Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nazi Attacks on Catholicism (1935)

I've added material produced by the Nazi Party's propaganda office on "political Catholicism." This was the Nazi term for Catholics whose faith influenced their behavior beyond the strict limits of religious activity. The Nazis claimed that the Church was free to carry out its spiritual activities independent of state interference, but that politics, economics, and culture belonged exclusively to the Nazi state. During the mid-1930's, the Nazis waged a major campaign against the Church on several fronts, of which this material was a part.

Intended for the guidance of the party's speaker corps, it formed the basis of thousands of speeches delivered in every corner of Germany.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Nazis Justify Attacking the Soviet Union

Hitler justified his invasion of the Soviet Union by claiming that he had acted at the last minute to prevent a Soviet attack on Germany. Today I've added an article titled "The Meaning of the Battle," taken from Signal, an illustrated magazine published twice monthly in many languages for foreign consumption. The map below shows the alleged placement of Soviet troops preparing to attack Germany.

Friday, November 20, 2009

In praise of the Berlin Wall

A little late for the 20th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Wall, I'm adding parts of an East German pamphlet released shortly after the Wall was erected. It praises the Wall as a victory for peace and socialism, and a defeat for West German militarists. It has an interesting section in which a veteran of the forces that built the Wall looks back 100 years later, and takes pride in his achievements. Things didn't quite turn out that way.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Case of the Curious Translation of Mein Kampf

Ordinarily, I post items here that relate directly to the German Propaganda Archive. This is one of the occasional exceptions.

Two months back, I was reading the Wikipedia article on Mein Kampf. According to said article, the finest translation was that by one Michael Ford. That interested me. I know a lot about Mein Kampf, and I had never heard of it. I looked into it. Ford, as it turned out, had self-published the translation, then using the anonymity offered by Wikipedia, and in violation of its policies, had inserted the high praise. I removed those edits. When he discovered that a month or so later, he tried to re-insert his praise of his own book, but the violations of Wikipedia policies were so clear that others promptly reverted his edits as fast as he made them. He's given up on that, at least for the moment.

Then I want to amazon, where I found the book was selling well, in part due to a number of 5-star reviews that appeared suspiciously soon after the book’s publication last summer. He had also published a book that promoted his translation, claiming he had the only “correct” translation, one that remedied all sorts of previous errors. Mr. Ford is clearly a master of self-promotion. He is, by the way, a self-described entrepreneur whose other books include how to avoid being scammed on eBay and finding a job if you are a felon. Despite my requests, he has not provided any information on his background that would make one likely to trust his ability to translate Mein Kampf, which is a challenge even for experienced translators.

I posted a negative review, pointing out some typical howlers in translation that he had committed. If you are curious, look up my review on amazon. To date, Mr. Ford simply repeats that his version is the only “correct” one, and claims that it is the standard translation. For obvious reasons, he cannot provide the names of significant scholars in the field who agree with him.

In the meanwhile, Mr. Ford has won the support of a band of “historical revisionists” who are involved in web sites that try to appear as “objective” scholarly sites, though a quick read reveals their nature. I do not think Mr. Ford himself has such tendencies — but he is happy to accept the support of anyone who approves of his work, as best as I can tell.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hitler's Death

I recently got the 2 May 1945 issue of the Hamburger Zeitung, which reports Hitler's death. Now, the war was all but over, and other stories in the issue make that clear without even trying to suggest that victory is still possible. Under those circumstances, it is interesting to see how Hitler's death is handled.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Issues of Signal for Sale

I've added 19 issues of Signal to the list of items I have for sale. This was a lavishly illustrated magazine published in more than 25 languages, and intended for foreign consumption. These are German-language copies distributed in Switzerland, and are fascinating examples of Nazi propaganda for international audiences. THESE HAVE BEEN SOLD.

