Workers and Nazis in Hitler's Homeland

What did ordinary people in Nazi-controlled Austria really think about their native-born Führer, Adolf Hitler? Tim Kirk opens a window on a unique record of public opinion – a Gestapo equivalent of 'Mass Observation' in 30s Britain.

Politicians have always been anxious to know what people are really talking about, and in this respect authoritarian regimes are caught in a dilemma. They are reluctant to tolerate the free expression of public opinion, and accordingly institute censorship and surveillance systems and encourage snooping and denunciation. Yet public opinion which is so tightly controlled by the state is no real guide to popular morale or the level of support for the regime. Most emperors, after all, would like to have some son of warning if their new clothes are about to he ridiculed, and in this Hitler was no exception.

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