Nazi Germany Propaganda Posters

Professor Randall Bytwerk of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI has put together a very good collection of Nazi Propaganda posters with commentary. According to Professor Bytwerk, most of these posters are in the collection of the German Federal Archive.

http://www.bytwerk.com/gpa/posters2.htm

 

hunger

 Winterhilfswerk des Deutschen Volkes which translates as “Winter Relief of the German People,” was the national charity of the Nazi Party.

The slogan on the poster translates as “None shall starve nor freeze.” This was the motto of Winter Help. Since no accounting of public monies was ever provided to German citizens, we don’t know how the money was spent although it is clear that Nazi Party officials helped themselves to some f the Winter Relief money.

Giving was voluntary but you were hounded repeatedly to give and almost everyone donated and often more than once. Different weeks were doled out to different groups in the Reich as “their” week to lead the collecting efforts.

For example, one week would be the turn of the police and they would be everywhere collecting for winter relief. After contributing a certain amount, they gave you a lapel pin or token to show you had contributed. Like many things in Nazi Germany, Winter Help or Winter Relief was started by the Wiemar Republic.

kauft

Comments Professor Bytwerk, “This poster probably comes from the mid-1930’s. The caption: “Hitler is building. Help him. Buy German goods.”

Comments Charles McCain, “autarky, that is being self-sufficient and not relying on imports from other countries, was a central tenet of Nazi ideology. This program also helped preserve foreign cash reserves.”

In an effort to promote the Nazi Party’s campaign against other peoples and ideologies, the Reich’s Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, under the direction of the reptilian Josef Goebbels, created thousands of posters in an attempt to sway public opinion. Given the set up in Nazi Germany, artists who wanted to work often had to take on these assignments so the posters are professional drawn.

 

freude

Comments Professor Bytwerk, “This poster is probably from the 1936 referendum. The text: “Before: Unemployment, hopelessness, desolation, strikes, lockouts. Today: Work, joy, discipline, comaradarie. Give the Führer your vote!”  Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Library.

Says Charles McCain: “The figure represented in the poster is a young man from the Reichsarbeitsdienst which translates as the Reich Labour Service. All males were required to serve six months in this glorified ditch-digging brigade prior to the forced conscription into the Wehrmacht. Whenever they marched in a parades, the Nazi ditch-diggers carried polished shovels like rifles.

 

1200px-Arbeitsdienst

Young German thugs in the RAD carrying their shovels while marching. (Photo courtesy German National Archive)

After the signing of a treaty between Germany and Russia in 1939, German anti-Bolshevist propaganda dropped to a minimum but it started again with a fervor after Operation Barbarossa in 1941. In 1942, an exhibition titled “The Soviet Paradise” made its rounds.

Below is a poster from the collection of Professor Randall Bytwerk along with his comments involving the campaign and below that is an excerpt from the campaign:The cover of the pamphlet accompanying The Soviet Paradise, An Exhibition of the Nazi Party Central Propaganda Office.

soviet paradise cover

This is the booklet accompanying a 1942 exhibition on the Soviet Union, organized by the Nazi Party’s propaganda office.

calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/paradise

The Soviet Paradise: An Exhibition of the Nazi Party Central Propaganda Office

As early as 1934 the Reichspropagandaleitung of the NSDAP organized an exhibition from the available written and visual material. Its goal was to inform the German people about the dreadful conditions in the Soviet Union.

The exhibition’s organizers often had the feeling that their portrayal of conditions in the Soviet Union was far from accurate. This feeling has since been confirmed — but in an entirely different manner than expected. Everything that had been said about Bolshevism before the outbreak of the war with the Soviet Union has been thrown into the shadows by reality. Words and pictures are not enough to make the tragedy of Bolshevist reality believable to Europeans. This agrees with what our soldiers repeatedly say. It is impossible to portray conditions in the Soviet Union without oneself having seen and experienced them.

The idea therefore was to provide German citizens with an exhibition based on everyday life under Bolshevism in order to show them the misery of life there. A number of expeditions to areas held by our troops were made to gather the necessary original material for the exhibition.

Millions of visitors have received an accurate picture of the misery of life under Bolshevism through the numerous original items. Experts, above all our soldiers, still agree that even this exhibition does not give a full picture of the misery and hopelessness of the lives of farmers and workers in the “Soviet Paradise.”

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[Images courtesy of Randall Bytwerk at Calvin College.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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