The cover below, from a January 1942 issue, shows captured Russian soldiers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Nazi House

Nazism had opinions on everything, as it claimed to be a worldview that applied to everything. Today, I add a 1937 piece on how a German house should look. It goes along with an older GPA piece on Nazi interior decoration. The picture below is one view of said house.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

German Propaganda Book Shop

I buy a lot of material for my research, often collecting duplicates of various items. I offer them for sale. Currently, I have 31 issues of Unser Wille und Weg, the monthly for propagandists, and a range of other items. Take a look if you are interested in original material from the period.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nazi Economic Propaganda (May 1932)

Of late, I've been interested in Nazi propaganda material from 1932. Today, I am adding a May 1932 pamphlet titled the Economic Emergency Program of the NSDAP. Largely based on Gregor Strasser's work, it outlines in broad terms what Nazism proposed to do to rescue Germany from the Great Depression. Although it doesn't provide much detail on how the proposals will be implemented, many of the proposals would have sounded good to Germans at the time. It proposes a huge program of job creation, land reclamation, help for farmers, import reductions, taxing the rich, helping the middle class, nationalizing the banking system, reducing interest rates, and building large numbers of private homes, among other things.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Nazi Economic Propaganda: 1938-1940

The latest addition to the German Propaganda Archive is a variety of charts from Die wirtschaftspolitische Parole, the official Nazi bimonthly on economic matters. It covered a wide range of topics.

Two images are below. The first is part of the Nazi anti-smoking campaign, claiming that the equivalent of two million Volkswagens have gone up in smoke, or that for the amount spent on tobacco, enough gas could have been purchased to drive 50 billion kilometers. The second image asserts that Jews are being driven out of the German economy, to the benefit of everyone else.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Interview Sunday, July 26, on KGO San Francisco

I'll be a guest on John Rothmann's program on KGO, San Francisco, at 5 a.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, July 26. The primary topic will be my book on Julius Streicher. If you're interested, the show will be available for download for a week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A New Cover from the NS Frauen-Warte

The NS Frauen-Warte was the Nazi Party's magazine for women. It often had rather vivid covers. I've added an August 1941 cover from a copy I just received to the page on the magazine, an example of Nazi military art.

Reorganizing Nazi Party Propaganda in 1933

When Hitler took power on 30 January 1933, the party suddenly faced a dramatically different role. Before, it had attacked the government. Now, it had to support everything Hitler did. The propaganda system was particularly affected. I've added a May 1933 article by Hugo Fischer, published in Unser Wille und Weg, the propaganda monthly, that discusses how to adjust propaganda to fit the new situation.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A 1942 Pamphlet on Nazi Ideology

As I've mentioned before, I look for ephemeral propaganda items that often had broad circulation but a short life. Today, I'm adding a 1942 pamphlet by Walter Tießler, in whom I've had an interest recently (I added a different article by him yesterday). Titled Not Empty Phrases, but Rather Clarity, it lays out the fundamentals of Nazi ideology. It was intended to have a relatively long period of usefulness, so there are few references to events that could quickly make it outdated.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Winter 1937/38 Nazi Propaganda Campaign

I've added an article on the Nazi propaganda campaign for the winter of 1937/38. The Reichspropagandaleitung was the party's central office for propaganda, and organized such campaigns. The article was published in Der Hoheitsträger, a monthly that went to party leaders at every level.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Nazi Reading Textbook

I've added sections and illustrations from a pre-1939 elementary school reader. The illustrations show activities of Nazi youth organizations. Such material indoctrinated children during their first years of school, persuading them to eagerly become members of the Hitler Youth when they got bigger.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Facts and Lies about Hitler (1932)

Lately I've been working on increasing GPA material from the Kampfzeit, the Nazi term for the period before 1933 when the party was fighting for power. My latest addition is a late March or early April 1932 pamphlet titled Facts and Lies about Hitler.  Released shortly before the second round of the Reich Presidential election on 10 April 1932, it presents Hitler as a self-made man who has been slandered  by his opponents, and who is the only person capable of saving Germany.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Nazi Eugenics Posters

Volk und Rasse was a monthly magazine focusing on the "positive" side of Nazi racial theory, strengthening German racial stock. I've added illustrations from an August 1936 issue of displays from Nazi racial exhibitions, many of which were held throughout the country during the 1930's. Those with genetic illnesses are presented in the worst possible light. The first image shows the blessings of sterilization ("Who would want to be responsible for this?"). The second claims that, on average, a genetically ill person costs the state 50,000 Marks over sixty years. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Propaganda from the 1936 Reichstag Election

 I've added a small flyer issued during the March 1936 Reichstag election campaign, during which the Nazis made substantial propaganda efforts even though there was no opposition. It summarizes the economic achievements of the first  three years of Nazis rule. 

