German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

 

Background: Brennessel was the Nazi humor magazine, published from 1931 to 1938. This is a selection of cartoons from its first two years. Cartoons from 1934 are available on another page.


Cartoons from Die Brennessel: 1931-1932

Title: “At the Wailing Wall.” Two Jews are talking:

“My son says they are wailing in Germany too.”
“Our people?”
“No, they’re laughing.”

The claim is that Jews are prospering amid Germany’s economic hardships. (1st April issue, 1931)

Title: “The Season at German Theaters.”

Caption: “Faster, Jean. The Nazis have already smelled our manure.”

The claim is that German theaters are offering morally objectionable plays. The Nazis often presented themselves as protectors of the purity of German culture. (15 April 1931)

Title: “We”

Caption: Right and Left, outdated concepts! A new man forms a new era!”

A huge Nazi stands on representatives of parties of the political left and right. The cartoon is by Mjölnir, the pen name for Hans Schweitzer, the most prominent Nazi poster artist and cartoonist. (4 November 1931)

Title: “United Front of the SPD [Socialist Party] and KPD [Communist Party]

Caption: “Heinrich Heine: “Once we found ourselves in the muck, we understood each other immediately.”

The Nazis viewed both the Socialists and Communists as Marxists. Here representatives of the two parties stand together. In the background, a murdered Nazi. (2 December 1931)

Caption: “The Internationale fights for ‘human rights’.”

A large fist named “Red Murder” holds a dagger above a pile of Nazi corpses. There were hundreds of dead in both the Nazi and opposing camps. This Mjölnir cartoon suggests that Nazis were but innocent victims of political violence. (3 February 1932)

Caption: “Battling the Weeds.”

A Nazi lops off the heads of his political opponents. This was published shortly before the 31 July 1932 Reichstag election. (13 July 1932)

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