Hitler's propaganda

Hitler's propaganda

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  • Adolf Hitler and S.A. at the Brown House in Munich.


  • Adolf Hitler greeted by Hitler Youth at the Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg.


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Title: Adolf Hitler and S.A. at the Brown House in Munich.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1932

Date shown: 1932

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage place: Roger-Viollet collection website

Contact copyright: © Collection Roger-Violletwebsite

Adolf Hitler and S.A. at the Brown House in Munich.

© Roger-Viollet Collection

To close

Title: Adolf Hitler greeted by Hitler Youth at the Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg.

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1938

Date shown: 1938

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Storage place: Eyedea - Keystone website

Contact copyright: © Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

Picture reference: 9.769 / 9

Adolf Hitler greeted by Hitler Youth at the Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg.

© Keystone / Eyedea - "reproduction and exploitation prohibited without prior written agreement from the agency"

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

Hitler's rise to power in Germany

In the 1920s in Germany, the refusal of the conditions imposed by the victors during the Treaty of Versailles, the financial crisis and the links between the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) and the economic circles aroused the discontent of the population and favored the rise of the opposition, in particular of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) led by Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), son of an Austrian customs officer and soldier during the Great War. The following period was devoted on the one hand to the strengthening of the personal power of Hitler, who took the double title of Chancellor and President of the Reich on the death of Hindenburg on August 2, 1934, to the consolidation of the new regime through the elimination of opponents, the prohibition of other political parties and the establishment of a centralized state, and, on the other hand, the resumption from 1936 of a militarization of the country and an aggressive foreign policy.

Image Analysis

The recruiting of the masses

Aware of the need to extend the foundations of the Nazi Party within the population, Hitler did not hesitate, from the years preceding his accession to power, to implement a propaganda policy intended to recruit the masses and to their inculcate Nazi ideology. Using the media for this purpose, he made image, and in particular photography, a means of expression accessible to all, a weapon of formidable effectiveness. If the photographs were until then responsible for recording a trace of events most often for political purposes, they were transformed with Hitler into veritable monuments to the glory of a man and an era, giving an almost mystical image of leader and testifying to the spectacular and grandiose nature of the rallies organized by the Nazi Party. A photograph of Heinrich Hoffmann (1885-1957), personal friend and official iconographer of Hitler, thus shows the latter surrounded by some forty young SA from all over Germany at the Brown House in Munich, in 1932. The activists are gathered in a compact mass that tumbles towards Hitler, seated in the background, hands resting on a table littered with the remains of a snack. Their beaming faces and shining eyes fixed on the Führer forcefully express the fascination they feel towards him. The low-angle effect and the isolation of the chef in the foreground, separated from the S.A. by the table, accentuate the mystical character of this meeting. Moreover, the caption that accompanies this image - "How their eyes shine, when the Führer is very close to them!" »- is revealing of the fundamental role which is devolved to photography: it must be able in turn to communicate to the masses the excitement which animates these young SA This characteristic is found in a second photograph which represents Hitler greeted by organizations Hitler girls at a Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg in November 1938. Rows of enthusiastic boys and girls, huddled together, stretch out their right arms towards the Führer like one man. Here again, the spectacular nature of the event is reinforced by the angle of view: all eyes are on the chef standing in the foreground in a Mercedes surrounded by an escort. The downward movement of the image thus corresponds to the ascendancy of the Führer over the crowds, and in particular over the youth whose patriotic feelings he exploited. Taken on different dates, these two photographs are thus of great interest in appreciating the charisma and magnetism which emanated from the person of Hitler on the occasion of private meetings as well as large gatherings. Each of his movements, each word of his speech, each mimicry of his face, were intended to arouse a sort of trance in individuals during his triumphant public appearances, which were accompanied by a "demonstration" of his person in front of the crowd. crowds. Galvanized by the sight and the words of the leader, these acquired a sense of power and were overcome by a sort of collective intoxication.


The construction of a totalitarian state

Hitler's rise to power was accompanied by the establishment of a totalitarian apparatus and, in particular, by the strengthening of mass propaganda in which photography played a prominent role. This is evidenced by the creation, on March 14, 1933, of a Ministry of Information and Propaganda, placed under the responsibility of Goebbels, the inauguration by the latter of the Berlin photographic fair, "Die Kamera", on the 4 November 1933, and the appointment of a small number of official photographers responsible for giving an aura of eternity to the features of the Führer as well as to national events. From 1933, photography thus became an integral part of information, just like the press, radio or film news. Its impact was all the greater as it had gained considerable visibility since the emergence of photojournalism in the 1920s and the inflation of images in newspapers. Like the control of artistic life, the development of a repressive police apparatus or state centralization, the exploitation of the mass media consequently enabled the Nazi leaders to build a totalitarian state in which all efforts were made. accomplished in order to establish the cult of the chief and forge a new man.

  • Hitler (Adolf)
  • Germany
  • childhood
  • fascism
  • Nazism
  • photography
  • propaganda
  • Nuremberg
  • Weimar Republic
  • personality cult


"Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1945" Paris, in The story , 1991.Igor GOLOMSTOCK, Totalitarian Art. Soviet Union - Third Reich - Fascist Italy - China, Paris, Ed. Carré, 1991. Adelin GUYOT and Patrick RESTELLINI, Nazi art: an art of propaganda, Brussels, Complex, 1996.Ian KERSHAW, Hitler, essay on charisma in politics, reprint Paris, Gallimard, coll. "History Folio", 2001. Eric MICHAUD, An art of eternity, the image and time of National Socialism, Paris, Gallimard, 1996. Pierre MILZA, Fascisms, Paris, Seuil, coll. "Points Histoire", 1991.Pierre MILZA and Serge BERSTEIN, Historical Dictionary of Fascisms and Nazism, Brussels, Complex, 1992.

To cite this article

Charlotte DENOËL, "Hitler's propaganda"


Video: The Power of Nazi Propaganda


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