The High Style of Nazi Propaganda


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  • 1928
National Socialism

Or Else They Died

In Vain!


Perhaps the most successful Nazi innovation for the Reichstag elections of 1928 was this extraordinarily effective poster. It shows a soldier of the first world war, staring quietly and with deep sadness at the viewer. It was a scene familiar to every German from the numerous versions in war-time posters. In those, however, the caption would have read: Subscribe to War Bonds.

But here, the inscription links these soldiers to the National Socialist Party. It implies that, even without knowing it, the brave men who fought in the trenches of the World War were really Nazis, or at least that they were fighting for the same thing as the Nazis.

This is a real innovation in Hitler's tactics. And it shows a growing awareness that in his campaign for political support, anti-Semitism and even anti-Communism (the hallmarks of Nazi propaganda up to now) would not be enought. The NSDAP had to show what it stood for. Henceforth, this becomes one of the recurrent themes: National Socialism is the spirit of the trenches, the spirit of comradeship, the spirit of a truly united Germany.

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