The first picture is of the front cover the second of an interior page showing the increase in employment after three years of Nazi rule.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The $400,000,000 Lawsuit

In 1935, Paul von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, a prominent Jewish banker, died in Berlin. He was also an art collector, and his art wandered off in unclear ways after his death. In Fall 2008, I got a call from the lead attorney for a group of his descendants who were claiming ownership of two of the Picassos, which are now in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York. They asked for either $400,000,000 or custody of the paintings.

The case was interesting. Case law is clear in cases where Jewish art was seized by the Nazis. In this instance, however, Mendelsson-Bartholdy had turned the art over to a somewhat suspect art dealer before his death, after which the pieces migrated to Switzerland, and eventually to the United States. The museums contended either that he had given the artwork to his wife as a wedding present before 1933, or that he had been under no untoward pressure to sell, and that therefore the heirs had no claim.

The lead attorney discovered several items relating to the family on the GPA, and asked if I could provide copies of them, and perhaps others as well. That turned out to provide several interesting months of research at my end as I provided dozens of relevant items.

I was scheduled to testify at the trial before a federal court in New York early in February, but as often happens, the case settled on the day the trial was to begin. The details of the agreement are sealed, though one can reasonably assume that if one asks for $400,000,000, one does not settle for $500,000.

The settlement got considerable publicity. A later NYT article reported that the judge was unhappy with the secrecy of the settlement, noting that the issue was of larger public interest.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A 1954 East German Propaganda Flyer

The actual peace treating ending World War II was not signed until after the collapse of the GDR. That provided all sorts of occasions for East-West friction during the Cold War. I've added a translation of an 8-page pamphlet from 1954 in which the GDR argues that unlike the Treaties of Bonn and Paris that further integrated West Germany into the Western alliance, a Soviet proposal for a peace treaty would benefit all Germans. It provides a good summary of the GDR's arguments at this point in the Cold War.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bring Down the System! (1932)

Lately I've been looking for pre-1933 Nazi propaganda material. Today, I'm adding a pamphlet prepared for the July 1932 Reichstag election titled Bring Down the System! It is an illustrated summary of the Nazi arguments against the Weimar government.

Monday, April 27, 2009

New Hitler Youth Training Material

I've added two particularly striking covers of Hitler Youth training material. One is from, I think, 1934, and has a quotation from E. M. Arndt: "To be a people is the religion of our age." The other is from 1939, after the annexation of Austria. The title is: "80 million Germans live on 580,000 square kilometers." The point is that Germany is overcrowded, and needs more territory.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why Hindenburg? (1932)

Today I've added a 1932 pamphlet titled Why Hindenburg? Hitler was challenging Hindenburg for the office of Reich President. This is one of a series of appeals from the period targeted at particular audiences. The pamphlet had a delicate task. The Nazis respected Hindenburg, as did most of the German public, so it was impossible to attack him directly. Instead, this pamphlet argued that those supporting Hindenburg from the Social Democratic, Center, and Democratic Parties were hypocrites, since they had vehemently opposed him in the previous election, held in 1925. Hindenburg, it argues, is a noble old man being exploited by those who will do anything to stop the Nazis.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Fake Nazi Quotation

I've added another falsified quotation by Adolf Hitler to the False Nazi Quotations page. This one runs: "Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death." It's cited on more than 12,000 Internet pages at the moment -- but not once in a book, and none of the pages that cites it gives a source. It seems mostly to be used by conspiracy theorists, and provides a good example of their gullibility. They tend to believe anything that supports their point of view, frequently not troubling to check the reliability of the information.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wall Newspaper Posters from 1941 and 1942

The Parole der Woche was a weekly current events poster issued by the Nazi Party between 1936 and 1943, when it was discontinued due to paper shortages caused by the war. It was a commentary on current events, and reflected the central propaganda message of the week. They were accompanied by a playing card sized condensed version that was often pasted to the backs of official correspondence.

I have added two of them from my collection. The first, from fall 1941, boasts of German submarine successes. The second was issued in spring of 1942, and accuses England of being a Soviet puppet.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Peculiar Uses of the German Propaganda Archive (II)

This is the second in a series of occasional commentaries on unusual purposes to which the GPA is put. Just today, I came across the interesting image at the bottom of this post. I'm almost sure the original image was taken from my site. Although one might find reasonable arguments to make against President Obama and his policies, he's probably not a likely second coming of Adolf Hitler. These kinds of arguments stop the conversation, since what possible reply is there to the charge: "You're just like Hitler?"

