Friday, October 03, 2014

Weimar Era Propaganda Posters

Ever seen some of the Weimar era political propaganda posters? They are interesting. Really gets to the heart of the communist-Nazi rivalry. Good stuff for reaching your man on the street. These groups vied for influence and power in the period of the German revolution at the end of the Great War, and continued on for years until the Nazis received better funding, broader support and the Stalinists and their "Socialism in One Country" idea won out in Russia. Far more violent imagery here than anything we see today, but the street battles were actual street fights then, not faux fights between camps fighting over Imperial treasury spoils.

Commies Killing the Nazi Snake

A menacing image to promote the speaker

Nazis will choke the Commie snake
Interesting that opponents both used the snake imagery for one another.


PA said...

Arthur Koestler's work gives a good look at the Weimar period, and the communist/Nazi rivalry. His autobiography "Arrow in the Blue" starts out with his childhood memory of Bela Kun's coup in Hungary, and then his young adulthood in Weimar-era press as science editor. He was a Hungarian Jew originally enamored of communism but eventually he turned against it. His seminal anti-communist fiction work is "Darkness at Noon".

German novelist Erich Maria Remarque's novels that are set in the Weimar era (he's best known for "All Quiet on the Western Front") also give a good look at the period. From my recollection, he was anti-Nazi but unlike Koestler, not a big fan of the Weimar era either.

I also read a number of novels by Gunther Grass (best known for the Tin Drum) but I was rather put off by them. Maybe it was his passive-aggressive nihilism.

nikcrit said...

What might you reccomend to bone up on the cultural mood and political machinations of 20s and 30s Germany?

I know the high-university canon gloss on that period but no real detail or edge to that perspective; suggestions?

(Would prefer pithy and economical to epic here; this X-er's too old to care or worry too much academic objectivity and exhausitiveness)

PA said...

What might you reccomend to bone up on the cultural mood and political machinations of 20s and 30s Germany

Koestler's vol. 1 autobiography Arrow in the Blue and some of Remarque's novels that were set in that period. I read all of them twenty years ago but you may have to check with Wikipedia for the ones that were set in Weimar Germany, as I don't remember too much about them.

It would be interested in SOBL's other recommendations, especially of writers who were repelled by Weimar similar to how we are by our era.

nikcrit said...


it's funny in that i didn't see your comment before mine posted; you basically answer my specific question without being asked or prompted.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Eric Witz's Weimar Germany is a great review of that era. Most of my reading on weimar was made up of old academic journals. Old college class plus too much time at my metro libraries main branch. Im the only guy looking at microfilm there.

PA said...

The third poster shows the snake representing Marxism and high finance. Just like today.

Toddy Cat said...

As for the Nazis and Communists depicting each other as snakes - they were both right.

peterike said...

This article is a good piece on this whole area of WWI etc.