I recently came across this passage of Mein Kampf where Hitler praises the effectiveness of WW1 Allied propaganda over the German people:

At first the claims of the propaganda were so impudent that people thought it insane; later, it got on people's nerves; and in the end, it was believed. After four and a half years, a revolution broke out in Germany; and its slogans originated in the enemy's war propaganda.

I'm assuming this refers to pamphlets delivered by planes and balloons over enemy lines; is that correct?

I searched the web in both English and French, but dedicated sites such as http://propagande1418.free.fr/index2.htm (French) only seem to mention propaganda targeted at domestic audiences.

What sort of ideas were instilled by this propaganda? Do you know of a source where I could find some translated pamphlets?

In my search I came across the stab-in-the-back myth, which makes me wonder if maybe Hitler was overstating the effect of the propaganda because he was influenced by (or wanted to exploit) a popular meme. How accurate was his statement?

  • 1
    I'm skeptical of your assumption. Hitler could have been referring to propaganda like, "Liberal Democracy is a good thing." and "Individuals have rights independent of the state." or "War is bad for children and other living things." No evidence, just a devil's advocate.
    – MCW
    Feb 3, 2016 at 9:55
  • By allied propaganda he might refereed to the propaganda / communication of (German) political political movements, like social democrats or other leftist forces. It is rather common (even nowadays) that (populist) politicians accuse other political parties to be a propaganda tool of other countries.
    – Greg
    Feb 4, 2016 at 7:22

1 Answer 1


In terms of Allied propaganda being a root cause of the German revolution, I'd say Hitler's statement is not accurate. I'd further state that Mein Kampf is a political/ideological document, and any historical references in such documents should be immediately suspect.

Ultimately, failure of an authoritarian ruling class in Germany had led to defeat on the battlefield and starvation/deprivation at home. This was the proximate cause of the revolution, as it had become clear to the general population of Germany as 1918 waned that the grand stalemate on the Western front had been broken and that defeat of the Central Powers was inevitable. Allied propaganda was not necessary. The troops marching back towards Germany every day could see what was happening, as could the hungry civilians behind the lines. The population was moved to change governments, and the only way to do this in an authoritarian system is through revolution.

See for example http://www.markedbyteachers.com/gcse/history/why-was-there-a-german-revolution-in-1918-and-how-far-had-it-gone-by-1919.html

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    But the point isn't whether the allies fomented revolution, which they patently didn't. The point is did they propagandise, and what did they say?
    – Ne Mo
    Feb 4, 2016 at 10:18

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