The Hitler comparison was commonly made with George Bush, but Obama is now "ahead" in the Hitler comparison race. As of today, a Google search for "Bush and Hitler" gets about 1,200,000 hits, whereas "Obama and Hitler" gets just over 8,000,000.

My advice is to stop reading any comparison of Hitler to someone else, unless that someone else really is a Nazi.

Friday, February 13, 2009

State of Deception Exhibition

I usually don't recommend books on this blog, other than my own, but I strongly suggest buying State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda. It has 194 pages, including many unfamiliar illustrations (two of which I provided).

The book accompanies an exhibition on Nazi propaganda running at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eight More Weekly Quotation Posters

I've added eight more of the weekly quotation posters issued between 1937 and 1944. Each had an inspiring quotation, usually from a Nazi leader. They were posted throughout Germany in public places.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Nazi Pamphlet from Early in 1932

I'm particularly interested in ephemeral propaganda — posters, leaflets, and pamphlets with a large circulation, but a short life. Today I've added a pamphlet titled The Sensationalist Newspapers Lie! This was issued in large numbers early in 1932, before the March and April presidential elections, and is aimed at members of the Social Democratic Party. It gives a clear idea of the kinds of arguments the Nazis were tailoring to a specific audience.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Nazi Postcards Series: "Women Working for You"

Soldiers appreciate pictures of women, and Nazi propaganda supplied soldiers with what they wanted. I've added a page with seven postcards from 1943 on the theme Women working for you. They showed attractive women at work in what formerly had been mostly male occupations.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A 1924 Nazi Poster

I came across an early Nazi poster from Westphalia, dated 1924. Hitler was in jail, and the party was illegal, so a group called the National Socialist Freedom Movement carried on some of the party's business. It is on the page of pre-1933 Nazi posters.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The January 1933 Lippe Election

The Nazis reached their electoral high point in the July 1932 Reichstag elections. Although they had the largest faction, the Reichstag was unable to do anything, and new elections were called for November 1932. The Nazis lost ground, although they remained the largest party. To many, both within and outside the party, it looked as if the Nazis were declining. An opportunity to prove the contrary came with the parliamentary election in Lippe, a tiny German state with about 100,000 inhabitants. The Nazis put everything they had into the campaign, which turned out well from their point of view, and restored a sense of momentum. I've added a chapter from a book on Gau Westfalen-Nord, published in 1939, which looks back on the Lippe campaign as a great victory.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Nazi Racial Instruction Plans for Teachers

I've added sections from a 1937 Nazi book titled Erblehre und Rassenkunde für die Grund- und Hauptschule. It provided information for teachers on how to present Nazi racial theory to 4th through 8th graders. This was published before the German-Japanese alliance, so the Japanese are still seen as a threat to the European races.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

An Episode of "Tran und Helle"

Tran und Helle was a series of 2-3 minute skits, shown as part of the newsreel before the feature during World War II in Germany. Tran, played by Ludwig Schmitz, was the conniver, always trying to hoard goods, shop on the black market, etc. Helle, played by Jupp Hussels, was the voice of good behavior. I've added a summary of a skit titled "Prisoner of War." The illustration is the cover of the pamphlet from which I take the skit.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Nazi Mother's Day Card (1944)

The last Mother's Day of the Nazi period was celebrated, if that is the right word, in 1944. Millions of women had lost husbands and sons on the battlefield, or children to Allied bombs. I've added a 1944 Mother's Day card, prepared by the party's Main Culture Office, which attempted to give some consolation to grieving women, assuring them that their loved ones were still somehow alive, that their sacrifice had been worthwhile.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

1943 Nazi Speaker Guidelines on U-boats

In February and March of 1943, there was not a lot of good news for the Nazis. Stalingrad had fallen in early February. The one bright spot was submarine warfare, where German U-boats were still sinking Allied ships in large numbers. I've translated instructions to Nazi speakers on what to say in their speeches about U-boat warfare. This was significant material, since it formed the basis for thousands of speeches delivered by Nazi orators throughout Germany.