According to a study by the University of California, Nazi propaganda and indoctrination, which focused on promoting racial hatred, was “very effective”. The study involved 5,300 Germans who were born in the 1920s and were interviewed between 1996 to 2006.
Out of the respondents, those who grew up under the Nazi rule were much more anti-Semitic than those who were born before or after that time.
The effectiveness of the Nazi propaganda lay also in the fact that from 1933 to 1945, young Germans were exposed to Nazi ideology in schools, in the compulsory (extracurricular activity) Hitler Youth, and through radio, print and film media.
The study revealed that it is possible to modify people’s beliefs through “policy intervention” and that the education system and youth organization were more effective than film, radio and print media.
“Our findings also imply that once people have changed their views, they don’t really go back. Even when they’re 75 and they’ve spent 40 years in a perfectly pleasant democratic place, they’re still strongly influenced by all the hatred that’s been spread in school,” said Joachim Voth, co-author, University of Zurich.
Using data on racial attitudes today, more than half a century after the end of the Third Reich, shows that propaganda and schooling were highly effective in changing attitudes and beliefs.