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.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association