but explanation.
And here is a very realistic illustration of the German approach taken from the business world:
An American chewing gum firm invested millions of dollars, in vain, trying to make Germany acquainted with the habit of chewing gum. The Germans smoke, they drink, they eat lots of whipped cream and cake and pie, why should they not chew gum? This American advertiser had not studied German habits closely enough to know that the Germans, although indulging in eating and drinking and smoking during leisure hours, cannot possibly be induced to chew anything during work hours, or in the street, or on public conveyances.
My speech to you, today, is itself an example of what 1 mean. In Germany a talk like this would have to be all theory and generalization in order to be considered scientific and exact. There could be very few stories, if any. An American speech ought to be juicy, like a slice of life, seasoned with anecdotes and avoiding generalization.

***

I offer the proposition that every American advertiser might immediately start with his preparations for the coming battle of the human minds in the interest of his future business.
But I believe American advertising as a whole has a bigger Mission. In order to explain this mission, 1 have to mention a suggestion concerning the rebuilding of a crumbled civilization. It is the idea of Louis Adamic, the well known publicist. In this book, “Two Way Passage,” he proposes that in the colossal job of recreating Europe we can use to advantage not only qualified old line Americans but also carefully selected, carefully trained immigrants from the different countries and their American born descendants. They
should go over not only with material help but also as purposeful missionaries of democracy.
The Adamic appeal has inspired a great number of colleges, and universities, organizations and agencies, to start with the training of people for the reconstruction jobs. A tremendous research work is begun, courses about every phase and problem of the
reconstruction work are available.
But in these preparations the most important job of all, the advertising job for the regeneration of Europe, is neglected. You say: “Yes, this Adamic plan may be a grand and successful idea. Of course, it will inspire the churches and social agencies. But what has
American advertising to do with such a plan?”
After the last world war, a disillusioned Germany was not only eager to harken to Wilson’s word and even to his orders, but just as willingly the Germans were ready to appreciate everything American and acknowledge the superiority of every American product. The possession of American goods was the dream of an impoverished Europe. The delusion about the superior “master folk” disappeared for a long time.
History has repeated itself during this war to an astonishing degree. The experiences of the First World War are being repeated, only on a much larger scale. It is to be expected that the disillusionment of Europe, and especially of Germany, will be deeper and still more significant than last time.
With the defeat of Hitlerism, the Nazi propaganda will stop, the Nazi spell will disappear, will vanish into the air. The idea of German superiority will crack and fall, and in its place there will be a tremendous faith in everything American be it ethics, religion,
democracy, or manufactured products.

***

There, then, is the challenge - and at that time will be the opportunity for American advertising to perform its great mission of helping to re educate the European masses. Let us time our actions and our preparations accordingly. For the soil of a willing Europe will be ready for the American plough. The study of successful foreign approach will be the study of the advertiser of tomorrow. But, let us not put it off. It will be too late to devise the plans after the war is finished. How dearly had we to pay in the first months of fighting because we had planned too little and started too late!
After the efforts of this war, nations may easily relax into an attitude of. “Now let’s attend to our own business and leave the rest of the world to its own resources.” We have to fight the temptation to retire within ourselves. We must weave and strengthen the ties which should bind us to the tremendous task that will await us in Europe. Newspapers, publicists, magazines, American advertisers, they now have their great opportunity and their obligation to keep the conscience of this nation awake for its assignment.
Let me conclude: You executives of American publicity, you have a great mission, not only for your own businesses.
There will not be another opportunity like this one for generations to come- Those of you who put faith and effort into the great task, who use your imagination, will be the winners in the coming battle of the human minds.

Schlagworte: »

Autor: Dirk Schindelbeck
Datum: Dienstag, 3. Februar 2009 18:14
Themengebiet: Quellen der Zeitgeschichte