Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany

Quarterly Journal of Economics

134 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2013 Last revised: 20 Sep 2023

See all articles by Maja Adena

Maja Adena

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Ruben Enikolopov

New Economic School; Institute of Political Economy and Governance; ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona GSE

Maria Petrova

Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona School of Economics; Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA)

Veronica Santarosa

University of Michigan Law School

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 3, 2015

Abstract

How do the media affect public support for democratic institutions in a fragile democracy? What role do they play in a dictatorial regime? We study these questions in the context of Germany of the 1920s and 1930s. During the democratic period, when the Weimar government introduced pro-government political news, the growth of Nazi popularity slowed down in areas with access to radio. This effect was reversed during the campaign for the last competitive election as a result of the pro-Nazi radio broadcast following Hitler’s appointment as German chancellor. During the consolidation of dictatorship, radio propaganda helped the Nazis to enroll new party members. After the Nazis established their rule, radio propaganda incited anti-Semitic acts and denunciations of Jews to authorities by ordinary Germans. The effect of anti-Semitic 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 in places with historically low anti-Semitism.

Suggested Citation

Adena, Maja and Enikolopov, Ruben and Enikolopov, Ruben and Petrova, Maria and Santarosa, Veronica and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany (June 3, 2015). Quarterly Journal of Economics, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2242446 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2242446

Maja Adena

WZB Berlin Social Science Center ( email )

Reichpietschufer 50
D-10785 Berlin, 10785
Germany

Ruben Enikolopov

Institute of Political Economy and Governance ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

New Economic School ( email )

Nobel 3
Moscow, Moscow 121205
Russia

ICREA ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Barcelona GSE ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, Barcelona 08005
Spain

Maria Petrova

Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, E-08005
Spain

Barcelona School of Economics ( email )

Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain

Catalan Institution of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Veronica Santarosa

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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