The High Style of Nazi Propaganda


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  • 1927
  • Mjölnir (Hans Schweitzer)
For Freedom

Reichs Party Rally
of the National Socialists
Nürnberg, 19-21 August 1927

This poster for the third annual rally of the NSDAP is the first work which the Nazis commissioned from Mjölnir (Hans Schweitzer), who was to become their most prolific and popular artist. This poster shows all the characteristics which made him such an attractive illustrator of Nazi themes. It features a strong-jawed and muscular male figure, raising a torch of freedom, while striking a pose of utmost determination and dedication.

Moreover, it is remarkably devoid of text. Even the full name of the party is cut down to "National Socialist" so that the whole poster concentrates upon the visual image of the figure and his torch. Indeed, the text almost looks as if it has dropped down as flaming pieces from the freedom-torch itself.

The Poster has still another characteristic. It is remarkably ambiguous. What does "freedom" mean for this poster? There is no way of saying, because no enemy is presented against which one is required to fight for freedom. Nor is there any obvious threat being made which would require a defensive response. Such ambiguity served well the Nazi propaganda patterns, and Mjölnir has well caught it in this poster.

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