Modern history


1. Hitler keeps the workers at a safe distance: speaking at the Mayday celebrations on the Tempelhof field in Berlin, 1935, the Nazi leader is protected by a security cordon of SS bodyguards.

2. Brownshirt leader Ernst Röhm, posing as a bureaucrat, seated at his desk at home in 1933. The artwork on the wall behind him gives a good idea of his taste.

3. Heinrich Himmler, Reich Leader of the SS, tries his skill with a pistol at the police shooting range in Berlin-Wannsee in 1934.

4. Hitler taking the salute at a march-past of the Order Police during the Nuremberg Party Rally in September 1937.

5. Reinhard Heydrich, head of the SS Security Service, poses for a portrait photo.

6. Prisoners of the Flossenbürg concentration camp, reserved especially for ‘asocials’ and ‘criminals’, working at the quarry that supplied stones for Albert Speer’s public buildings.

7. Leni Riefenstahl tries out a camera angle for her film Triumph of the Will at the Nuremberg Party Rally in 1934.

8. ‘The whole of Germany hears the Leader with the People’s Receiver’: advertisement for cheap radio sets that could only receive broadcasts from domestic stations.

9. Actor Emil Jannings (right) towers over ‘the little doctor’, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels (left), during a break at the Salzburg Festival in 1938.

10. Ernst Barlach’s Magdeburg War Memorial, 1929; it was removed from display in the Cathedral by the Nazis as unpatriotic.

11. The preferred style of Nazi art: Arno Breker’s ‘Readiness’, shown at the Great German Art Exhibition in 1938.

12. Albert Speer’s German pavilion at the Paris World Exposition in 1937; it was likened by one critic to a crematorium and its chimney.

13. ‘Degenerate Music: A Reckoning by State Counsellor Dr H. S. Ziegler’. Front cover of the booklet accompanying the exhibition, attempting to portray jazz as both Jewish and black, and therefore racially degenerate, the exhibition was not a success.

14. Monsignor Caccia Dominioni, the Papal Maestro di Camera, flanked by German and Vatican officials, about to take Hermann Göring into an audience with Pope Pius XI on 12 April 1933, as part of negotiations for the Concordat.

15. ‘Adolf Hitler’s Young People enrol in the Non-Denominational School’. Placard urging parents to take their children out of Church-run education.

16. ‘If all young Germans looked like this, we would have no need to fear for the future.’ Children in a primary school class in 1939.

17. Education Minister Bernhard Rust, photographed on 3 August 1935, attempting in vain to look decisive.

18. ‘Young People serve the Leader: All ten-year-olds into the Hitler Youth.’ The Party intensifies its campaign to make all young Germans join the organization, 1936.

19. Hitler Youth camp in Nuremberg, 8 August 1934: the vast scale and military organization of such camps did not satisfy young people looking for freedom, adventure, communion with nature, and other traditional goals of the youth movement.

20. The modernism of the Autobahn: a motorway bridge in the 1930S.

21. Fritz Todt, the Nazis’ chief engineer, rewards workers on the West Wall fortifications. Many workers were drafted into the project against their will.

22.The Daimler-Benz automobile company boasts of its success under the Third Reich, 1936.

23. ‘Your Strength Through Joy car’: a young German couple, the man at the wheel, going for a spin in a Volkswagen beetle, built by Ferdinand Porsche from an original design by Adolf Hitler.

In fact, no production models came off the assembly-line until after the war.

24. ‘If this happened, one would not have to fear any measures of self-defence on the part of Germany.’ Cartoon in a once-independent satirical magazine, 11 March 1934, designed to advertise Germany’s defensive weakness but also testifying to widespread fears about the effects of aerial bombardment.

25. ‘A people helps itself: Gertrud’s understood it.’ A family eating the obligatory Sunday stew or ‘one-pot meal’, as shown in a school reading primer in 1939.

26. The hall at Hermann Göring’s modest rural hunting-lodge, Carinhall.

27. The ideal of peasant family life: ‘Harvest’, by Karl Alexander Flügel, shown at the Great German Art Exhibition in 1938.

28. Workers refuse to conform: clad in traditional full-dress uniforms, the coalminers at Penzberg, in Bavaria, show their disdain for Nazi ceremonial by failing to render the Hitler salute in the approved manner; a formation of Hitler Youth near the back shows how it should be done, but the miners pay no attention.

29. ‘Here you are sharing the load. A hereditarily sick person costs on average 50,000 Reichsmarks up to the age of 60.’ A poster of 1935 shows a healthy German bearing the burden of keeping the mentally ill in institutions such as the one in the background. Such propaganda aimed to persuade people of the need to sterilize the mentally handicapped, and eventually to kill them.

30. ‘The decline in marital fertility: of married women aged 15-4 5 , every third one had a live-born child in 1900, every fourth in 1910, every seventh in 1925, and every eighth in 1930.’ Propaganda illustration from 1933, urging Germans to have more children.

31. Parading of a couple accused of ‘race defilement’: the placard around the woman’s neck reads: ‘I am the biggest swine in town and choose/only ever to go with Jews.’ The man’s placard reads: ‘As a Jewish boy I’m always sure/to let only German girls through my door.’ Such scenes, staged by brownshirts like those in the background, were commonplace before the passage of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935.

32. Racial research in a Gypsy camp in 1933: Eva Justin, an assistant of Robert Ritter, the leading Nazi expert in the field, measures a woman’s head as part of a survey of the supposed racial characteristics of the Gypsies.

33. ‘Jews enter the place at their own peril!’ Banner over the road leading to Rottach-Egern, on Lake Tegern, in Bavaria, in 1935. Many towns and villages put up similar notices around this time, removing them for a while in 1936 to avoid bad publicity during the Winter and Summer Olympic Games.

34. The morning after the pogrom of the ‘Reich Night of Broken Glass’, 10 November 1938: a passer-by surveys the damage to a Jewish-owned shop in Berlin while the owners try to clear up the mess.

35. Hitler’s deputy Rudolf Hess, on the right, with his increasingly influential subordinate Martin Bormann, in Berlin, 1935.

36. The aftermath of the Saarland plebiscite, 1935: children give the Nazi salute beneath a canopy of swastikas.

37. Rhinelanders greet the German army as it enters the demilitarized zone on 7 March 1936. Amidst the rejoicing, some of them are rendering the Nazi salute.

38. Members of the Condor Legion at Gijo harbour, leaving Spain on their way to Germany, 3 June 1939, after successfully intervening on behalf of Generalissimo Franco in the civil war.

39. A German soldier is overwhelmed by the euphoric welcome given to his armoured car unit by Austrian girls when it reaches Vienna, 21 March 1938.

40. The other side of the picture: Viennese Jews are forced to scrub pro-Austrian graffiti off the street in March 1938, in front of cheering crowds, including many children.

41. The handshake that sealed the fate of Poland: Stalin and Ribbentrop agree on the country’s partition on 24 August 1939. Ten days later, the Second World War began.

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