Examination of Hitler’s popular image We must first ask the question of how did the Germans see their leader? The Hitler myth was a masterly achievement in image building due to propaganda portraying Hitler as a ‘’HEROIC’’ leader. The Hitler myth spread so quickly due to the German peoples desire for a so called ‘’superman’’.
The 7 Elements of the HITLER MYTH 1 – Hitler as a Strong leader 2 – Hitler as a nationalist 3 – Hitler’s economic miracle 4 – Hitler as a moderate 5 – Hitler as a ruthless leader intent on removing opposition 6 – Hitler as a great statesman 7 – Hitler as a military genius
& Our own 8th interpretation HITLER AS …HITLER AS … …THE LADY’S MAN…THE LADY’S MAN
Hitler as a strong leader Hitler was seen as the embodiment of strong and when necessary ruthless enforcement of law and order, the ‘popular justice’, He gained mass support due to his purge of the unpopular KPD and SA He also had commonly held values such as the condemnation of rowdiness, disorder and homosexuality.
Hitler as a Nationalist Hitler was seen as representing the national interest and putting the nation first. Crucial to this was the way in which propaganda isolated Hitler from the unpopular Nazi party after 1933. Hitler’s popularity was cushioned by the myth that he was being kept in the dark about the misdeeds of his underlinings.
Hitler’s Economic Miracle An important component of the perceived Fuhrer image that he was the creator of the economic miracle. Hitler had revamped the economy, rid the country of unemployment and built the motorways, THE AUTOBAHNS However, the working class were still unimpressed by the ‘economic miracle’ and immune to the Hitler Myth They still had low wages and long working hours and realised they were carrying the economic miracle on their backs. Poorer germans were recipients of Winter Aid, part of Hitler Socialist views.
Hitler as a Moderate Hitler was seen as a moderate opposed to the radical and extreme elements in the movement e.g the Church Struggle. Hitler was looked to as the defence from the wild party when in tried to remove the crucifix from schools. Hitler also put down the bitter conflicts and restored order Hitler was regarded as a God Fearing and religious man. Even Church leaders with hostility to Nazism believed this.
Hitler as a ruthless leader intent on removing opposition Hitler was regarded as condoning only lawful, rational action against the enemies of the people. Not the crude violence and public brutalities. No one could have been lefty in any doubt of Hitler’s fanatical, anti-semitism to rid Jews from German society. Hitler’s hatred of the Jews was an acceptable component of his popular image even if it was an element taken on board rather than a centrally important factor for most Germans.
Hitler as a Great Statesman Hitler was a fanatical upholder of the nations just rights to territory robbed from them post first world war He was a rebuilder of German strength and a statesman of genius. He was seen as a man of peace who would do everything possible to settle thing peacefully as well as a defender of German rights (effectively tearing up the Treaty of Versailles) Known as bringing terriotry home to the Reich, which was popular in every section of German Society.
Hitler as a military Genius Hitler was accredited for outwitting his enemies in a n unbelievable run of Blitzkrieg victories, culminating in the taking of France in just 4 weeks. Even after the turning sour of the war in 41-42 the image of the Fuhrer was still devout with the image of him standing at the front line with the soldiers. Following a run of defeats, his popularity started to waver and then ebbed sharply, the decline accelerated sharply after defeat at Stalingrad which he was personally blamed for. The Hitler myth was now fatally flawed. As his earlier successes were now seen in a new light.
Now for the real deal, we have managed to obtain some archive Nazi footage which demonstrates how Hitler really gained mass support. H:\Hitler.wmv