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Visual Analysis of Nazi Propaganda

This learning module gives students practice in analyzing propaganda and understanding some basic principles of persuasion that are applicable to other persuasive media.


Choose one of the four pictures below. Imagine you are a German living in the 1930s and you see this image. Answer these questions:

  • Can you point to any aspects identifying it as Nazi propaganda?
  • What is its target audience? Think about age, gender, and social class.
  • Would it make a German citizen want to join the movement? If so, what elements of the picture contribute to that desire? Please consider the objects in the picture; the arrangement of things, buildings, and people; the physical appearance, dress, and facial expressions of the people; and any symbols.
  • Share your findings with your classmates. Looking at all the images together, can you draw any general conclusions about Nazi propaganda?
  • In contemporary culture, advertisements often use similar techniques. Find an ad in a magazine or online and compare it to the Nazi image you chose. How does the modern picture promote an aesthetic ideal and elicit a desire for conformity and belonging in the viewer?


Cover of Neues Volk, Volume 7, #5, May, 1939.

 Cover of Wenn die Soldaten durch die Stadt Marschieren, Mainz : Verlag Jos. Scholz, [194-]

Adolf Hitler with children. Adolf Hitler, Bilder aus dem Leben des Führers. Altona-Bahrenfeld [Cigaretten-bilderdienst, c1936]

 Nazi Party Rally, 1934. Adolf Hitler, Bilder aus dem Leben des Führers. Altona-Bahrenfeld, [Cigaretten-bilderdienst, c1936]