The High Style of Nazi Propaganda


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  • 1930
  • Jozef Plank>

Appropriately, the final poster of these decisive years which saw Nazi propaganda develope a large number of powerful symbols, is a throw-back to Adolf Hitler's original invention of 1920 &emdash; the Swastika symbol itself.

This poster by Josef Plank comes from the 1930 Reichstag campaign and reflects Hitler's own personal understanding of the power of symbols. It has no caption, no text whatsoever.

Graphically, it shows an arm, suggestively clad in a brown shirt. This arm is not one of Mjölnir's threatening poses. On the contrary, it has an almost peaceful, even religious air. For the fingers of the hand are raised in the traditional German sign for taking a solemn oath. Two fighters pointed straight up, signifying the two natures of Jesus Christ, human and divine. Three fingers folded, representing the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

The "message" is understandable, but a little complex. First, it stresses the spiritual aspects of both the original Swastika and the oath itself. Secondly, it implies that the Nazi call is for a committment equal to that of religion.

Finally, the rays of light around the black and white Swastika-centered field, break up the regular "political flag" form. This poster actually makes the whole center field into a kind of monstrance, the sacred vessel in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on solemn occasions.

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