Feeling love is a phrase

Political education

One may be horrified by this question, the other will turn the question into an exclamation mark. In any case, opinions differ about it, and that is a good thing. Because the topic causes controversy, and disputes over opinion are the be-all and end-all for a democracy. They are formed through experiences, self-made and read. Since experiences change over the course of life as well as history, opinion rarely remains constant. That is why the answers to the question about feelings are time-bound.

Legacy of National Socialism

Anyone who had actively experienced the time of National Socialism did not want to know anything more about feelings, or more precisely: politically evoked feelings. The National Socialists, above all their Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, and his team, had relied heavily on feelings in their way of bringing politics to the people and mobilizing them for the goals of the regime. Jurists, otherwise known for their sobriety, raved about the "healthy public sentiment" and made a separate legal category out of it. The "Führer" was stylized as an object of absolute identification and devotion. Faith in him, trust in him, love for him were repeated confessions; for some "national comrades" this intimate emotional bond even survived the end of the war. [1]

Hitler knew about this power of feeling, even if he secretly despised the masses who cheered him. As early as 1925, in the first volume of "Mein Kampf", he developed a concept of "political advertising" as the "art" of emotional mass influence and conviction. Since the people "in their overwhelming majority are so feminine in disposition and attitude", "that less sober reflection than emotional feeling determines their thoughts and actions", propaganda "in a psychologically correct form has the way to the attention and further to the heart of the masses "to find:" So your work has to be more and more focused on the feeling and only to a very limited extent on the so-called intellect. "[2]

This guideline followed after 1933 by the Goebbels'sche Apparat, which was organized according to the general staff. [3] He staged grandiose events that put the "gray masses" into a "great intoxication of enthusiasm" thanks to a sophisticated light and form choreography, as at the Berlin May Celebration in 1933. After Hitler's speech, the program was to sing together: "Sounds believing and strong Horst Wessel's song up into the eternal evening sky (...) It is no longer a phrase: we have become a single nation of brothers. "[4] Propaganda, however, did not only take place on the Tempelhofer Feld. Also and especially in school lessons and in the subsequent activities of the Hitler Youth, children and young people - the central future resource of the "Third Reich" - were sworn to an unconditional love for the Führer and the fatherland. During the war there was then added hatred of the external enemies of that fatherland; the inner ones had already been made short work of.

Political education under National Socialism, as it was carried out in schools and youth organizations, but also in the countless associations and clubs that included all sections of the population and that were brought into line, was therefore emotionally grounded in a previously unknown way. It is true that in the empire there was already an education in patriotism and loyalty to the emperor: patriotic poems and songs were practiced in elementary schools, stories about the monarch and his good government were in every reading primer, and even in church evangelical pastors preached from the pulpit the divine duty to honor the emperor and to be obedient to him. But nowhere was there any mention of a "great intoxication" that came over the believers. The enthusiasm was limited, even if sympathy for the respective dynasty was definitely present and hereditary. In addition, there were competing identifications and educational processes: Catholics kept a greater distance from the state than Protestants, while social democrats, at least in theory, completely rejected the state and its top representatives and paid homage to their own heroes: Karl Marx and Ferdinand Lassalle, August Bebel or Rosa Luxemburg.

Reason versus heart in Weimar

The Weimar Republic also allowed alternative political orientations to apply, even if it tried to find a republican tone and to spread it among the population. In the Free State of Prussia, the largest and most influential country, under the Education Ministers Carl Heinrich Becker and Adolf Grimme, adult education centers were developed as places of (also) political education. They were aimed at adults, while children and young people in the slowly reformed schools were supposed to learn something about their civil rights and duties. The new Weimar constitution provided the appropriate basic text. However, their paragraphs were dust-dry and abstract. Politics on the street became more concrete and lively during the increasingly fiercely polarized and polarizing election campaigns, whose agonal character was not limited to verbal battles. The election posters on display spoke volumes; they tried to convince with expressive graphics and sparkling slogans and at the same time made it clear in bright colors and drastic caricatures where the respective enemy stood.

In order to enable positive ties to the republic beyond such friend-foe demarcations, which were in their vehemence something new, a constitutional day was celebrated every year on August 11th, the day the Weimar constitution was signed. Here, in the words of the Reichskunstwart Edwin Redslob, who was entrusted with the design, "the connection between the government and its guests with the whole of the people was created". The celebration, initially "academically cool", was supposed to develop "advertising power" and be a "form of common commitment to the construction of the new state". [5] In the imperial tradition, military bands played in front of the Berlin Reichstag, and black, red and gold flags fluttered in the wind. Nevertheless, the festival atmosphere did not want to arise - and it was not wanted either. Weimar's state symbolism was emphatically sober and remote from pathos. Even social democrats, who had already developed a highly emotional political culture within the party in the 19th century with an intense binding force, were clearly reluctant when it came to state sentiments. When an SPD member of the National Assembly defined the essence of democracy, all that occurred to him was "that everyone in the people works, that they are aware of their rights, and that by safeguarding their rights and asserting their rights by appointment the trust of his confidants grow as a flower ". [6] At best, the flower metaphor exuded a touch of affectivity.

This sobriety found its most striking expression in the concept of the Republican of reason. This is what many called themselves, most prominently the writer Thomas Mann, the liberal politician and Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann and the history professor Friedrich Meinecke, who only changed from a "heart monarchist" to a "future-oriented" supporter of the republic in January 1919. His heart continued to beat for the empire, in whose structures and dynastic attachments the 1862-born had grown up and socialized. [7] He was only able to approximate the form of government of the republic and its representatives with his head. It was no coincidence that he promoted a powerful president, directly elected by the people, in whom some saw a "substitute emperor" or "substitute emperor" and who satisfied the widespread need for "strong leadership". Such a leader was promised by the countless "barefoot prophets" who roamed the country in the 1920s, and the young journalist Joseph Goebbels wanted him too. "Germany longs for the one", he wrote in his diary in 1924: "Only the last gathering of strength, enthusiasm and total devotion will save us." [8]

Faced with the acid test between emotional cold and heat, between "reasonable" loyalty and passionate hope of salvation, it was not easy for the Weimar state to create a pathos-free, yet affectively binding political education and culture. That such a bond was urgently needed was particularly evident in the crisis years of the republic. Devotion to and enthusiasm for the Constitution and its institutions at risk were in short supply. Even if some of the eloquent critics on the left, under the impression of disintegration, converted to rational Republicans, that was not enough to support the state that was attacked from the extremes and hollowed out in its midst. Those who could warm themselves to him out of heart, conviction and conviction were in the minority. This was evident not only in the polling stations, but also where the state tried to obtain affective approval. When the Neue Wache Unter den Linden was inaugurated as the central memorial for the fallen of the World War in 1931, after long arguments and with a very simple design, many stayed away because it was too unheroic for them. After 1933, the new rulers hurried to rename the day of national mourning to "Heroes' Remembrance Day" and instead of mourning to demonstrate pride, "uprising" and "hope for the bloody seeds to sprout". [9]