Title

Building Nationalism: Germany’s Use of Propaganda Posters to Unify People

Description/Abstract/Artist Statement

At the onset of World War I, Germany was still building up a national identity across both military and social spectrums. Often, people think of German unity in the context of World War II when nationalism and the Nazi party used propaganda to the extreme to promote a singular, and superior, German identity. However, this ultra-nationalism did not appear in a vacuum. In order to understand the growth of the German identity, it is important to look back to the Great War for the beginnings of a national identity.

My paper analyzes art and propaganda to understand the development and progression of German national identity during and after the Great War. By looking at propaganda posters, historians can analyze how the German military and government wanted their people to see themselves and the military. Throughout the war, posters and propaganda shifted their focus from regional to national unity, and from the strength of the military to generating civilian support for the troops. A deep analysis of these posters, their art and verbiage, shows the conscious effort to create the idea of being German. Building a sense of German identity became paramount to keeping civilian support for the Great War, and an in-depth evaluation of propaganda posters provide an important insight into how the government created it from the ground up.

Presenting Author Name/s

Toni Gaisford

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Brett Bebber

College Affiliation

College of Arts & Letters

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Disciplines

European History | Military History | Social History

Session Title

History

Location

Zoom Room M

Start Date

3-20-2021 11:00 AM

End Date

3-20-2021 11:55 AM

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Mar 20th, 11:00 AM Mar 20th, 11:55 AM

Building Nationalism: Germany’s Use of Propaganda Posters to Unify People

Zoom Room M

At the onset of World War I, Germany was still building up a national identity across both military and social spectrums. Often, people think of German unity in the context of World War II when nationalism and the Nazi party used propaganda to the extreme to promote a singular, and superior, German identity. However, this ultra-nationalism did not appear in a vacuum. In order to understand the growth of the German identity, it is important to look back to the Great War for the beginnings of a national identity.

My paper analyzes art and propaganda to understand the development and progression of German national identity during and after the Great War. By looking at propaganda posters, historians can analyze how the German military and government wanted their people to see themselves and the military. Throughout the war, posters and propaganda shifted their focus from regional to national unity, and from the strength of the military to generating civilian support for the troops. A deep analysis of these posters, their art and verbiage, shows the conscious effort to create the idea of being German. Building a sense of German identity became paramount to keeping civilian support for the Great War, and an in-depth evaluation of propaganda posters provide an important insight into how the government created it from the ground up.