Consolidation of Power
Nazi Propaganda

1933-1934

 

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  • Elk Eber
  • 1933
 

Roll Call for the SA, 23 February 1933

During the first weeks of the new government, the political demonstrations and violence which had plagued the Republic for the last year continued almost without interruption. The Nazi-Conservative coalition which called itself the Government of National Concentration had promised that they would stamp out such political vilence. One of their first steps was to enroll as auxiliary policemen the Storm Troopers [Sturm Abteilung = SA]. Especially in the large state of Prussia, SA units were mobilized to assist the regular police in curbing demonstations.

This poster, by the extremely successful illustrator Elk Eber, advertized a national rally of the SA, scheduled for 23 February, only two weeks before the elections. It shows two SA men getting spruced up for the parade and review. Both figures have Eber's characteristic military features: square-jawed, clear-eyed, their bodies in excellent physical shape. The whole picture presents determination, courage, and committment.

While many in Germany were heartily sick of the political violence that had become almost a daily feature, few accepted the idea that one group of participants ought to be charged with policing the situation. While one cynic wrote in his diary about the value of having experienced poachers acting like game-keepers, most simply tried to keep out of the way.

Eber's poster attempts to portray these SA men as truely worthy of the police roles they had accepted. Ironically enough, on the day of the rally, police units (augmented by SA men) raided Communist Party headquarters in Berlin. Later, the government claimed they had found all sorts of incriminating evidence, but none was released to the public prior to the burning of the Reichstag Building two days later.

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