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Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany

Author

Listed:
  • Maja Adena

    (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung - Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung)

  • Ruben Enikolopov

    (Institute for Advanced Study - Institute for Advanced Study, NES - New Economic School - NES)

  • Maria Petrova

    (NES - New Economic School - NES, Princeton University)

  • Veronica Santarosa

    (University of Michigan - Law School - University of Michigan [Ann Arbor])

  • Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

    (NES - New Economic School - NES, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics)

Abstract

How far can the media protect or undermine democratic institutions in unconsolidated democracies, and how persuasive can they be in ensuring public support for dictator's policies? We study this question in the context of Germany between 1929 and 1939. Using geographical and temporal variation in radio availability, we show that radio had a significant negative effect on the Nazi electoral support between 1929 and 1932, when political news were slanted against Nazi party. This effect was reversed in just 5 weeks following Hitler's appointment as chancellor and the transfer of control of the radio to the Nazis. Pro-Nazi radio propaganda caused higher vote for the Nazis in March 1933 election. After full consolidation of power, radio propaganda helped the Nazis to enroll new party members and encouraged denunciations of Jews and other open expressions of anti-Semitism. The effect of Nazi propaganda was not uniform. Depending on listeners' priors about the message, propaganda could be very effective or could backfire. Nazi radio was most effective in places where anti-Semitism was historically high and had a negative effect on the support for anti-Semitic policies in places with historically low anti-Semitism.

Suggested Citation

  • Maja Adena & Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Veronica Santarosa & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2013. "Radio and the Rise of the Nazis in Prewar Germany," PSE Working Papers halshs-00858992, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00858992
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00858992
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Propaganda; Dictatorship; Nazis; Radio; Media;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • N74 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - Europe: 1913-

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