Big Lie

From Academic Kids

The oft-cited "Big Lie Theory" originated with Adolf Hitler's 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf. In that book Hitler wrote that people came to believe that Germany lost World War I in the field due to a propaganda technique used by Jews who were influential in the German press. This technique, he believed, consisted of telling a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously". The first documented use of the phrase "big lie" is in the corresponding passage: "in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility".¹

Later, Joseph Goebbels put forth a slightly different theory which has come to be more commonly associated with the phrase big lie. In this theory, the English are attributed with using a propaganda technique where in they had the mendacity to "lie big" and "stick to it".²

There is an uncited rumor to the effect that Goebbels also offered up his version of the big lie technique without attributing it to either Jewish or Allied propaganda. That uncited quote is the most wide-spread attribution of the big lie and it is usually given in a context where the implication is that the propaganda technique was invented by Goebbels, who was the propaganda minister for the Third Reich.#Goebbels' uncited quote

Mein Kampf extract

Hitler wrote in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf (James Murphy translation, page 134):

All this was inspired by the principle - which is quite true in itself - that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes. From time immemorial, however, the Jews have known better than any others how falsehood and calumny can be exploited. Is not their very existence founded on one great lie, namely, that they are a religious community, where as in reality they are a race? And what a race! One of the greatest thinkers that mankind has produced has branded the Jews for all time with a statement which is profoundly and exactly true. Schopenhauer called the Jew "The Great Master of Lies". Those who do not realize the truth of that statement, or do not wish to believe it, will never be able to lend a hand in helping Truth to prevail.

Adolph Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, is also available online at the Historical Museum (http://www.hitler.org/|Hitler).

Churchill's Lie Factory extract

Goebbels wrote the following paragraph in an article dated 12 January 1941, 16 years after Hitler's first use of the phrase big lie, entitled "Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik," translated "Churchill's Lie Factory." It was published in Die Zeit ohne Beispiel (Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1941), pp. 364-369. An excellent on-line resource for Nazi propaganda is the German Propaganda Archive of Calvin College [1] (http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/index.htm). The following speech excerpt is referenced from the GPA.

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one's secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous. - Jospeh Goebbels, 12 January 1941, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel

Goebbels' uncited quote

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." - Joseph Goebbels (unknown primary source document)
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