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Joseph Goebbels's speech of 13 September 1935 on "communism unmasked," held at the party "rally of freedom" that introduced the antisemitic legislation of the "Nuremburg laws," marked the starting point of a propaganda campaign against the USSR that lasted until the rapprochement between the dictatorships in the summer of 1939. (1) Anti-communism was the dominating theme of the Nazi party's rally. Before the assembled faithful in Nuremburg, speakers that included Adolf Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg emphasized the need to struggle against the Bolshevik threat. In his speech, the "Third Reich's" propaganda minister started by refuting the claim of the British press that Bolshevism and Nazism were converging. (2) He claimed that the German and the European public had a distorted view of Bolshevism and promised to expose the "true nature" of the Soviet regime. According to Goebbels, Bolshevism exemplified the "challenge of Jewish-led subhumanity against culture as such." Against this threat, it was Nazi Germany's "universal mission" to save Europe from the perils of Bolshevism. (3) Goebbels went on to read a long list of crimes that he attributed to Soviet Russia's rulers and their communist allies abroad. In Nuremburg, he set out to convince the German population and the European public that the Comintern was a "Jewish conspiracy." The speech showed Nazism's proclivity for viewing the world in conspiratorial terms. (4) Goebbels's appeal to join the fight against Bolshevism was soon published as a booklet and became the first component of a concerted campaign. As he vilified Bolshevism in his speech, Goebbels paid tribute to one Soviet achievement: he complimented the Soviet government on its excellent international propaganda. He accepted the challenge to counteract these propagandistic successes and to establish "Jewish Bolshevism" as a Feindbild for the German and European public. (5) Fundamentally, the anti-Soviet campaign was part of the radicalization of Nazi rule and served to legitimize such measures as the antisemitic legislation of 1935. (6) The campaign against the USSR aimed to connect the image of the internal Jewish enemy with "Judeo-Bolshevism," which was portrayed as the greatest external threat. From the fall of 1935 onward, Nazi propaganda used a variety of different means to spread this message. The press, exhibitions on Soviet Russia, and speeches by party members kept repeating the same arguments.

June 22
Slavica Publishers, Inc.

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