Adolf Hitler

Propaganda, Cartoons and Photographs

This source collection gives a broad impression of different sources that can be found about Adolf Hitler. Of course, a large part of the sources about Hitler are represented by Nazi propaganda or cartoons. However, the portrayal of Hitler is more varied than just these two sides. In this source collection, the admiration and personal cult around his person is represented first. He is mostly depicted as a wise man that has authority. These sources also show that the Nazi ideology had to reach all people in society and thus explains the totalitarian part of the regime. Some were obviously meant as propaganda, while others are objects that you would use in your daily life, like a cup or a stamp. Furthermore, cartoons and artworks, sometimes created by the resistance, are represented as well. Here, his moustache is sometimes already enough to make clear to the audience that it is meant as Hitler. Finally, photographs that show Hitler in an apparently neutral setting can also be used as propaganda or at least contain a message.

Acknowledgements: This source collection has been developed by Laura Steenbrink with the support of Jaco Stoop. The source collection makes use of sources provided by the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, Museon, National Library of Denmark, Deventer Musea and The National Archives of Norway.

Labour Day

Two men, a worker and an engineer, are shaking hands while Hitler places his hand on top of that, appearing to give his blessing to the handshake. The poster represents Labour Day, 1 May, which was declared an official paid day off for the workers by Hitler in 1933. This poster was created in 1934. (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/367/2008, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Labour Day

Two men, a worker and an engineer, are shaking hands while Hitler places his hand on top of that, appearing to give his blessing to the handshake. The poster represents Labour Day, 1 May, which was declared an official paid day off for the workers by Hitler in 1933. This poster was created in 1934. (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/367/2008, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Order Mein Kampf

On this pamphlet an image of Hitler’s portrait is accompanied by a red flag from Nazi Germany with the Italian word Benvenuto, which means “Welcome”. The pamphlet appears to be a book cover and invites the Italian people to order a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf (1940). (Museon 112430, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Order Mein Kampf

On this pamphlet an image of Hitler’s portrait is accompanied by a red flag from Nazi Germany with the Italian word Benvenuto, which means “Welcome”. The pamphlet appears to be a book cover and invites the Italian people to order a copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf (1940). (Museon 112430, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

“Mother, tell us something about Adolf Hitler!”

A children’s book translated from German. The cover of the book consists of a portrait of Hitler and a mother telling her children stories. The title of the book is “Mother, tell us something about Adolf Hitler!” (1944). (Museon 115182, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

“Mother, tell us something about Adolf Hitler!”

A children’s book translated from German. The cover of the book consists of a portrait of Hitler and a mother telling her children stories. The title of the book is “Mother, tell us something about Adolf Hitler!” (1944). (Museon 115182, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Work Ennobles

A woman, a blacksmith and a worker are looking at a memorial with the images of Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg, the president of Germany from 1925 to 1934. The fact that the faces are in gold and the inscription Arbeit Adelt, “Work ennobles”, leads to the impression that the men are admired (1934). (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/364/2008 CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Work Ennobles

A woman, a blacksmith and a worker are looking at a memorial with the images of Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg, the president of Germany from 1925 to 1934. The fact that the faces are in gold and the inscription Arbeit Adelt, “Work ennobles”, leads to the impression that the men are admired (1934). (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/364/2008 CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Cup with Hitler Portrait

A cup, made from porcelain, with the portrait from Hitler in uniform. It was made around 1940 and appears to be an item of personal cult, or merchandise, around the person of Hitler. (Museon 101357, C BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Cup with Hitler Portrait

A cup, made from porcelain, with the portrait from Hitler in uniform. It was made around 1940 and appears to be an item of personal cult, or merchandise, around the person of Hitler. (Museon 101357, C BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Flowers at Statue of the Head of Hitler

Women place flowers at a bust of Hitler after the failed assassination attempt on his life, known as Operation Valkyrie, on 20 July 1944. (National Archives of Norway RAFA3309_48_1)

Flowers at Statue of the Head of Hitler

Women place flowers at a bust of Hitler after the failed assassination attempt on his life, known as Operation Valkyrie, on 20 July 1944. (National Archives of Norway RAFA3309_48_1)

18 Stamps from Czechoslovakia

A photograph of 18 stamps from occupied Czechoslovakia with the image of Hitler. As head of Nazi Germany, he demanded that his picture was placed on post stamps. This was one of many ways to reach people with the Nazi ideology in their everyday life. As the war continued, the production expanded to millions. (Museon 114814, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

