March 6th, 2017–
Founded in 1920, the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP or Nazis) took its roots from several nationalist right-wing political groups. Their ideology – outlined in the 25 Point Plan – relied heavily on German nationalism and anti-Semitism. By 1921, Adolf Hitler assumed leadership of the NSDAP, a position he eventually carried turned into his dictatorship of the Third Reich.
While the NSDAP was relatively weak at the end of the 1920s, receiving only 810,127 votes in the 1928 election and earning only 12 seats in the Reichstag, they quickly gained public support in the 1930s by using a message that focused on of prosperity for all Germans and ridding the nation of its internal enemies, primarily its Jewish population.
Throughout the campaign, the Nazis relied on a wide variety of slogans and campaign messages designed to simultaneously erode the public’s confidence in Germany’s current leadership while cementing the “cult of personality” they wished to create around Hitler. This is evident on posters from both the Presidential campaign and the Reichstag elections in of 1932. A few examples include:
- “One Man Against the Party Cadavers and Special Interests!”
- “Open the door to freedom! Put a strong man at the helm! Out of the swamp! Forward with the powers of renewal! Vote National Socialist!”
- “The Jews are our Misfortune!”
- “Germans! Give your answer to the System! Elect Hitler!”
Such tactics proved effective and in the 1930 election, the NSDAP received 6,379,672 votes, allowing them to hold 107 seats; and by November 1932, they picked up 11,737,021 votes and 196 seats in the Reichstag.
This poster from the 1932 Presidential election is indicative of the propaganda used by the Nazis. The caption reads “Only Hitler!” Minimalistic, stylized posters with commanding language were used to keep the NSDAP populist image in the mind of the German voters.