By Professor David Welch
Last updated 2011-02-17
Much of Hitler's popularity after coming to power rested on his achievements in foreign policy. A recurring theme in Nazi propaganda before 1939 was that Hitler was a man of peace, but one who was determined to recover German territories 'lost' as a result of the Versailles Treaty of 1919, drawn up at the end of World War One.
In 1936, when Germany re-occupied the Rhineland in contravention of Versailles, Hitler attempted to placate the Allies by speciously offering to conclude non-aggression treaties with France and Belgium, and to return Germany to the League of Nations.
The cartoon above is from the right-wing magazine Kladderadatsch. It dates from after Germany's illegal occupation of the Rhineland, but presents Hitler as a statesmanlike sower of peace. The figure of Peace is shown in the background, blowing a trumpet fanfare.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, the German periodic press had embraced a robust tradition of political satire. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Nazis seized upon the cartoon as an important propaganda vehicle.
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