The High Style of Nazi Propaganda


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  • 1928

This is an unusual poster because it presents a symbol which is seldom found in Nazi art, the medieval knight. The picture would be a familiar one to a German audience; it strongly resembles a Dürer etching, and most adults of the day could have provided the title: A knight without fear or reproach. The line comes from Goethe and was meant to describe the Christian warrior who lived by protecting the innocent, defending the weak, and bringing justice to the oppressed.

Overtly the knight is not identified, but by having him bear on his shield the early German symbol of the Hakenkreuz, the historical association is made. National Socialism offers that same high quality of idealism and dedication as the knights of old.

At the bottom of the picture, the inscription is another quotation from Goethe. It reads:

Victory or Defeat rests in the hand of God.
We ourselves are lord and master of our Honor.

This deceptively simple poster summarized the self-image which Hitler and all National Socialists sought to cultivate: noble fighters in some just cause, although no mention is made of what that cause might be. This poster is thus typical of the election campaign of 1928, when econmic prosperity and domestic peace dominated the German political scene.

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