Absurd Nazi Propaganda Photos With Their Original Captions

Published November 27, 2016
Updated February 6, 2019

Nazi propaganda photos like these helped bring an entire nation under Hitler's thumb in ways that are still relevant even today.

Nazi Propaganda Photos Hitler
Original caption: In his speech to the Reichstag on October 6th, the Fuhrer offered a hand of peace and outlined the new order in eastern Europe. "But I do not doubt for a second that Germany wins." The Reichstag and the entire nation joined in this affirmation with cheers. 1939.New York Public Library

Caring Reception
Original caption: The great resettlement of the ethnic Germans from the East began its second phase. Following the Baltic Germans, well over 100,000 Volhynian Germans came back into the Reich. The men started the trek to the new settlements, while the women and children found a caring reception in the large transit camps. 1939. New York Public Library

Peaceful Life
Original caption: The outbreak of war has not disrupted the peaceful life of the Reich. In the packed Olympic Stadium the finals of the German soccer championship took place. Schalke were the champions again. 1939.New York Public Library

Czech Decay
Original caption: Czechoslovakia falls more and more into decay. In Pressburg serious incidents take place between Czechs and Slovaks. The Slovaks smash the shop windows of all the Jewish businesses. 1939. New York Public Library

Polish Futility
Original caption: The surrender of the Polish capital is inevitable: Polish deserters, who see the futility of the Polish position, place their fate in the hands of the German Army. 1939. New York Public Library

Wooden Eagle
Original caption: The Fuhrer visited a Luftwaffe air base and sat near the Christmas tree in the midst of the troops. He visited anti-aircraft positions in the Western Air Defense Zone, where a gunner presented him with a hand-carved wooden eagle. 1939. New York Public Library

Garmisch Partenkirchen
Original caption: Despite the war, the Hitler Youth held the 5th Winter War games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, with good results despite the hardships. 1939. New York Public Library

Complete Superiority
Original caption: Faced with the complete superiority of the German army, Warsaw felt compelled to surrender. In the Skoda motor works--eight kilometers from Warsaw--the surrender negotiations for the former Polish capital city take place under the auspices of General Blaskowitz. 1939. New York Public Library

Warm Friendship
Original caption: The warm friendship between Japan and Germany finds expression in a Japanese art exhibition in Berlin. The Fuhrer greets Japanese Ambassador Oshima. 1939. New York Public Library

Peoples Gas Mask
Original caption: Besides the people's gas mask, there are also gas defenses created for German children. 1939.New York Public Library

Give Thanks
Original caption: At this time the civil populations of the Westmark cities who had found themselves in the Reich at the outbreak of war returned home. The thanksgiving of the returnees was also a time to give thanks to the Fuhrer and the Army. 1939. New York Public Library

Duce Florence
Original caption: Finally the Führer met the Duce in Florence, where he once more made a fundamental declaration of the friendship of the two nations and the unshakeable firmness of the Axis. 1940. New York Public Library

Operating Room
Original caption: ...the operating room destroyed and the maternity ward heavily damaged. Again women and children are sacrificed to this criminal way of war. 1940. New York Public Library

Nsb Sisters
Original caption: In the territories, especially those which suffered from the war, NSB Sisters arrived to ensure that captured supplies were divided equally and fairly among the needy populace. 1940. New York Public Library

Troop Detachments
Original caption: In these days Norwegian troop detachments everywhere put down their arms and were taken away as prisoners. They realized that the struggle had become pointless. 1940. New York Public Library

Wreckage Clues
Original caption: In the wreckage were found clues that pointed to the bomb's foreign origin. It was clear to everyone in the world that the perpetrator of this public crime was England, whose statesmen have made the destruction of Hitlerism their stated war goal. 1940. New York Public Library

Fuhrer Lives
Original caption: Eight dead and sixty wounded were sacrificed to a reckless bomb attack which targeted the Führer. Adolf Hitler had left the gathering early and was acclaimed in Berlin the next morning by thousands who simply gave thanks: The Führer lives! 1940. New York Public Library

