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  • 1920
Brother, You Too Should
Enlist in the Reichswehr


A critical part of the Versailles Treaty was Article 160, which provided for the disarmament of Germany. It prohibited a number of weapons (including airplanes and battleships), forbade conscription, and limited Germany's standing army to 100,000 volunteers, who would have to agree to serve for 12 years.

The German government therefore consistently had to publish posters urging young men to volunteer for service in the new army, which was rechristened the Reichswehr, literally "arms of the Reich." This is an early example of such a poster. It has a number of interesting symbolic points.

First, it involves a civilian at the plow. He is being called upon to stop his plowing, even though it is springtime (see the wild flowers growing) and give service to his country. Secondly, note that outlined on the body of the farmer is the pattern of a medieval soldier. This dramatizes the historical association with which a volunteer should be imbued. Lastly, the poster is addressed to "brother." The implication here is that Germany is more than just a collection of citizens. That would be the liberal approach. Here, the individual is seen as a relative, a member of a Gemeinschaft, the community of the Volk.

These associations do not make this a Nazi poster, but they show how easily Nazism could build upon these associations.

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