The High Style of Nazi Propaganda


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  • 1929
So, still another 60 Years!

For this not to be our destiny,
Support the Volks Plebiscite!
16-29 October

Even before the crash of the New York Stock Exchange on 25 October 1929, waves of economic crises had washed over Germany. Precipated first by a major recession in the agricultural sector, it soon extended to industrial and retail areas, thus threatening the fragile Republic. The Dawes Plan of 1924 had worked out a payment schedules for German reparations by assuming a mortgage on the German railroad system. With this stabilization, foreign investors (including a large number of American banks) lent huge sums of money to German municipalities, as well as individual German states and industrial plants.

In retrospect, we know that these loans largely went for improvements in the superstructure and not to improve the industrial potential. And by 1929, Germany was unable to pay both the Dawes Plan interest as well as the annual interest due on these private loans. A new financial arrangement had to be negotiated. After meeting from 11 February to 7 June 1929, the Paris conference under US Banker Owen D. Young produced what came to be known as the Young Plan. Concerned mainly with stabilizing the reparations payment, it re-negotiated the final sum to be 114 billion Gold Marks, payable over 59 years until 1988! To guarantee payment, a consortium of international banks essentially assumed control of Germany's major financial organizations.

Although the government was actually relieved by the rather modest terms of the Young Plan and a coalition in the Reichstag ratified it after only minor debate, various right-wing political organizations angrily denounced it. Adolf Hitler joined in a call for a referendum to schedule a plebiscite vote to reverse the German Reichstag's acceptance of the Young Plan. In so doing, Hitler took a big step away from his regional identify and became a major player in Federal politics.

This poster appeared in mid-October 1929, to urge voters to support this call for a plebiscite. The picture shows a German worker bound fast to a stake; a vulture sits on his shoulder, and a French soldier guards him. The stake is labelled "Versailles Treaty," and attached to it is a sign "114 Billion" the final Reparations sum stipulated in the Young Plan. Around the victim flames are beginning to consume him. The landscape in the rear shows desolation, ruined towns and silent factories.

The referendum secured 4.1 million votes, and thus a plebiscite on the Young Plan was scheduled. Ironically, in the middle of this referendum, the New York stock market crashed, creating a whole new set of problems for the struggling Republic.

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