Nazi propaganda during World War II has been portrayed as the most extreme example of a 'totalitarian' assault on modern society. Its psychological grip and efficacy, however, as well as the commanding influence of Joseph Goebbels in its conduct and output, have been exaggerated. The book examines the organization, agency, strategy and output of Nazi propaganda during 1939-45, showing that neither a 'totalitarian' centralization of resources remained elusive because of the overall 'polycratic' operation of the National Socialist system. It re-defines the benchmarks for assessing the effectiveness of propaganda and underlines the gap between 'totalitarian' intentions and the far more complex reality in which Nazi propaganda was conducted during the war. Through an analysis of the strategies employed across the board of propaganda devices (press, radio, cinema) the book shows that Nazi wartime propaganda succeeded in integrating the 'national community' against its enemies; but failed in becoming a 'totalitarian' mechanism of information and perception-shaping. It also had limited impact on those factors that decided the outcome of the war.

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