Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Battle of Bougainville: A Second Pearl Harbor (December 1943)

German press reports about the war in Europe were influenced by the requirements of propaganda, but generally had a reasonable relationship to reality.  The Pacific was a different matter.  There the Germans had to depend on Japanese accounts — and those were often wildly exaggerated.

The December 1943 article I’m posting today claims enormous, and almost entirely false, American losses in the Battle for Bougainville.  Since the military news in Europe was grim from the German perspective, it was surely encouraging to believe that, at least in the Pacific, the Axis was enjoying one victory after another.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Nazi Uses of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”

Holocaust and Genocide Studies just published my article “Believing in ‘Inner Truth’: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Nazi Propaganda, 1933-1945.” Here’s the abstract:
Although most leading Nazis realized that The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a spurious document, they found it useful in promoting belief in the international Jewish conspiracy of which they were already convinced. Authorship and other details were irrelevant, they averred, if the book expressed “inner truth.”
The GPA includes the introduction to a Nazi edition of the Protocols.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Allied World War II Leaflets

The German Propaganda Archive focuses on material from the German side, but now and again I come across interesting related material worth noting.  The George C. Marshall Foundation has just put up a collection of Allied leaflets from World War II.

An Example

The site has images and translations.  Definitely worth a look.

Monday, June 22, 2015

World War II German Radio Warning

When World War II began, Germany immediately banned listening to foreign broadcasts. This was difficult to enforce, although there were a fair number of cases in which people turned in neighbors whose radios they overheard were tuned to enemy stations.  Another way of dealing with the situation was to insist that  radio receivers have a tag on a knob warning people against listing to the wrong stations.

Nazi block wardens, the lowest echelon of the party’s apparatus, were expected to check on the presence of the tag when visiting.  This was not popular.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

More Material from Gau Sachsen

Two days back I posted an item from Gau Sachsen.  I decided to add the rest of the material I gathered from a recent visit to the German National Library in Leipzig.

It consists of seven issues of a newsletter to propagandists and one issue of advice for propagandists holding evening discussion meetings with party members. The party members were expected to use the material in their conversations with friends and work mates.  A particularly interesting aspect to the material is its reliance on enemy newspapers and magazines.  By the end of the war Germans had decreasing confident in their own media, which steadily predicted final victory even as German forces steadily retreated.  Unused to material in their press that did not support the party line, such material was persuasive (and often taken out of context).

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Advice to Nazi Propagandists: January 1945

The Nazi propaganda apparatus functioned almost to the end.  Today I’m adding advice to propagandists in Gau Sachsen at the end of January 1945. A major Russian offensive had begun two weeks earlier.  The Battle of the Bulge was no longer a bulge.

The material does its best to find reason for hope, giving propagandists the outlines of arguments to use in talking with their fellow citizens, but any half-aware propagandist knew by then that things were grim.

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Hitler Youth Quotation Posters

I have a large section on the Wochenspruch der NSDAP, a weekly series of quotations with inspiring quotations issued between 1937 and 1944.

However, other branches of the party issued quotation posters as well.  Today I added numerous Hitler Youth quotation posters, the result of a recent visit to the German National Library in Leipzig which has about 30 of them from 1940.  They are not as graphically interesting as those issued by the Reichspropagandaleitung. Here is an example:

This one has a quotation from Dr. Walter Gross, a leading Nazi racial theorist, encouraging girls to become mothers.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Goebbels and Truth

For some years a colleague and I have been working to discourage the use of a dubious quotation by Joseph Goebbels:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
No one ever provides a source for the quotation.  Our point is not that Goebbels always told the truth, but rather that an effective propagandist is unlikely to say in public that he lies. Goebbels prefered to tell the truth, or at least part of it, whenever possible, since clear lies reduce the effectiveness of propaganda.  

I recently came across an interesting 1940 Nazi poster announcing Goebbels’s love of truth:

The truth is always stronger than the lie

In 1940 it was easy for Goebbels to tell most of the truth most of the time, since Nazi forces were winning on every front.  In 1945, to the contrary, he had a problem  Although he told some bald-faced lies then, he more often resorted to vague claims that Germany would somehow still win the war because of its insurmountable will.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Nazi Caricatures on Domestic Themes

The newest page provides examples of Nazi caricatures on domestic  themes. Since it was not possible to criticize much about life in the Third Reich, cartoonists naturally focused on enemies beyond Germany’s borders.

A 1943 cartoon claiming that German morale is so strong that the collapse of 1918 will not be repeated.

Cartoons that addressed domestic themes had to reinforce the war effort or go after those the Nazis didn’t like. Complainers and gossipers were standard targets.

