Glenn Beck Falsely Claims that Nazis Learned Propaganda Use from Progressives

On his radio show today Glenn Beck continued his jihad against intelligence by saying, “The Nazis learned their propaganda from the progressive movement in the United States.” Here is another source for Glenn. Adolph Hitler wrote in Mein Kamph that the Nazis learned the value of propaganda from the British during World War I.

Here is the audio courtesy of Media Matters:

Beck said, “This is something that Woodrow Wilson. The Nazis, the Nazis learned their propaganda from the progressive movement in the United States. Go ahead, blogs right now tear it apart, and then go and read Josef Goebbels diaries, that’s the source, so I know it’s hard, I know it’s really, really hard to claim that, well there are no sources, except the guy who was the main guy for propaganda for Nazi Germany. They learned it from the progressives in America, Woodrow Wilson.”

Since Glenn invited people like me to tear this apart, let’s take a look. In Mein Kamph, Hitler devoted two chapters to use of propaganda. He blamed the German defeat in World War I partially on British propaganda. He went on to adopt many of the British techniques, especially in terms of literature, press, and film for the Nazi movement.

In a speech on propaganda in 1934, Goebbels listed those he viewed as propagandists, ” If the fine gentlemen say: “You are only a propagandist,” the answer is this: “Was Christ any different? Did he not make propaganda? Did he write books, or did he preach? Was Mohammed any different? Did he write learned essays, or did he go to the people and say what he wanted to say? Were not Buddha and Zarathustra propagandists?”

He continued, “True, the philosophers of the French Revolution built their intellectual foundations. But who got things moving? Robespierre, Danton, and the others. Did these men write books, or did they speak in popular meetings? Look around today. Is Mussolini more an author or a great speaker? When Lenin took the train from Zurich to Petersburg, did he repair to his study and write a book, or did he speak to thousands? Fascism and Bolshevism were built by great speakers, by masters of the spoken word! There is no difference between the politician and the speaker. History proves that great politicians were always great speakers: Napoleon, Caesar, Alexander, Mussolini, Lenin, name whomever you want. They were all great speakers and great organizers. If a person combines rhetorical talent, organizational ability, and philosophical ability, if he has the ability to transmit knowledge and to gather people under his banner, then he is a brilliant statesman.”

Beck has taken a right wing talking point, Wilson was a liberal fascist, and tried to tie it to the Nazis and progressives of today. Unfortunately, as with most of Glenn Beck’s claims, this doesn’t hold up under closer examination. The Nazis did not learn many of their propaganda techniques from American progressives, but from the British. Every time Glenn Beck speaks the world gets a little dumber.

37 Replies to “Glenn Beck Falsely Claims that Nazis Learned Propaganda Use from Progressives”

  1. Your analysis breaks do at the point that you ignored what Glenn said and sourced. Glenn Said read Josef Goebbels diaries not some speech he made.

    Run along now. Go look it up and retract your statement.

  2. First it’s Joseph not Josef next, which iteration of the diaries was Beck reading from, I have read Goebbels and he never said propaganda came from the US or President Wilson, he always commented on how well the British used propaganda in WWI so much like Beck you are made of fail and AIDs.

  3. When you correct people (and especially when you’re wrong, as you are in this case), it would behoove you to learn the English language.

    “your analysis breaks do at the point…”

    What you MEANT to say is “Your analysis breaks due to the point”

    See? Do is a verb. Due is an adjective, meaning “capable of being attributed”. Now, please, DO go on about how you have “read” “Josef (incorrectly spelled) Goebbels” (you should have written: Goebbels’) diaries. Really. In the original German, perhaps?

    “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over” ~~Joseph Goebbels

    You good little soldier you.

    Verstehen Sie?

  4. the diary? Hitler’s, or Goebels,anonymous?
    Presumably you understand the reference, to Rupert Murdoch and the faked Hitler diaries?

    Nothing that Beck says, no matter how stupid, surprises me anymore. It wouldn’t even surprise me to see Beck quoting the faked Hitler diaries on Fox News, representing them as authentic — because Beck can’t be bothered to check out any of his sources for valdity.

