Hitler and his Nazi Party were well aware of the power of propaganda and the ways that skillful manipulation of information could be used to control an entire population. And the Nazis were not prepared to countenance dissent of any kind. So as one young German, Helmuth Hübener, discovered, the price of resistance was high indeed.
Hitler’s ruthless sidekick Joseph Goebbels was appointed Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1933. In a Life article about Goebbels, a reporter captured the measure of the man when he wrote that “personally he likes nobody, is liked by nobody and runs the most efficient Nazi department.”
One of Goebbels responsibilities was radio, the most powerful propaganda weapon available in an era before televisions were widely owned. At the post-war Nuremberg Trials, Hitler’ war production minister, Albert Speer, said, “Through technical devices like the radio and loudspeaker, 80 million people were deprived of independent thought. It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man.”