The NSDAP had already demonstrated the unusual effectiveness of its propaganda in the election campaigns of the late 1920s and early 1930s. The man pulling the strings was Joseph Goebbels, then “Reich Propaganda Leader.” Like none other, he used the power of emotion to arouse people’s fears and worries and to portray Hitler as the savior of the German people. This propaganda poster for the Reichstag election of March 5, 1933, shows how Goebbels manged to present rabble-rousing as rational argumentation, slander as pure truth, and promises as effective solutions. The poster represents a particularly imaginative take on “the stab-in-the-back legend” [Dolchstoßlegende], which is portrayed here as “historical truth.” It begins with the words, “The SPD demands historical truth. Well then they should have it: the historical truth is that the revolt of 1918, [which is] called the German revolution, was carried out at the behest of France….” According to the poster, the SPD staged the 1918 revolution with the help of French funds, was responsible for the the German defeat in the First World War, and profited from the suffering of the people. As the poster explains, Germans weren’t going to allow themselves to be abused any longer: “On March 5, the German people will elect the man who has expended enormous energy to create the conditions that will allow the traitors to be thrown from the saddle. It will elect the man who will expend the same energy in a slow but sure battle to secure a better existence for the individual and the people as a whole. It will elect Adolf Hitler.”

Reichstag Election of March 5, 1933: National Socialist Poster with the Caption: “The SPD Demands Historical Truth” (1933)

  • Heinrich Hoffmann (1885-1957)


Source: National Socialist election poster with the caption “The SPD demands historical truth ...”
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