Through Technology -- and Its Effect on a Global Society
Manipulating Truth to Rewrite History
Despite our association of “technology” with terms such as computer, hardware, and programming, this word has been used in other ways to save the same purposes of manipulating people and getting control over them. And what figure better than Adolf Hitler to talk about abuse of power?
Nazi Party: Control of Technology, propaganda, media and arts to write a historical narrative that suited its purpose and remain in power
Hitler is a very interesting case to look at when considering manipulation of truth due to the conditions in which he rose to power. In a curiously fascinating and intriguing manner, this man did what hundreds of other “great men” of history were unable to: he took advantage of the most disadvantageous of situations a rising leader could hope for.
However, with careful maneuvering of technology, propaganda, the media and the arts, Hitler was able to not only convince himself but the entire German population that not only was he the proper leader for that particular historical scope of time, but that it was his nation’s obligation to change the wrongdoings of World War I. By taking advantage of the dissatisfied, depressed, and dysfunctional German population that barely had what to eat due to the hyperinflation, in 1933 Hitler started to consciously rewrite his country’s recent history in one of history’s most daring strategies. Not only did Hitler make the Treaty of Versailles’ “War Guilt Clause” that blamed Germany guilty for the war seem implausible, he also tricked people into actually conceiving the idea of getting revenge and retrieving the land that had been taken from them as punishment. He presented himself as a solution and despised his fellow continental Europeans’ attempts at international diplomacy. No wonder it ended up in the Final Solution… But before killing 6 million Jews, Hitler made people believe that change could take place and that it relied on his extreme party. Now, how did he do that? Magic?
No. Hitler, obsessed with the idea of a racially unified Germany based on the pillars of nationalism, understood the importance of technology for spreading effective propaganda. At the time, technology did not have the same robotic, wireless connotation that it implies today – practically, it was for sure much less developed; however, the field of manipulation had more plasticity in the sense that propaganda was intricate to arts and vice-versa, making people almost purposefully unaware of the brainwash they were undergoing. The Fuhrer took the art of persuasion to another level when he hired Dr. Joseph Goebbels as Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. No, unfortunately that last part was not a typo, but even something as absurd as this reflects how Hitler rewrote history in its utmost details – from people’s titles to what neighborhood in the city they lived in. Goebbels had the task to 1) certify that nobody would be listening to or seeing anti-Nazi demonstrations and 2) extent the Nazi view of the world and its sphere of influence as much as possible.
To accomplish this task, the Nazi administration relied on a powerful tool in which all truth was manipulated and people were controlled even when they thought to be having leisure time: films. Apart from burning heretic books, filmmaking was the Nazis primary tool in controlling the truth and consequently, the people. To reinforce the Nazi world view, themes displayed were recurrent: the German war hero, the corrupt Jew with his rat-like features that should be exterminated in the same manner as one, the right path a dutiful Aryan should follow in demonstrating his love for the Fuhrer. Between 1933 and 1945, some of the world’s leading propaganda films were produced.
other noteworthy movies include:
"the eternal jew"
and "triumph of the will" ...really?
Nazi propaganda through radio
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE USED TO MANIPULATE TRUTH
"Spot the difference - Zoe Kleinman gets photoshopped"
How to See Common Alterations
- Cloning: Part of image subtly duplicated, eg to make smoke cloud look bigger - a computer can analyse pixel colours in different areas and compare them for similarity
- Re-touching: To sharpen blurred or underlit detail - proportions of basic colours in sequences of pixels are often not balanced after a re-touch.
- Lighting: By analysing all shadows in an image, scientists can tell whether a shot had a single light source.
Source: BBC News, by Zoe Kleinman