  5. Keep on Sucking the cool aide, November won’t come soon enough, As this is a Progressive Site we are so informed we know Hitler was also a Great Community Organizer, Anti(CITIZEN) Gun, Road Builder,”Shovel Ready”-Kennedy someone had to one Dug the Grave, Government controlled AUTO Industry,Banks, Universal Healthcare, The greatest Difference was Hitler loved Gas, to give him his Jews, perhaps Coal was not as Available to fire up the OVENS.
    As Promised at least Pres BHO has closed Camp Gitmo, Stopped Sending more troops to Afghanistan, will try the 911 Master mind in NY, Won the Iraqi war(even though he and Joe opposed the WAR WINNING SURGE), stopped the Spending??, increased transparency, ceased pork spending.???His wife has started a Move on Food Program for people who live further than 10 miles from a Grocery Store that sells Lettuce. Perhaps She Should do as her Ancestors did when they were sold into Slavery by BLACK MUSLIMS to the USA and leave the Desert, how ironic she calls the place where the Poor Fools that live there on the Taxpayers Dime a “FOOD DESSERT” as the late and GREAT Sam Kenison once said if you live in a desert full of SAND you Should MOVE. Keep on sucking the tailpipe liberals. Who Knew MLK was a Republican, the KKK was founded by Demorats, the Twenties Roared due to Low Taxes, and More Idiots in the USA Believe Elvis is Alive than our Government is doing its elected work? Am I the only commentator or is this going the way of Air America and on the verge of Bankruptcy??

  6. @SJones, When you correct people (and especially when you’re wrong, as you are in this case), it would behoove you to use some common sense and intelligence in telling people what they meant to say.

    It is pretty obvious, if you had thought about it and not jumped the gun in trying to make the above poster look stupid, that he meant to say “Your analysis breaks down at the point.” This is the only sensible way to correct the above poster, because it is not very logical to assume that he both used the wrong spelling of “due” AND used “at” when he meant to us “to,” as you claim. So it is much more sensible to think that he either failed to type the “wn” in “down,” or that it got erased somehow before he posted his comment.

    As you say, “You good little soldier you.” There are few better ways to discredit someone than to make out that they don’t have a good command of the English language, regardless of whether this is true or not. You don’t like what the person said, so you leap to the conclusion that he doesn’t know the difference between “do” and “due,” rather than pausing to consider it could have been a mere typo.

    As for the question of whether Glenn Beck was wrong, I am not sure. There is such an insane smear campaign going on against him, however, that I will take nothing for granted when it comes to people fact checking him. I have great respect for Glenn Beck, because he refuses to back down in the face of a smear campaign that may even be worse than the tactics used against Palin, who I don’t particularly like as a politician, but who deserves some measure of civility simply because she is a fellow human being.

  7. Maybe a little help is in order for the koolaid drinkers. Edward Bernays and Walter Lippman were progressive elitist liberals that advised and acted as propaganda agents for Woodrow Wilson. Bernays’s book ‘Crystallizing Public Opinion’ was used by Wilson here, and by the Nazis in their campaign against the Jews. As admitted by Bernays in his own biography. They also helped Wilson dupe the American public and sway public opinion in to entering WWI. And it gets worse, it can easily be argued that they are responsible for the leftist skewed mainstream media we all get to enjoy on a daily basis. But then again, why should we let the truth get in the way of progressive propaganda, they are mutually exclusive you know.

  8. @Dont tread on me, Ok where do I begin?Anyone who becomes a prominant leader of a large group of people could rightly be called a community organizer. I suppose that you are saying that Barack Obama is not Qualified to be the President or worse yet that he compares with Hitler because he was a community organizer. If you are saying that the President has any historical parallels with Hitler then you are either ignorant of history, or your just ignoring history. One thing that Hitler may have in common with Barrack Obama by the end of his term is that he inherated a really bad economy from the previous leader and turned Germany into one of the most thriving economies in history!

    The government does not control the auto industry as you claim. Instead because of the bailout GM has turned a massive profit for last quarter and paid back ALL of its bailout money with interest. The banks have paid back most of the bailout and tarp money with interest as well. You may disagree with the bailout but, if you had been smart enough to have money invested or a 401k that was fixing to be lost because of a collapsing economy you might be whistling a different tune. Roads have been built and repaired under every President.Wish I had more space!

  9. @A Hint, Amazing! So what you are saying is that Bernays wrote his book to help the Germans win the war? First since Hitler failed in his quest it must not have worked that well. Second would it suprise you to know that Hitler used many books in his conquest to conquer the world, including the bible?

