Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Kevin Motl

Second Advisor

Dr. Bethany Hicks

Third Advisor

Mr. Donnie Copeland

Abstract

The Nazi regime has gone down in infamy as one of the most self-consciously coercive regimes in history. When studying the National Socialists, men of power and influence are found in abundance. Individuals such as Hitler, Himmler and Hess receive credit for the influence they held over German society during that era. Organizations of individuals, such as the SA and SS, are also well recognized for their ability to control the masses. But in analysis of power during Nazi rule, one group is almost universally overlooked: the designers and graphic artist of the Ministry of Propaganda. The Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, and his extraordinary execution of thorough propaganda campaigns have been discussed in detail. But few consider the subtle yet powerful effects of visual communication in Nazi poster propaganda and the tremendous influence of men like Hans "Mjolnir" Schweitzer, one of the most renowned designers employed by the Ministry of Propaganda. Their work was vital to the production of materials through which the Nazis virtually controlled the opinions of the nation. The contributions of men such as Schweitzer significantly contributed to the success of Nazi poster propaganda by emphasizing specific messages expressed in the pieces through visual communication, often in a manner not consciously noticed by the viewer.

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