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German Propaganda Archive Calvin College

 

Background: German propaganda generally displayed France as a warmonger prior to the outbreak of World War II. Until France’s defeat in 1940, a common theme was that France was using African savages from its colonial empire to defend itself.

The source: Taken from my own collection or from the University of Heidelberg’s on-line collections. Theirs are available under a Creative Commons License.


Nazi Caricatures of France


FrNCW caricature

Caption: “The Strasbourg Station: It chases the blue from the sky.”

The point is that French radio is lying.

Source: Brennessel, #23/1933. My collection.

Nazi caricature of France

Caption: “French coo-coo eggs in the Saar”: “Well, kiddies, I’ve gotten you a fine nest. Now let’s hope the Boche sits on it.”

The Saar was under French occupation in 1933. It would return to German control after the 1935 plebiscite. The point here is that the French are trying to sneak things in. The Black is particularly significant. German propaganda had been stressing the horror of Black French occupation troops.

Source: Brennessel, #23/1933. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “France and Disarmament.”

The point is that France is rearming despite talk of disarmament. This was part of the Nazi campaign to build support for a German military buildup.

Source: Brennessel, #30/1933. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “A victim of his insanity.”

A French armaments manufacturer is sitting on bayonets, saying: “Security! Security!! Security!!!”

Source: Brennessel, #33/1933. My collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “The protector.”

France says: “I can’t help it. Things look black.” The point is both that the military situation looks bad (January 1940) and that France is at the mercy of drunken Black soldiers.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #4/1940. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “France’s mission has always been to protect Europe from Barbarism!”

A Black French colonial soldier attacks German culture.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #7/1940. Heidelberg collection.

Nazi caricature

Caption: “Black and white.”

Although Blacks were generally presented as dangerous savages in Nazi caricatures, sometimes they were seen as victims. Here, a Black is beaten by a Frenchman in the colonies, while another finds himself shivering in the trenches facing Germany.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #8/1940. Heidelberg collection.

Caption: “France’s elite.”

Well, comrade, we didn’t only Belgium rescue, but we also Belgium’s civilization rescued!” The Black soldiers looting Belgium as they retreat aren’t speaking grammatically. This is the more standard portrayal of Black French colonial troops — savages unfit for Europe.

Source: Kladderadatsch, #25/1940. Heidelberg collection.

 

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