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German History in Documents and Images
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Passersby in Front of a Berlin Radio Store Listen to the Official Radio Broadcast of a Speech by Hitler (1936)
Broadcasting Hitler’s speeches was one of the most important functions of radio during the Third Reich. Work in factories and businesses came to a halt during these broadcasts, and people gathered in front of public loudspeakers to listen to the "Führer" as a group. This ritual strengthened Germans’ sense of belonging to a "national community" [Volksgemeinschaft] and gave individual listeners the feeling that they had direct contact with Hitler. After the start of the war, Hitler’s radio speeches were one of the most effective means of maintaining popular morale and Germans’ willingness to fight. Photo by Josef Donderer.