Nazi Propaganda Posters: Controlling Minds Through Lines And Color

In order to control a population, you must first control the population’s minds. Adolf Hitler knew this well — and knew that propaganda was a politically expedient instrument to impose anti-Semitism onto the German populace. As he wrote in Mein Kampf, “Propaganda works on the general public from the standpoint of an idea and makes them ripe for the victory of this idea.”

During their reign of terror, Nazis utilized highly artistic — sometimes even beautiful — posters to promote ideas of hatred and fear of the Other, and allow them to “ripen” in the minds of young army recruits and civilians. While old in a physical sense, these Nazi propaganda posters remind us that the most insidious movements often cloak their ugliness in beauty:

Prev Next 1 of 22
Nazi Propaganda Posters

Bundesarchiv Koblenz/The United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumThis Nazi propaganda poster comes from Adolf Hitler's campaign to become Germany's supreme leader. The text reads, "We will take the fate of the nation into our hands! Hitler will be Reich President!"

Build Hostels Homes

Imperial War MuseumsIn this Nazi fundraising poster, a member of the Hitler youth asks for money to build youth hostels and homes.

Degenerate Music

Wikimedia Commons The Nazis deemed swing and jazz "degenerate music" and tried to suppress them — although Germany did have one Nazi-approved, state-sponsored jazz band known as Charlie and His Orchestra.

Behind The Enemy Powers

US Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of Helmut EschwegeThis Nazi propaganda poster reads, "Behind the enemy powers: The Jews."

Europe Is Moving Forward

SS Relics Here, Germany and its allies move against communism. The text reads, "Europe Is Moving Forward."

For Honor And Conscience

CrestockThis poster hopes to recruit men from the Nazi-occupied Netherlands to the Nazi army. The passionate message at the bottom reads, "For your honour and conscience! Against the Bolshevism - the Waffen-SS calls you!"

German Imperial Railroad

The United States Holocaust Memorial MuseumA German family salutes the German Imperial Railroad.

German Students Fight

Kunstbibliothek/The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Here, a patriotic member of the Hitler Youth poses with the flag of the Nazi party. The text reads, "German students fight for the Fuhrer and the people."

German Victory European Freedom

Wikimedia Commons A German soldier smites a red dragon — the Soviet Union — with two bolts of lightening.

Jews Are Lice

Institute of National Remembrance, Poland/Wikimedia CommonsThis poster, which reads "Jews are lice," was plastered across Poland, spreading fear that Jewish people carried typhus.

League German Girls In The Hitler Youth

The New Think TankThis poster encouraged young women to join the League of German Girls in the Hitler Youth.

Mother And Child

Crestock A blonde German woman nurses her child against the backdrop of an idyllic farm. This poster was probably meant to promote the notion of the superiority of the Aryan race.

One Leader

The New Think Tank A authoritative Adolf Hitler poses here, above text that reads "One Nation, One Empire, One Leader."

Sports Day League Of German Girls

The Wolfsonian–Florida International UniversityThis surprisingly beautiful poster advertises "Sports Day of the League of German Girls."

Storm Ss

SS Relics In this cartoon, Winston Churchill hugs a clawed Stalin in fear as a copy of the a Nazi newspaper blows in through an open window. President Roosevelt looks on from a picture hanging on the wall.

The Enemy Sees Your Light

The New Think TankThis poster warns against using electricity at night, when British planes dropped bombs on Germany.

The Nazi Party Secures The National Community

Wikimedia Commons A German family is protected by the wings of an eagle, one of the symbols of the Nazi party. The text reads: "The NSDAP protects the people. Your fellow comrades need your advice and help, so join the local party organization."

Waffen Ss

SS Relics This propaganda poster attempts to recruit young men to join the Waffen-SS, the armed wing of Nazi Germany's Schutzstaffel, or protective squadron. The text below says that any man over 17 can join.

Women Rescue German Families

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum This poster tells German women to protect their families by voting for Hitler.

The Eternal Jew

The World Holocaust Remembrance Center/Yad Vashem Photo Archive This is a poster for a film called the The Eternal Jew. The film was marketed as a documentary and depicted the Jewish people as manipulative and uncivilized.

The People Vote Nazi

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C./The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum This poster depicts the Nazi triumph in the 1932 elections. The text reads, "The People Vote Slate 1—National Socialists."

Like this gallery? Share it!

Continue Reading

Close Pop-in
Like All That Is Interesting

Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook & Twitter Feeds