In this second part of the visit to the Zeughaus, the late 17th and early 18th Century building that houses the German Historical Museum in Berlin, the Deutsches Historisches Museum — I must admit that it was both fascinating and a bit off-putting.
In the lead-up to those galleries full of nationalistic poster art, there are exhibits of social history that explained the frightful poverty and economic collapse in Germany in the period leading up to World War II.
Since there are so many images, I have decided to do a 3rd post about this museum. With the exception of the one rather depressing ink drawing style poster from the 1930s showing a starving family, today’s article shows lots of happy and upbeat propaganda to reinforce the message that the German people were unified in their thinking and to drum up feelings of purposefulness about their cause.
A 1930s poster showing a mother and children in extreme poverty.
1936 Winter Olympics poster
Silhouette of the top of the iconic Brandenburg Gate in Berlin overlaid onto this poster for the summer Olympics.
The German ideal of happy families with blonde hair and healthy bodies was highly encouraged.
More perfect-looking blonde children to create Hitler’s future Utopia.
And of course, the idea was heavily promoted that once this temporary messiness of war was over, all good German working families would have prosperity and their own car for drives in the countryside. Recognise the early Volkswagon?
Whether you are a university educated man who works with his brain or a tradesman who works with his hands, the we’re-all-in-this-together approach is on display in this propaganda poster.
The glamourous airships or Zeppelins were still flying into the late 1930s. They provided a mental boost to the German public about their superiority with the construction of these massive airships.
The era of the Zeppelins came to an end in 1937 with the Hindenburg Disaster
which took the lives of 35 out of 97 people on board. All remaining German airships were ordered to be destroyed in 1940. The article at the link above is quite comprehensive and if you are interested in that sort of aviation history, it’s definitely worth the time to read through it.
The third and final article from this museum in Berlin shows World War II posters from Germany that are significantly less sunny and optimistic. Watch for those in my next article.
©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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