German Propaganda Archive Calvin University


Background: The GDR appointed agitators to spread its messages in factories, offices, etc. Often, they maintained Wandzeitungen,essentially bulletin boards or “wall newspapers” that contained propaganda, encouragement and news. To provide them with material, the Socialist Unity Party (SED) provided material they could use. This is from a 1988 edition,. It was tabloid size. Agitators could cut out what was useful and post it along with material specific to their office or factory. The theme of this issue was “Socialist Competition,” the program used to spur workers to higher levels of accomplishment.

GDR Bulletin Board Material

Balloon with Banners “Progress through Competition: Material on the theme of socialist competition.” The banners from the balloon are “Top Achievement, Quality Award, Good Design, Trade Fair Medal, Best Collective.”
Chart Competition: High achievement for the good of the people and for peace — Do everything to realize the decisions of the XI. Party Congress of the SED!
Office Slogans

The top graphic says “New ideas are wanted. Think, talk, do.”

The bottom says: “The best is our standard. Exchanging ideas.”

German Blue-Collar Workers

The slogan in red is the standard GDR phrase: “Plan, work and govern together.” Below: “Plan discussion is socialist democracy in action.

  • Dicuss the plan’s tasks thoroughly.
  • Organize the competition
  • Develop initiatives and ideas
  • Meet and overfull the plan”
Chart and Cartoon

The top chart shows increases in CAD/CAM stations and industrial robots from 1987 to 1988.

The bottom cartoon shows a janitor announcing work is over while an enthusiastic worker keeps on working.

Sherlock Cartoon Sherlock Holmes catches high costs by reading the budget.
Blue Poster “Quality begins with thought.”
Slogans and Cartoon

Top: Quality Circle

Middle left: No mistakes — are you doing your part?

Middle right: Everyone should do quality work

bottom: This is he: Our best


At the top: “Scientific-technical top work leads to higher productivity and efficiency.”

Below: Flexible automated production system “FMS 1000” in operation at the Fritz-Hecker Kombinat. It enabled a 400% increase in productivity, a reduction in time from 8 weeks to two days, and a savings in material of 10% to 20%.

Cartoon and Chart

“What is that?”

“We met our scrap quota by mistake-free production.” [i.e., the containers for defective productions can be thrown away]

Electronic Industry Poster

“Quality is a matter of honor.”

“Using computer-controlled testing points at the VEB Maßindustrie Werdau led to improvements in quality and a reduction in defects.

Worker using valves

Top: Accomplishments of the scientific-technical revolution — to strengthen socialism and for the good of the people.

bottom: A water processing system used to produce batteries has saved materials and improved working conditions.

Nursery and Cartoon

Top: Everyone can see it: Good work is worth it!

  • Since 1971, half of our citizens have better housing
  • Since May 1987, child support is up — 40 marks for the first child, 100 for the second, 150 for each additional child.
  • After 1988, women over 55 and men over 60 get an extra week of vacation.

bottom: A checkup again? I’m working fine!

Chart and Office Slogan

Top: Strength = Time-savings

bottom: My workplace: My battleground for peace.

Ironing Machines

Top: Rationalization with, by and for us

bottom: Fully automatic ironing maches make the work easier. The introduction of new technology always improves working and living conditions. This is a goal of socialist competition.

Magdeburg factory

14% more high quality tools than in 1987 for home and abroad — the goal of the workers at a Magdeburg factory.

High daily accomplishments in meeting and exceeding the 1988 plan.

Our Contribution: [To be filled in]

[Page copyright © 1998 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]

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