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Posted August 8, 2004
Hitler: A fascinating study of Public Relations
To give the police a better image, the Nazis' had Police Day, where motorcycle cops did stunts in police exhibits. They went out on street corners and begged for money for the needy. Gellately says that there were some complaints that the police were a little bit rough. I found myself laughing, thinking of cops in long black trench coats collecting for the winter holidays. But, Gellately points out that Police Day played a part in public acceptance of police extermination squads in Eastern Europe after the Polish Invasion. In the early years, Hitler seemed very aware of public relations, and Hitler said that he worried about the percentage of votes that he didn't receive. Hitler and cohorts learned how to be smooth; they appealed to the conservatives that Nazis would restore old-fashioned values. They promised to stop abortions, to get the public into churches and women back into the kitchen. They made documentaries about how Dachau was a place to teach slackers and trouble makers about the value of work ethics. To reenforce this aspect, amnesty would be given to thousands of camp inmates. When the same people were rearrested 3-4 months later, the public assumed that the arrested people were serious troublemakers. Meanwhile, Hitler gave speeches that it was a serious problem to deny anybody their freedom for even a day, and he hoped that Germans could work together and elimate camps. Then Jews were put in protective custody to prevent Gentiles from harming the Jews. Gellately tells of how Hitler kept his hands clean by having concerned citizens speak to subordinates about a problem, and the populace believed that Hitler was never told about problems. Gellately demonstrates though a well documented and highly interesting book the processes of Hitler's onslaught to change and control public opinion. At first, Hitler beefed up the police and installed curfews to control crime. Then because crime was under control, but they needed to tighten the screws on civil liberties, they beefed up the police and increased curfews to protect the valiant women working in factories late at night to support their men on the front. Gellately explains that labor unions felt left out in the cold by the politicians, and the working man often felt that the union representatives were less than interested in working conditions. Union members wanted one day to celebrate a union day. Hitler gave them one day to have a parade, when they returned to work, the union leaders were in Dachau, and the unions were disbanded. The moral of this book is that a person should be careful for what he/she wishes for because he/she might get it.
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