Soldiers Newspaper
Original caption: The German soldier knows why he is in the field. He knows the reasons for this war and hungers after news. So every soldier's newspaper is carefully studied. 1940. New York Public Library

German Diplomacy
Original caption: At the end of the month, the Führer undertook an important journey to let the whole world know that Germany is active in diplomacy. On the French-Spanish border he held talks with Spanish head of state General Franco. 1940.New York Public Library

Ethnic Groups
Original caption: The repatriation of German ethnic groups, which began with the Balts, has not yet finished. 45,000 Germans from Bessarabia, who left the homeland in 1814, now come back to the great Reich. In the Galatz refugee camp, they waited in their wagon trains to be transported by Danube steamers. 1940.New York Public Library

Hearty Cheers
Original caption: On the return trip from Brenner, the Fuhrer was received everywhere with hearty cheers from the population. 1940.New York Public Library

Bands Playing
Original caption: While Denmark understood the necessity and reasonableness of Germany's actions, there were supporters of the English in Norway who agitated for resistance. Nevertheless German troops marched into Oslo with bands playing. 1940.New York Public Library

War Kindergartens
Original caption: In the war kindergartens of the NSV, used by working mothers to ease the burden of caring for their children, the children not only play happily and eat well, but are also carefully taught habits of good health for this war generation. 1940.New York Public Library

German Reichstag
Original caption: On July 19th, the Führer spoke to the German Reichstag in Berlin and the Italian Foreign Minister Ciano to report on the campaign in France and to appeal one last time to "English reason." 1940.New York Public Library

Good Guy
Original caption: In Norway the dive bomber crews played a decisive role. They repeatedly broke the senseless resistance that was offered. The population as a whole always knew that the German soldier was a "good guy". If not, why would these Norwegian ski girls be such interested spectators of the Luftwaffe? 1940.New York Public Library

Lower Than Beasts
Original caption: In the prisoner-of-war camps were soon represented all the races and colors that the plutocrats in France and England had called "to the defense of European civilization". A fearful mixture of peoples, lower than beasts, who had butchered captured German soldiers in various ways. 1940. New York Public Library

French Hate
Original caption: Where at one time French hate triumphed, this occasion features terms which exclude French participation in further war aims and betters Germany's military situation versus England. 1940. New York Public Library

Eiffel Tower
Original caption: The Fuhrer inspects Paris, which has quickly returned to normal life under German occupation troops. At the Fuhrer's side are professors Giesler, Speer and Breker. In the background is the Eiffel Tower. 1940.New York Public Library

Unscrupulous Agitation
Original caption: Unscrupulous agitation turned the French civil population into refugees who wandered by the hundreds of thousands along the country roads. German organizations and Army doctors saw to these families' needs. 1940. New York Public Library

Once upon a time, propaganda was not a dirty word. In actuality, the term has its origins in religion, specifically the missionary work of the Congregation for Propagation of the Faith.

The term would assume its pejorative associations in the 20th century, when the Nazis used propaganda as vehicle to publicly and effectively cast blame for all of their problems on Jews and communists.

This propaganda -- which sometimes assumed the form of colorful posters -- gave the public a spit-shined version of what would amount to genocide, and made the systematic expulsion and extermination of entire sects of society appear to be aspirational.

Of course, the man behind it all, Adolf Hitler, was a master of propaganda; he even devoted three chapters of Mein Kampf to it.

As history shows, this propaganda yielded its intended result: Many fell for its promises -- or at least became distracted in considering them -- as bureaucrats, military and elected officials acted out its fatal truth.

This, of course, is not something at which only the Nazis can be adept. As the above photos (coupled with original Nazi captions) make clear, we must always be most vigilant of those who tell us everything we want to hear.

The presentation of truth is not truth, and people in power will often say or do anything to remain there.

Next, have a look at communist propaganda posters that'll catapult you right back into the Cold War. Then, learn about the World War II myths that we all need to stop spreading.

Erin Kelly
An All That’s Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she’s designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.