    Before you decide to twist the facts to suit you maybe you should stop listening to Glenn Becks version of the truth and read the history of what your talking about a little further. That is if you even care. After all I doubt God inspired the Bible to help Hitler kill a million of his chosen people do you?

  10. The first 2 replies prove the original assertion.
    Anonymous corrected sources as if that changes anything.
    Oldsun corrects spelling and then says
    “I have read Goebbels and he never said propaganda came from the US or President Wilson”…….um…..duh.
    Regardless of the cross-pollination of The Art of War and Machiavellian ideas you’ve grasped the point:
    Glenn Beck is wrong.

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  12. Beck did not say he learned it ALL from us. Hitler was not Goebbels. Why are you talking about Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Goebbels was the minister of propaganda.

  13. Oldsun,
    What a stupid comment. Type Josef Goebbels in Google and see what you get. Then type Joseph Goebbles and see what you get. Have you heard of the German language? It’s the same name. Duh!

  14. Lets put this thing to rest.

    1) Beck pointed out that the Wilson administration created the “Committee on Public Information” in 1917 and Edward Bernays (a Wilson advisor) helped crank out a very successful propaganda machine working as a part of that comittee. OK we can all agree that this is fact, if you do not accept this I challenge you to prove otherwise.

    2) In Bernays own autobiography he states:
    “Karl von Weigand, foreign correspondent of the Hearst newspapers, an old hand at interpreting Europe and just returned from Germany, was telling us about Goebbels and his propaganda plans to consolidate Nazi power. Goebbels had shown Weigand his propaganda library, the best Weigand had ever seen. Goebbels, said Weigand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany.” OK we can all agree that this is fact, if you do not I challenge you.

    Now, Beck uses the above as evidence that Goebbels was influenced by Bernays (Wilson administration advisor) and his book “Crystallizing Public Opinion” for his propaganda machine – not exacty a stretch so far and a logical conclusion if you know how to read.

    Now Beck takes this a step further with his overall conculusion that the Wilson administration taught the Nazis how to create propaganda. This could be overstating things and is Beck’s opinion here. However, his opinion is based on facts. A least Beck acutally uses original sources such as the Bernays quote to make his argument – he is not making his case with his own “right wing” babble. For anyone to challenge Beck they would need some of their own “evidence” aside from their own personal ideological opinion and general crappy comments. The point is you cannot win here progressives and defend your hero Wilson without some hard evidence and I wish all of you good luck with that one.

  15. Sam Adam says:
    “For anyone to challenge Beck they would need some of their own “evidence” aside from their own personal ideological opinion and general crappy comments.”

    You’ll find that the liberals here rarely post anything to substantiate their allegations.

  16. Oldsun says: “you are made of fail and AIDs.”

    How absolutely disgusting and pathetic! You are a perfect example of a liberal

  17. Perhaps Beck was utilizing Edward Bernays own autobiography, The Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of Public Relations Counsel Edward L. Bernays (1965), as his source? Bernays stated that Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels had used Bernays’ book Crystallizing Public Opinion in a deliberate and planned campaign to manipulate the German public against the Jews. Bernays admits that this fact shocked him.

    As Don’t Tread on Me stated, keep sucking on the kool-aide, November is coming. We will remember in November!

  18. Interesting, you would think that a propagandist site like this would know there is video to clarify Beck’s real position and yet you continue to distort the facts. You can not win an argument you fabricate.

  19. What is this “koolaid” reference ? Just another “Buzzword” to belittle someone or topic to maintain division while the REAL terrorist dismantle our foundation? this all seems unnecessary, like passengers complaining about the service on the Titanic.

  20. OK, so if a political leader gets their start as a “community organizer”, or proposes government social/work programs to help the economy, they are automatically to be compared to Hitler???? Puh-leeze.

    …Exactly WHAT was it that made Hitler the evil man that he was? THINK, now. I know that might be a little hard for you to do, but it might require you to turn off your TV, go down to your local library and actually read some of the things Hitler authored — such as “Mein Kampf”. In addition, you might want to study up on the history of Germany and Europe during the era of Hitler’s rise to power and exactly who and what they opposed and targeted for elimination, politically and socially.

