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Bending Spines: The Propagandas of Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic (Rhetoric & Public Affairs) Hardcover – July 31, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Rhetoric & Public Affairs
  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Michigan State University Press (July 31, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870137093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870137099
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,427,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the county to danger. It works the same in every country."

About the Author

Randall L. Bytwerk is a Professor of Communication at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. His book Julius Streicher received the National Communication Association Golden Anniversary Award.


More About the Author

I went to Northwestern University as a graduate student in 1971 expecting to do research on John Calvin's rhetoric, an interest I'd developed as an undergraduate at the Calvin College, where I now teach. I quickly discovered that to do research on Calvin, I needed to know French and Latin. I knew German. Professor Robert D. Brooks, however, was looking for graduate students interested in propaganda, and I was the only one who knew enough German to be dangerous. He persuaded me to take up the subject, which has kept me occupied ever since.

With a few exceptions, my publications are on Nazi and East German political propaganda. A full list is available here:

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/faculty/randallbytwerk.htm

Besides my books on the area, I maintain the German Propaganda Archive, a large and growing collection of translations and images from the Nazi and East German periods. It's worth a visit:

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/

My two forthcoming essays are on Nazi uses of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" and a lengthy essay on the rhetorical duel between Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler between 1937 and 1939.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Anthony W. Skaggs on May 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bytwerk has written a very accessible book about the use of propaganda by the two twentieth century dictatorships in Germany - the nazis and the communists. It's well-organized with excellent endnotes and a lengthy bibliography. While I think the subject deserves two in-depth booklength studies on each individual era instead of this comparative approach, "Bending Spines" is a good introduction. At times however, the comparative structure simply breaks down, for example in the chapter comparing the role of satire journals under Hitler and in the GDR. Bytwerk's hunt for anti-semitic "humor" in East German sources to compare to the Nazi's overwhelming hatred made me cringe. Bytwerk provides a wonderful website as a supplement to this book. It is an archive of translations of both Nazi and communist propaganda and is superb.
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26 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Award-winning author an Professor of Communication Randall Bytwerk presents Bending Spines: The Propagandas Of Nazi Germany And The German Democratic Republic, a scholarly close study that strives to answer a larger question: why do totalitarian propagandas such as those created in Nazi Germany and the former German Democratic Republic succeed so well in the short term, yet fail in the long term? Examining in-depth the litany of persuasive techniques used by the regimes, and ultimately concluding that the government expected more of propaganda than it was able to deliver, Bending Spines leaves no word unturned in its search to comprehend what truth moves and manipulates human hearts and minds. A sober, meticulous dissection of the lessons of history.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Roth PhD on March 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating book written by someone who is unaware of the anti-Semetic base line of German propaganda. Well documented but with this major flaw. Also ignores the Invasion of Poland while emphasizing the misinformation policy of the reporting of th war
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