Just after Stalingrad, Germans were told that personal comfort was far less important than tanks.

There was never, of course, any criticism of Nazi leaders or policies.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Nazi Caricatures on Stalin and the USSR

I’m adding pages of Nazi caricatures on the USSR and Joseph Stalin.  With the exception of the period between August 1939 and June 1941, the Soviet Union was always a target of Nazi propaganda. The Soviets, in fact, were much worse than the French, British, and Americans, as they were under the rule of an evil competing ideology.

1942: Soviet Offensives Fail

1944: Soviets as Monsters

The perspective changed over time. In the 1930’s, Nazism presented the Soviet Union as a land of mass butchery (for which there was more than adequate evidence).  Once the war began, the Soviets were a threat not only to their own citizenry, but to the entire world.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Julius Streicher Meeting Posters

I’m adding a collection of eight posters advertising meetings addressed by Julius Streicher between 1922 and 1933.  After joining Hitler’s Nazi Party in 1922, Streicher began speaking extensively outside his home city of Nuremberg.

This poster promotes an August 1923 meeting in Vienna.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Nazi Caricatures on U-boats

As part of my current project on caricatures, I am adding a page of Nazi cartoons on submarines.

Churchill and FDR shoveling ships

Sunken ships discuss how they sank

Such cartoons were particularly popular in 1942 and 1943.  After about May 1943 the British and Americans developed increasingly successful measures against German submarines and the theme almost vanished.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nazi Caricatures on France

I’ll be adding pages on Nazi caricatures on various themes over the next few weeks.  Today I add a page of cartoons about France between 1933 and 1940.  Two examples:

France and Disarmament (1933)

France in Bed with a Black Soldier (1940)

Prior to the war, the basic Nazi theme was that France was building up its armaments, intended for use against Germany.  Once the war began in 1939, a standard theme was that France was claiming to defend European civilization, but was depending on savage Black colonial troops to do so.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Photographs of Julius Streicher

One of the benefits of my web site is that people searching for information on items in their possession sometimes contact me.  Recently, a person whose father had collected some photographs of Julius Streicher in at his country estate in 1945 passed them along. Here’s an example:

I’ve added the pictures to the page on Julius Streicher.  If you think you can identify any of the people in the pictures, drop me an e-mail.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Nazi Caricatures of FDR

Over the next month I will be adding many caricatures taken from Nazi satirical periodicals: Brennessel, Kladderadatsch, Fliegende Blätter, and Lustige Blätter.  Some are taken from my own collection, others from the excellent on-line collections of the University of Heidelberg.

Today I’m adding a page on Franklin D. Roosevelt: A few examples:

A cartoon showing FDR’s Jewish reflection

FDR on the electric chair

They provide interesting examples of Nazi propaganda, and also show how it responded to changing conditions.

Growing On-Line Resources on Nazi Propaganda

Increasing numbers of German sources are available on-line. I try to keep my page on such items up-to-date, but it’s a challenge.  Particularly valuable are the long runs of newspapers that are appearing.

Winston Churchill in Nazi Propaganda

Back in 2009 my article on Winston Churchill in Nazi caricatures appeared in Finest Hour, the monthly publication of the Churchill Centre.  It is now available on-line.

Many caricatures are available on the GPA page on Winston Churchill.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Austrian Fans of Traditional Costumes Welcome Hitler

The Nazis moved quickly to incorporate Austria into the Reich.  Less than a month after the Nazi takeover, the Austrian monthly for those interested in traditional costumes welcomed the new order, noting that Hitler was a great supporter of traditional costumes.

The original article is available on ANNO, an Austrian project to digitize newspapers.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gauleiter Hugo Jury Article (November 1944)

The extraordinarily valuable Austrian project (ANNO) to digitize complete runs of newspapers recently added issues from 1944 to the website.  Each year in January they add newspapers for which the 70-year copyright period has expired.

As part of my effort to provide material by the various Nazi Gauleiter, I am thus able to add a 22 November 1944 article by Hugo Jury.

In it, he attempts to persuade the people in his region that victory remains certain, however many setbacks Germany may have suffered.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Julius Streicher and Vaccinations

Given all the recent controversy involving those who doubt the wisdom of vaccinations, I recalled this cartoon I came across from a 1932 issue of Der Stürmer.  It shows a Jewish doctor immunizing a child.  The caption translates as:  “It seems to me that poison and Jews seldom do good things.”


Now, most Nazis realized that vaccinating children was a good idea — but Streicher was a dangerous crackpot in more ways than one.