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Monday, March 1, 2021

Philology ! .. good propaganda ! .. .. 'வெற்றி நடைபோடும் தமிழகமே’

Elections are around the corner – honestly, it is not the – capacity, capableness, goodness, good deeds, actions or welfare schemes that would result in a victory but more of perceptions, voter behavioural pattern influenced by extraneous elements, propaganda and more that influence the victory of political parties.

General elections to the TN Legislative Assembly are to be held in  April 2021 for the 234 seats in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.  According to the ECI, 62.6 million people are  eligible to vote and  Sholinganallur constituency has the highest number of eligible voters with 694,845 votes.


சட்டசபை தேர்தல் நெருங்குவதையொட்டி ஒவ்வொரு கட்சிகளும் தேர்தலுக்கு தயாராகி வருகின்றன. தமிழக அரசின் திட்டங்கள் குறித்து மக்களிடையே விழிப்புணர்வை ஏற்படுத்தும் வகையில் அரசின் சார்பில் தேர்தல் பரப்புரை பாட்டு - 'வெற்றி நடைபோடும் தமிழகமே’  என்பது   மக்களிடையே நல்ல வரவற்பை பெற்றுள்ளது....


Any talk on propaganda would be incomplete without the much maligned, intriguing character, the Propaganda Minister for Hitler's Third Reich-  Dr. Joseph Goebbels. He was recognized as a master of propaganda as his work was studied after WWII. Goebbels did not survive to enjoy the recognition; he and his wife committed suicide on 1 May 1945, a week before the final collapse of the Third Reich. The man, Doctor of Philology made a powerful speech this day, 78 years ago !

He had  very specific strategic propaganda principles, some which are excerpted below.  When reading these propaganda principles, keep in mind that they were applied in wartime (WWII) and involve issues that don't arise otherwise. It's a long list, but Goebbels was dealing with the complexity of an all-out war.  :  Propagandists must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion; Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority; Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige; Propaganda must be carefully timed; Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred; Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both  !

Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and linguistics. Classical philology studies classical languages. Classical philology principally originated from the Library of Pergamum and the Library of Alexandria  around the fourth century BCE, continued by Greeks and Romans throughout the Roman/Byzantine Empire.  Philology, with its focus on historical development (diachronic analysis), is contrasted with linguistics due to Ferdinand de Saussure's insistence on the importance of synchronic analysis.

The Sportpalast speech or Total War speech was a speech delivered by German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels at the Berlin Sportpalast to a large, carefully selected audience on 18 February 1943, as the tide of World War II was turning against Nazi Germany and its Axis allies.  It is considered the most famous of Joseph Goebbels's speeches. The speech was the first public admission by the Nazi leadership that Germany faced serious dangers. Goebbels called for a total war (totaler Krieg) to secure victory over the Allies, and exhorted the German people to continue the war even though it would be long and difficult because—as he asserted—both Germany's survival and the survival of a non-Bolshevist Europe were at stake. The setting of the speech in the Sportpalast placed the audience behind and under a big banner bearing the all-capitals words "TOTALER KRIEG – KÜRZESTER KRIEG" ("total war – shortest war") along with Nazi banners and Nazi swastikas, as seen in pictures and film of the event.

Goebbels reiterated three themes in the speech:

1.       If the Wehrmacht was not in a position to counter the danger from the Eastern front, the German Reich would fall to Bolshevism and the rest of Europe shortly afterwards.

2.       The Wehrmacht, the German people and the Axis Powers alone had the strength to save Europe from this threat.

3.       Danger was at hand, and Germany had to act quickly and decisively.

In the speech, Goebbels elaborated at length what Nazi propaganda asserted was the threat posed by so-called International Jewry: "The goal of Bolshevism is Jewish world revolution. They want to bring chaos to the Reich and Europe, using the resulting hopelessness and desperation to establish their international, Bolshevist-concealed capitalist tyranny." Rejecting the protests of enemy nations against the Reich's Jewish policies, he stated, to deafening chants from the audience, that Germany "intends to take the most radical measures, if necessary, in good time."  While Goebbels referred to Soviet mobilization nationwide as "devilish", he explained that "we cannot overcome the Bolshevist danger unless we use equivalent, though not identical, methods [in a] total war". He then justified the austerity measures enacted, explaining them as temporary measures.

Goebbels attempted to counter reports in the Allied press that German civilians had lost faith in victory by asking the audience a number of questions at the end, such as: Do you believe with the Führer and us in the final total victory of the German people? Are you and the German people willing to work, if the Führer orders, 10, 12 and if necessary 14 hours a day and to give everything for victory? Do you want total war? If necessary, do you want a war more total and radical than anything that we can even imagine today?

Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897 – 1945) was the  Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. He was one of Adolf Hitler's closest and most devoted associates, and was known for his skills in public speaking and his deeply virulent antisemitism, which was evident in his publicly voiced views. He advocated progressively harsher discrimination, including the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust.

Goebbels, who aspired to be an author, obtained a Doctor of Philology degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1921. He joined the Nazi Party in 1924, and worked with Gregor Strasser in its northern branch. He was appointed Gauleiter (district leader) for Berlin in 1926, where he began to take an interest in the use of propaganda to promote the party and its programme. After the Nazis' seizure of power in 1933, Goebbels's Propaganda Ministry quickly gained and exerted control over the news media, arts, and information in Germany. He was particularly adept at using the relatively new media of radio and film for propaganda purposes. Topics for party propaganda included antisemitism, attacks on the Christian churches, and (after the start of the Second World War) attempting to shape morale. In 1943, Goebbels began to pressure Hitler to introduce measures that would produce "total war", including closing businesses not essential to the war effort, conscripting women into the labour force, and enlisting men in previously exempt occupations into the Wehrmacht. Hitler finally appointed him as Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War on 23 July 1944, whereby Goebbels undertook largely unsuccessful measures to increase the number of people available for armaments manufacture and the Wehrmacht.

As the war drew to a close and Nazi Germany faced defeat, Magda Goebbels and the Goebbels children joined him in Berlin. They moved into the underground Vorbunker, part of Hitler's underground bunker complex, on 22 April 1945. Hitler committed suicide on 30 April. In accordance with Hitler's will, Goebbels succeeded him as Chancellor of Germany; he served one day in this post. The following day, Goebbels and his wife committed suicide, after poisoning their six children with cyanide. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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