289 | MP conclusion
ready to burst into action. Suggestion by submissiveness,
as we may call it, is bound to break down if the command
conveyed runs counter to the fundamental tendencies of the
persons to whom it is given."
The Allied propagandists, incidentally, respected the
prestige of the German commanders as long as that prestige
was secure. Attacks on Hindenburg and Ludendorff began only
after the retreat of 1918. A successful leader's unbroken
prestige is heightened by the attacks of an enemy.
It is further noteworthy that there was a substantial
element of unsuspected truth behind the ideological offensive
of the Allies. They fought for 'democracy'. The development
of the war automatically increased the social weight of the
common people. It was a people's war in which everything
came more and more to depend on the fighters and workers.
General Groener saw this when he remarked in 1917 that "a
democratic wave goes through the world." While parliamentary
democracy has suffered from the aftermath of the war, the
influence of the masses has increased steadily, also in the
so called 'dictatorial' countries. Dr. Goebbels bore a some-
what ungraceful testimony to it when he said that the govern-
ment "must recognise the opinions of the people if their
opinions are justified".
The last war thus revealed not only the importance of
propaganda, but also its relative unimportance. Propaganda
worked only after four years, in the case of the defeated.
It never succeeded with the victors. German propaganda failed