    Hitler rose to power through his angry, emotional rhetoric and call for Germany (which was faltering under a bad economy) to rise up and be a proud nation again. He neutralized the opposing political parties by making sure they never had the majority in parliament, and he relied heavily on scapegoating certain groups of people (including “liberals”, “leftists”, “degenerates”, etc.). …Lots of labeling, name-calling, hysteria, repeating the same labels and namecalling until they became mantra (while promoting nationalism and conservative family values) — eventually leading to a purging of the targeting ethnic and political groups.

    During a struggling economy, maybe people just find it easier to revert to a more primitive mindset i.e. simple-minded demonizing of others– just like tribes fighting over limited resources.

    Does any of this sound familiar? …THINK, now.

    (Oh, and let’s not forget the nationalistic entitlement thing about invading other sovereign nations).

    If it all still escapes you, then continue to enjoy your Koolaid and your Froot Loops while you sit mesmerized in front of the TV screen. You tool — this is the reason the ultra right wing opposes education beyond the 8th grade and China is set to surpass us as an economic superpower.

    We need some educated, rational problem-solvers to deal with the problems we’re facing. Although I realize that sort of approach is more boring and difficult to grasp for the crowd who prefers their little emotional fix of drama and hysteria.

  21. Did it occur to you that Hitler and Goebbels would never admit they got propaganda ideas from a Jewish author? I am sure they took ideas from the British, but not only from them. When Hitler was publically denouncing the Jews, why would he and his ministers admit they were using the ideas of a jew (Bernays)? Beck is talking about how Goebbels implemented his propaganda (I know this because of other times he has expanded on this point), but you are arguing from Hitler’s stand point. Your argument does not seem to fit, I am not saying that you are an idiot, or a lesser person, or anything violent about you. It seems that your argument about mein kampf does not hold when it is about more than just mein kampf. I dissent with respect.

  22. There is much grandstanding and belittling going on here. Both sides being at fault, I will write my stance, and I will pray to Logos, Aleithea, and Sophia that someone will debate me with the spirit of Word, Truth, and Wisdom. Most of the libertarian-leaning posters will admit that Glenn Beck may have overgeneralized when he said Goebbels learned it from Wilson. While at the same time liberal-leaning posters would also do well to research the claims better to provide a better, more-educated defense. If we would get to the original question of Goebbels, not Hitler or improper English, we may learn something of value. Yes, Goebbels had a vast library of propaganda books including Bernays’ books, who was on Woodrow Wilson’s Committee on Public Information, but anyone in PR to this very day should have read Bernay’s Propaganda.

  23. Question everything!
    Because someone says it or prints it or blogs it does not make it a fact. Use your brains folks! Facts and history can be twisted in any which way you want. Both sides are following blindly like rabid sheep running this way and that, bleating insults at each other. It is tearing your country apart.
    Believe it or not there are countries out there just waiting for this to happen, and they’ve got the utensils and fine china out waiting for mutton chops.
    So enough of the sheep dip already!

  24. If the lazy thinker that posted this lame backlash at Glenn Beck, had simply followed Glenn Beck’s constant urging to “not take anything I say for granted; look it up yourself!”, then perhaps this shallow ideologue would have spared himself the embarrassment of magnifying his mindless partisanship.

    All one need do is start with a Google search of “Propaganda” and within an hour you will have visited enough sites to get a valid history of modern propaganda, as created in the Wilson Administration by the George Creel and Edward Bernays. The curious mind would then also learn that in fact (as stated and quoted, by previous comments on this pathetic excuse for a political information page) Joseph Goebbels DID use the Wilson’s CPI as the model for his Nazi Propaganda machine.

    Dear little frightened Progressive blogger.. your dishonesty has all the complexity of a box of crayons. You become a poster boy of all the ridicule you earn.

  25. Obviously there should be no “the” before George Creel. I suppose in the frightened Progressive Blogger’s mind this would negate the validity of the rest of the post! ;)

  26. Glenn Beck absolutely challenges everyone to do their own research to see if his statements are wrong. So far, I have seen no evidence from anyone that he is wrong. The OP didn’t provide any evidence at all. His was merely opinion. Beck used a primary source in historical research and the OP used opinion. That says it all to me. Sam Adam’s post was spot on.

  27. I wonder what unintelligent people like Voltaire or George Bernard Shaw (or HL Mencken) got wrong about jewish influence in the West? If only a learned genius like you had been around back then to educate them.

