Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Joseph Bendersky


Under the Reich Ministry of Propaganda and Popular Enlightenment functioned the Winterhilfswerk des deutschen Volkes (the “WHW”), or Winter Assistance Program of the German people. Initially designated in 1933 to assist the unemployed, the WHW expanded its reach by disseminating propaganda in the form of an annual edition of the Ewiges Deutschland:Ein deutsches Hausbuch household book from 1939 through 1943, intended to entertain and politically educate German family members throughout the year. Decidedly more comprehensible than Mein Kampf, another widely popularly disseminated book in Nazi Germany for weddings, Ewiges Deutschland likely enjoyed a more satisfied audience of readers. A study of all five original volumes published totaling approximately 1,800 pages of primary source material, together with secondary supporting resources, suggests a dynamic relationship between the political intentions and propaganda value of the material published and the existing popular political culture. The Propaganda Ministry clearly understood this relationship and attempted to exploit and manipulate it. This relationship however was not static, and the explicit propaganda, its message, and associated literature changed over the course of the years studied according to the context of current events. This study illuminates our understanding of what daily life, culture, and many widely held beliefs were, and what they were intended to be, during the Third Reich. It concludes that popular political culture was less ideologically Nazified and radicalized than generally assumed.


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Is Part Of

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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011

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