Friday, September 12, 2014

Dealing with Former Nazis in the Soviet Zone (1946)

Both parts of Germany had a problem after the war — what to do with former Nazis.  Dealing with the major figures was easy enough, but what about the millions who had been members of the party or its subsidiaries?  To punish all of them equally would have caused major problems.

East Germany was not yet a separate state and the Communists had not forced the Socialists to merge with them.  This material was issued early in 1946 by the Communist Party of Germany to provide its propagandists with information on how to deal with the situation.

Basically, the argument was to distinguish between activist and nominal members and supporters of the Nazi system.  Those millions who had been part of the Nazi organization but had committed no crimes were to be given an opportunity to prove that they had left Nazism behind.

This was one of a series of such pamphlets.   I include a list at the end of the page for those interested.  This is the only one I have a copy of.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Nazism and Cities

Lyric Hughes Hale has an interesting piece in the Huffington Post titled “The Global Politics of Cities” which uses the German Propaganda Archive to discuss the role of cities.  She notes that Mao Zedong and Hitler both saw cities as places of depravity. She uses an educational poster from the GPA showing the deleterious effects of a growing urban population.

She concludes:
“My bottom line: urbanization is a political process. Most of us are urbanites, and for most of us, urbanization has meant modernization and economic progress. But have we reached a new plateau, a place where we have reached the limits of the economic benefits of urban growth? How will the politics of cities evolve?”

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Books on Julius Streicher

To my surprise, it took along time to get a biography of Julius Streicher.  My dissertation on him was finished in 1975 and appeared in book form in 1983, with a second somewhat expanded edition in 2001.  It has sold well over the years and is the only English-language book on Streicher that remains in print.

Since I am a rhetorician, however,  I was interested more in the content of Streicher’s propaganda than in his biography, but since there was so little in English I did give two chapters of biographical material.  It was rather thin, and as a graduate student at the time I was only able to manage about a month in the German archives.  I missed some useful sources and other valuable sources surfaced after I completed the book.

Dennis E. Schowalter’s Little Man, What Now? Der Stürmer in der Weimar Republic is a fine book that appeared in 1982, but as the title suggests covers only the period before 1933.

There is also William P. Varga’s The Number One Nazi Jew-Baiter (New York: Carlton Press,  1981).  It was originally his 1974 dissertation at Ohio State.  Like my book, he did not have access to a variety of useful sources.

After that there was a long silence. Streicher was the most prominent Nazi leader who lacked a full biography.  There were books and articles that covered aspects of Streicher’s career, but the kinds of books one can find about Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler, and other Nazi leaders were missing.

That situation has now been remedied.  First came Franco Ruault, who completed an enormous dissertation at the University of Innsbruck in 2006.  It was published in two parts totaling over 950 pages:

“Neuschöpfer des deutschen Volkes”.  Julius Streicher im Kampf gegen “Rassenschande” (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2006)

and Tödliche Maskaraden. Julius Streicher und die “Lösung der Judenfrage” (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2009).

It’s hard to know what to say about Ruault’s project.  It’s not a biography, although it has biographical elements, and it’s not really a study of Der Stürmer and its propaganda, although it does cover some of that.  Ruault is interested in patriarchy and sexuality.  The prose is sometimes obtuse — although I have difficulties reading similar material in English so it just may be my denseness.  His books aren’t the place to start if you are interested in Streicher.

Then there is Ralph Keyser's Der Stürmer: Instrument de l'idéologie nazie, une analyse des caricatures d'intoxication (L’Harmattan, 2012).  This looks to be more a study of the Stürmer’s contents than a biography, but since I don’t read French I cannot say much about it.

I’ve just finished reading the book I’m surprised did not get written years ago: Daniel Roos’s Julius Streicher und “Der Stürmer” 1923-1945 (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2014).  

It’s based on his 2013 dissertation at the University of Würzburg. It is a fine piece of work. I learned a lot.  Roos had access to a much wider range of sources than I did back in the mid-1970s.  He does a good job of laying out Streicher’s biography and also of analyzing the anti-Semitic content of Der Stürmer.  It is well-written.

At over 500 pages, Roos’s book does suffer from the weakness of dissertation writers, which is to include everything one finds.  The book would have been better, perhaps, were it one hundred pages shorter.  Still, this is where to start if you are interested in Julius Streicher, assuming you read German.  Otherwise, you can always read mine.

Monday, August 18, 2014

German Propaganda Archive URL Changes

For technical reasons, Calvin College is moving the German Propaganda Archive pages on its server to a new URL.

Page requests for the old URLs will automatically be transferred to the new URL, but if you can easily update links you have to the site I’d appreciate your doing so.

All links to old pages are of the form: or

All the new URLs begin with this string:

The filename remains the same.

If you don’t do anything, the links will still work, but I’d like to get Google indexing the new URLs as soon as possible.

This does not apply to URLs that begin

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nazi Cartoon on the Jehovah’s Witnesses

  The Nazis didn’t like the Jehovah’s Witnesses for a variety of reasons.  In this 1935 cartoon from Die Brennessel, one Jew says to another: “At least we are still the ‘Chosen People’ for the ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’.”  Die Brennessel  was the weekly Nazi humor magazine, although it wasn’t all that funny.

Other material from Die Brennesssel is available on the GPA.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Goebbels Worries about Germans Who Don’t Want to Fight to the End

Today I add the penultimate of Joseph Goebbels’s weekly articles for Das Reich.  It was mid-April, and despite constant calls to fight to the end, Germans in the West were all too eager to surrender to the advancing British and American forces.  The worst came on 1 March 1945, when the citizens of Goebbels’s hometown of Rheydt easily accepted American troops.  This article is titled “Risking One’s Own Life.” Goebbels argues that only a few spineless Germans accept enemy occupation, while the good ones fight to the end.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Neues Deutschland after the Wende

Just after the fall of East Germany I wrote a paper about Neues Deutschland’s transition from the subservient organ of the East German state to a newspaper that was a trying to adjust to dramatically new conditions.  It was one of the few things I’ve written that I could not find a home for and it has been sitting in my files for twenty years.  It is by now decidedly dated, but for those interested in the period it may have some interest.

The essay is titled “Neues Deutschland after the Wende.