"Propaganda" is a dirty word.
However, in China, all of the media is under the direction of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party
. Yet all countries attempt to control the flow of official information: the United Kingdom's Official Secrets Act
, or the efforts in the US to prevent the release of damaging information like the Pentagon Papers
or Wiki Leaks
. Still, we associate the term "propaganda" with efforts to fool us, usually by less-than-moral governments.
Joseph Goebbels, head of the aptly-named Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda during the Third Reich, once said ": if you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it
." He then added "the lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State" (the citation comes from Thinkexist.com).
The Nazis were very good at using propaganda to pervert or hide the truth, especially in graphical form like posters. Archer Fine Transfers has been releasing a series of German propaganda posters (along with other areas like their recently-released Italian posters
. This third edition covers more of the pre-war Nazi era.
what you get
Inside the usual Archer glassine is a sheet of 22 posters and four photos printed in rich inks on high quality real bond paper.
I have a lot of respect for Archer because they don't pull their punches. This set (along with the previous two) will freeze your blood at times. While there is none of the Jew-baiting demagoguery found in set #2
with its posters for that horrid film "The Eternal Jew," the images are no more benign here: matching posters for the Hitler Jugend and the Bund Deutscher Mädel youth groups (the latter was the women's auxillary to the HJ).
The set offers a rich selection of posters, most from the pre-war era, a period usually ignored by other diorama companies. Included are two movie "one sheets," the advertising mechanism of Hollywood around the world (even Hollywood in chains). The first is for the 1933 movie about "SA Man Brand"; the other is for the controversial masterpiece "The Triumph of the Will," Leni Riefenstahl's paean to the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg. Speaking of which, there are three colorful posters from that Congress, along with one for an exhibition in Berlin of "Aryan" art from 1942.
A pre-war poster shows a young Hitler as God's chosen with a dove appearing above his head as he give's the Hitler salute. It's an incongruous, yet effective melange of Fascist and Christian symbolism, a mixture that helped the Nazis to undermine and even neuter the churches in Germany, despite the heroic resistance of many priests and ministers. A poster for a 1933 book by H. Morgenroth and M. Schmidtwhile Kinder, was wisst ihr vom Führer?
("Children, what do you know about the Fuehrer?") is positively creepy: its illustration shows a fatherly Hitler putting his hands on the shoulders of a young boy, appearing to "glamor" him like a vampire on the TV series "True Blood."
The war years are not overlooked, with later posters showing the need to buck up morale as things turned ugly for Germany. "Der Sieg wird unser sein" (Victory will be ours) is likely 1942-3, while another poster simply affirms "Our Luftwaffe." Goering had promised the German people that bombs would never fall on Germany. And while the earlier Archer sets seem to be specifically German, there are several posters in Dutch that would be appropriate for a Market-Garden diorama, for example.
And always the portraits of Hitler.
They were, of course, ubiquitous across the Reich. This set has four large ones, with four smaller, photo-sized portraits for an office wall or other public interior space.
The quality of the printing is, as usual from Archer, outstanding. The colors are perfect to scale - one problem with making your own posters off the Internet is the colors are usually too lush and even garish and over-saturated. Shrinking those images down to 1/35th scale will make them look like a psychedelic black light poster from the 60s. These images look real because the colors are more muted as they would be if shrunk down from 1:1. The waterproof inks mean you can soak these images in water, and then plaster them on a rough surface with white glue - just like a real poster.
Posters were a staple of the Nazi penchant for gaudy public display, and the flaunting of their colorfully macabre symbols. I'm glad to see Archer giving us more reasons to incorporate posters into our builds. The emphasis on pre-war ones fills a gap, though you might want to look at the two previous releases if you're set on a Battle of Berlin diorama. Pasting an "SA Mann Brand" poster on the wall won't work unless you weather the hell out of it.
Thanks to Archer Fine Transfers for providing this review sample. Be sure to mention you saw this set reviewed on Armorama when ordering.