  28. For the record, I don;t think Beck is smart enough to be anti-semitic. He’s just naming a few of the people that are destroying Western Civilization–a list by no means comprehensive–and so many of them happen to be jewish.

  29. One question, Two thoughts…

    Question: Does Glenn Beck use propaganda? (I think that he does, and in a way quite similar to Bernay’s concepts…)

    First thought: There are some who doubt the authenticity of Goebbels diaries. Most of them were thought lost after the war till they were “discovered” in Soviet archives in the early 90’s. Study of those documents shows a number of inconsistancies with known historical facts.

    Second thought: RE: Sam Adam’s July 4 post above. Adam’s quote of Bernay states “Goebbels, said Weigand, was using my book Crystallizing Public Opinion as a basis for his destructive campaign against the Jews of Germany.” Goebbels may not have said this. Weigand does not state that Goebbels said this. It’s Weigand seeing Bernay’s book among the many (Hundreds? Thousands? It was at least “…the best [propaganda library] Weigand had ever seen.”) and for some reason drawing this conclusion and making the connection for Bernay. Could it be he was just buttering up to Bernay? Could it be Bernay inflating himself? (It’s Bernay’s quote of Weigand. In fact, it’s Adam’s quote of Bernay’s quote of Weigand.)
    Adam’s post continues: “This could be overstating things and is Beck’s opinion here. However, his opinion is based on facts.” Beck is overstating things. Although based on selective facts, there may be more facts to this story than Beck has researched.

  30. A more modern example of propaganda practices. Research the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean (S/LPD or ARA/LPD)
    Also research Operation Mockingbird, and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)

  31. Propaganda: the particular doctrines or principles propagated by an organization or movement.

    The greatest feats the US government/media ever pulled off were in branding ‘propaganda’ as a dirty word, and convincing the people that only other nations employ propaganda, whereas the American media relies solely on fact. If that were true, our news media, history books, movies, television programs, music, etc.. would never pass a moral judgement on anyone or anything, and would come off sounding cold, dry and heartless. People like Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, etc… never would’ve been vilified, and people like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, etc.. never would’ve been heroized. Everything would be relative. Judeo-Christian morals, including ‘thou shalt not kill’, would be totally irrelevant, and democracy would be just another form of government, rather than the supposed embodiment of freedom. Our media would never take sides in any debate or story; they’d simply report the facts: i.e. ‘congresswoman shot by man’, rather than ‘congresswoman shot by deranged man’. That doesn’t happen here, and it doesn’t happen anywhere. Virtually everything you hear, in this country or in any other, no matter from which organization, or movement it’s coming from, is propaganda. Deal with it.

  32. So, Bernay’s claimed that he was the source of Goebbels awakening to propaganda. Yet in Mein Kampf, Hitler states how greatly he admired and adapted the communist’s techniques of propagandizing their message.

    Most importantly, did Goebbels state that he strictly learned his techniques from Bernays. If he did not, then Becks assertion that progressives originally created propaganda and solely inspired Goebbels is baseless. A statement from Goebbels would be damning, but a statement from Bernays is conceit at best.

    Did Bernay’s or anyone credible ever claim that Hitler and or Goebbels so greatly admired both the techniques and philosophies of American progressives that they based their movement on progressive philosophies? That information is not present in the historical record. As a matter of fact the weight of the historical record tells us that they despised liberalism!

    Both Hitler and Goebbels used all techniques available to their advantage, even if the source of these techniques were groups they loathed, murdered or had nothing in common with, most specifically communists, liberals and Jews.

    This episode of Glenn Beck’s program is simply one more in a long line of programs where he rewrites and mangles historical events in hopes of making a connection between American progressives, and more to the point modern liberals, and Adolf Hitler and Nazism. To historians, Beck spins and spins and always falls flat on his face!

    Regardless of Beck’s amazing abilities as a propagandist he will never be able to alter the historical record. Only his Kool-Aid drinking followers, drunk with their need to lampoon liberals, will find hope in his asinine, misguided, and farcical entertainment hour!

  33. No, Bernays didn’t write the book to help the Germans because it was written in 1923. Goebbels used it as told from the above poster (found in Bernays diaries) as a basis for his propaganda campaign. “Biography of an idea” is the bio where it is credited by Bernays if you care to go look it up.

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