18 Stamps from Czechoslovakia

A photograph of 18 stamps from occupied Czechoslovakia with the image of Hitler. As head of Nazi Germany, he demanded that his picture was placed on post stamps. This was one of many ways to reach people with the Nazi ideology in their everyday life. As the war continued, the production expanded to millions. (Museon 114814, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Coins with the Image of Hitler

During the period of Nazi rule over Germany, Hitler never appeared on official coins. However, many medallions and medals were produced with the image of Hitler. This is an example of the practice, created to celebrate his 50th birthday. It was thus a form of admiration for the Führer (1939). (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig MS/9609/2005, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Coins with the Image of Hitler

During the period of Nazi rule over Germany, Hitler never appeared on official coins. However, many medallions and medals were produced with the image of Hitler. This is an example of the practice, created to celebrate his 50th birthday. It was thus a form of admiration for the Führer (1939). (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig MS/9609/2005, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

He came, he saw, he lost

“He came… but not to England. He saw… Moscow. He lost…. The war.” This satirical poster uses veni, vidi, vici, the famous expression attributed to Julius Ceasar. This poster was created by the Dutch resistance at the end of the war in The Netherlands (May 1945). (Museon 67752, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

He came, he saw, he lost

“He came… but not to England. He saw… Moscow. He lost…. The war.” This satirical poster uses veni, vidi, vici, the famous expression attributed to Julius Ceasar. This poster was created by the Dutch resistance at the end of the war in The Netherlands (May 1945). (Museon 67752, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Obituary

The Dutch resistance even published an obituary for Adolf Hitler when he died. It states that Adolf Hitler, former painter and Führer of all Germanics, “has deceased, after having brought extensive suffering to the whole civilised world.” The accompanying text refers to his accomplishments, his cremation in a bunker in Berlin, and finishes with the statement that “because of the desolate state of the bunker, there will be no mourning visit.” (1 May 1945) (Museon 58139, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Obituary

The Dutch resistance even published an obituary for Adolf Hitler when he died. It states that Adolf Hitler, former painter and Führer of all Germanics, “has deceased, after having brought extensive suffering to the whole civilised world.” The accompanying text refers to his accomplishments, his cremation in a bunker in Berlin, and finishes with the statement that “because of the desolate state of the bunker, there will be no mourning visit.” (1 May 1945) (Museon 58139, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

The Unfulfilled Dream of a Person in Hiding

On this image Hitler is hanging from the gallows. Two men are standing below, one of whom is tickling Hitler under his feet. The accompanying text states that this was the “unfulfilled dream of a person in hiding.” The image of this satirical poster, created by the Dutch resistance, leads to the impression that this is the representation of feelings of vengeance of people who went in hiding during the war. (May 1945 or later) (Museon 67765, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

The Unfulfilled Dream of a Person in Hiding

On this image Hitler is hanging from the gallows. Two men are standing below, one of whom is tickling Hitler under his feet. The accompanying text states that this was the “unfulfilled dream of a person in hiding.” The image of this satirical poster, created by the Dutch resistance, leads to the impression that this is the representation of feelings of vengeance of people who went in hiding during the war. (May 1945 or later) (Museon 67765, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

The Big Five

Five images of parodies of the major political figures of the Second World War are collected as one source. The caricatures represent Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. All of them are depicted in a satirical way, but Roosevelt and Churchill have a more friendly appearance because of their facial expressions, than Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. (CC BY 3.0, Museon 64861)

The Big Five

Five images of parodies of the major political figures of the Second World War are collected as one source. The caricatures represent Roosevelt, Churchill, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. All of them are depicted in a satirical way, but Roosevelt and Churchill have a more friendly appearance because of their facial expressions, than Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini. (CC BY 3.0, Museon 64861)

Horror Landscape

This source shows a landscape full of the horrors of the Second World War with a large depiction of Hitler in the background. It was already painted in 1945 by Jan Brugge, a Dutch artist. (Deventer Musea H2007-0574, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0//)

Horror Landscape

This source shows a landscape full of the horrors of the Second World War with a large depiction of Hitler in the background. It was already painted in 1945 by Jan Brugge, a Dutch artist. (Deventer Musea H2007-0574, CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0//)

