Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany
WZB Berlin Social Science Center
Institute for Political Economy and Governance; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; New Economic School
Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); New Economic School (NES)
University of Michigan Law School
Paris School of Economics
September 3, 2014
Can the media protect or undermine democratic institutions in unconsolidated democracies? Do the media affect public support for dictators? We study these questions in the context of Germany in 1920s and 30s. During the democratic period, growth of Nazi popularity slowed down in areas with access to radio when Weimar government introduced pro-government political news. This effect was reversed during the campaign for the last competitive election after the introduction of pro-Nazi radio propaganda following Hitler’s appointment as German chancellor. During the dictatorship, radio propaganda helped the Nazis to enroll new party members and encouraged denunciations of Jews and open expressions of anti-Semitism. The effect of propaganda varied depending on the listeners’ predispositions toward the message. Nazi radio was most effective in places where anti-Semitism was historically high and had a negative effect on the support for Nazi messages in places with historically low anti-Semitism.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 114
Date posted: March 31, 2013 ; Last revised: September 5, 2014
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