Wikipedia Information on Censorship
In the German Empire, many media were under Imperial control. Before World War I, civil administrators appointed by the government were charged with ensuring the public decency of printed material within the Empire.
The Imperial Press Law of 1874 ended the government’s right to censor materials before publishing. It also eliminated the need for a government-issued license to publish. However, the government retained the right to be notified of all publications as soon as printing began. Theatres, cinemas, cabarets, and music halls, however, were still subject to state licensing. Police had direct control over these venues.
With the outbreak of World War I, the military took over the censorship office with the aim of mobilizing German support for the war. A police official was instated in every city for this purpose. Restrictions on materials became much harsher. Materials could be banned because of association with a particular person or country, or simply because the censor felt that the piece was distracting or a waste of time.
Weimar Republic (1918-1933)
Main article: Film Assessment Headquarters
Article 118 of the Weimar constitution forbade censorship with the text “No censorship will take place”. The only exception to this article was film. The film and cinema industry was regulated by the Film Assessment Headquarters. The purpose of this organization was to censor films released in Germany for pornography and other indecent content.
The ‘Gesetz zur Bewahrung der Jugend vor Schund- und Schmutzschriften’ (Law for the Protection of Youth from Trash and Filth Writings) from the 18th of December, 1926 provided for the censorship of printed materials in the interest of youth welfare. However, it forbade the censorship of printed materials for political, social, religious, ethical, or world-view-related reasons.
Nazi Germany (1933-1945)
Main article: Censorship in Nazi Germany
Censorship in Nazi Germany was implemented by the Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. All media — literature, music, newspapers, and public events—were censored. Attempts were also made to censor private communications, such as mail and even private conversation, with mixed results.
The aim of censorship under the Nazi regime was simple: to reinforce Nazi power and to suppress opposing viewpoints and information. Punishments ranged from banning of presentation and publishing of works to deportation, imprisonment, or even execution in a concentration camp.
Hitler outlined his theory of propaganda and censorship in Mein Kampf:
“The chief function of propaganda is to convince the masses, whose slowness of understanding needs to be given time so they may absorb information; and only constant repetition will finally succeed in imprinting an idea on their mind.”