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The big lie technique has been used in other contexts, including by Joseph Stalin, who said “the press must grow day in and day out — it is our Party’s sharpest and most powerful weapon”. The phrase was also used by the British writer George Orwell in his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language”.
The Big Lie is a propaganda technique used in political discourse and mass media. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so “colossal” that no one would believe that someone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”.
Hitler believed the technique was used by Jews to blame Germany’s loss in World War I on German general Erich Ludendorff. Hitler claimed that this “Big Lie” would be believed because people would not believe that others could have the audacity to distort the truth so much.
Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, refined and developed this concept into a sophisticated propaganda tool for Nazi Germany. He wrote:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
Goebbels’ idea was to use relentless repetition of an idea or phrase in order to make it become accepted as truth. This technique has been used ever since by governments and organizations around the world for various purposes.