Nazi propaganda decision-making: the hybrid of ‘modernity’ and ‘neo-feudalism’ in Nazi wartime propaganda

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Abstract

The hybrid nature of the Nazi system of decision-making (a blend of extreme modernity, totalitarian ambition, and ‘neo-feudal’ elements based on personal loyalty and the ‘charismatic’ authority of the leader) found eloquent expression in the context of the regime's propaganda machinery. Multiple, competing power-bases were constructed around the authority of elite party and state figures across the spectrum of the regime's propaganda activities. Each of them forged their own ad hoc jurisdictional sphere, eroding Goebbels' totalitarian vision for NS propaganda. The result was a behemoth of contradictory interests and strategies that repeatedly undermined coordination across the propaganda domain. Ironically, modernity and ‘neo-feudalism’ were reconciled only towards the end of the war, after Goebbels had won most of the jurisdictional battles against his party and state opponents, regaining Hitler's full confidence and subjecting the supremely modern propaganda apparatus of a waning Third Reich to his personal, near-total control.

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