Portrait of an Asian with a Hitler Moustache

Hitler’s image was not only used to describe the Second World War. In this image an Asian (Japanese or Korean) face with a moustache which appears to be one of Hitler. In this case the addition of this moustache suffices to convey the message of the drawing. In the background people are working to create railways, which makes it logical that this man is their guard. (1942-1945) (Museon 71672, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Portrait of an Asian with a Hitler Moustache

Hitler’s image was not only used to describe the Second World War. In this image an Asian (Japanese or Korean) face with a moustache which appears to be one of Hitler. In this case the addition of this moustache suffices to convey the message of the drawing. In the background people are working to create railways, which makes it logical that this man is their guard. (1942-1945) (Museon 71672, CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/)

Worshipping Hitler or De Gaulle?

A large man is being worshipped, cheered to and admired by a large, happy crowd. It is the body of General De Gaulle with the head of Hitler. This is another example of the use of Hitler in another context than the Second World War. The cartoon was drawn by Bo Bojesen in 1962. (National Library of Denmark Museet for Dansk Bladtegning. Bojesen, Bo. Mellem Æske, 15, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)

Worshipping Hitler or De Gaulle?

A large man is being worshipped, cheered to and admired by a large, happy crowd. It is the body of General De Gaulle with the head of Hitler. This is another example of the use of Hitler in another context than the Second World War. The cartoon was drawn by Bo Bojesen in 1962. (National Library of Denmark Museet for Dansk Bladtegning. Bojesen, Bo. Mellem Æske, 15, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)

Greeting a Man

In addition to propaganda, satirical cartoons and images, there are also many photographs of Hitler that are not immediately Nazi propaganda, resistance images or cartoons, but photographs of events. In this image, Hitler is shaking the hand of an unknown man. The photo was probably taken at the Richard Wagner monument in Berlin. (1934) (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/2701/2005, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Greeting a Man

In addition to propaganda, satirical cartoons and images, there are also many photographs of Hitler that are not immediately Nazi propaganda, resistance images or cartoons, but photographs of events. In this image, Hitler is shaking the hand of an unknown man. The photo was probably taken at the Richard Wagner monument in Berlin. (1934) (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/2701/2005, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Hitler Wearing a Trench Coat

This photograph of Hitler is different from other photographs that we know of him, because we often see him wearing a uniform. Here he is wearing a trench coat. With a house and woman next to him, this event could be related to leisure. (1933) (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/266/2007/1, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Hitler Wearing a Trench Coat

This photograph of Hitler is different from other photographs that we know of him, because we often see him wearing a uniform. Here he is wearing a trench coat. With a house and woman next to him, this event could be related to leisure. (1933) (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/266/2007/1, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

SA March on Augustplatz, Leipzig

A postcard depicting an SA-parade taking place at Augustplatz in Leipzig while Hitler watches, during the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933. The photograph is printed on a postcard of which only 500 exist in the world. (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/3446/2006, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

SA March on Augustplatz, Leipzig

A postcard depicting an SA-parade taking place at Augustplatz in Leipzig while Hitler watches, during the beginning of the Nazi regime in 1933. The photograph is printed on a postcard of which only 500 exist in the world. (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig F/3446/2006, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Navy Parade for the Führer

This is a newsletter article about a parade by a part of the Nazi German Navy for Hitler and several of his officials. Although it is depicted in a positive way, it was presented as important news that had to appear on the frontpage of the newspaper. (1938) (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig A/534a/2003, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Navy Parade for the Führer

This is a newsletter article about a parade by a part of the Nazi German Navy for Hitler and several of his officials. Although it is depicted in a positive way, it was presented as important news that had to appear on the frontpage of the newspaper. (1938) (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig A/534a/2003, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Greeting a Boy from the Hitlerjugend

On the front page of the newspaper of 11 March 1934, Hitler is shaking the hand of a little boy who is a member of the Hitlerjugend. It probably tries to show his kindness to children. The event is taking place in Leipzig at the foundation at the Richard Wagner memorial. (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig MT/14/2005, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)

Greeting a Boy from the Hitlerjugend

On the front page of the newspaper of 11 March 1934, Hitler is shaking the hand of a little boy who is a member of the Hitlerjugend. It probably tries to show his kindness to children. The event is taking place in Leipzig at the foundation at the Richard Wagner memorial. (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig MT/14/2005, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)