I’ve always been interested about WWII and the different events that led to the genocide of six million Jews (i.e. Holocaust), therefore, I decided to make a post related to this topic. I searched the archives from the UW library and I found very interesting posters made by the U.S. Government, which were meant to be use for propaganda between 1939-1945. The image below shows Nazis burning books (an event that took place in 1933) but the poster itself was published in 1943.
The year 1933 was an important turning point for Jews living in Germany because Hitler’s government passed different laws that allowed the exclusion and discrimination of Jews. They were removed from jobs and other public services. During the same year, Nazi officials conducted campaigns to burn books related to Jewish literature or anything that was viewed as inappropriate in Nazi Germany. The image below shows another poster published in 1942 in which Nazis are burning books and there is a large book with a quote from president Franklin Roosevelt that says, “People die but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know books are weapons”
Finally, I found another poster (shown below) that dates back to 1943. During this year, anti-semitic attitudes were common in Germany and multiple massacres were taking place in the extermination camps. The poster below shows a hand (with a Nazi symbol) holding a dagger that goes through a bible. There is also a text that reads, “This is the enemy”. This poster clearly shows that Nazis were perceived by Americans as dangerous individuals and their actions were opposite to the religious values/beliefs of American culture.
I think these posters are useful because they can help us understand the American attitude towards Nazis during WWII. Although, I couldn’t find any posters created by Nazis, I’m sure they also used them for propaganda purposes. There are also a variety of personal diaries, photographs, and governmental documents that can help us understand more about people’s attitudes and actions during WWII.
Benz, W., & Sydenham-Kwiet, J. (1999). The Holocaust: A German historian examines the genocide. New York: Columbia University Press.