Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany

60 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013

See all articles by Maja Adena

Maja Adena

WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Ruben Enikolopov

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

Maria Petrova

Institute for Political Economy and Governance, Barcelona; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats - ICREA; Universitat Pompeu Fabra; Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE); New Economic School (NES)

Veronica Santarosa

Yale University - Department of Economics

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2013

Abstract

How far can the media undermine democratic institutions, and how persuasive can media be in ensuring public support for a dictator’s policies? We study this question in the context of Germany between 1929 and 1939. Using quasi-random geographical variation in radio availability, we show that radio had a significant negative effect on the Nazi vote share between 1930 and 1933, when political news had an anti-Nazi slant. In 1933, this negative effect was fully undone in just one month, after the Nazis seized control of the radio and initiated pro-Nazi radio propaganda campaign. Radio also helped the Nazis to enroll new party members and encouraged denunciations of Jews and other open expressions of anti-Semitism after the Nazis fully consolidated power. Nazi radio propaganda was most effective when combined with other propaganda tools, such as Hitler’s speeches, and when the message was aligned with listeners’ prior beliefs as measured by historical anti-Semitism.

Keywords: Anti-semitism, dictatorship, media, Nazis, propaganda, unconsolidated democracy

JEL Classification: D7

Suggested Citation

Adena, Maja and Enikolopov, Ruben and Petrova, Maria and Santarosa, Veronica and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany (April 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9453. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2258942

Maja Adena (Contact Author)

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 )

Skolkovskoe shosse 45
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
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

Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats - ICREA ( email )

Passeig Lluís Companys, 23
Barcelona, 08010
Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )

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

Barcelona Graduate School of Economics (Barcelona GSE) ( email )

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

New Economic School (NES) ( email )

100A Novaya Street
Moscow, Skolkovo 143026
Russia

Veronica Santarosa

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

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