Robert Schwarz: Anti-American Nazi Propaganda in pictures A Study of the "Illustrierter Beobachter" for 1941

Einleitung: During the year 1941, when military fortunes favored the Third Reich, an increasingly strident propaganda campaign directed against the United States developed in the German press. Not surprisingly, it reached its peak with Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war in early December of that year.

One of the notable characteristics of the pictorial propaganda during 1941 was that, prior to the German attack on the Soviet Union on June 22nd the attitude of the Illustrierter Beobachter (I. B.) toward that country was invariably “correct”, though not cordial, right up to the day of the Nazi invasion, even though Nazi hostility toward Soviet Communism had always been more intense than its enmity toward America. Yet we see that, while Germany and the United States were at peace during 1941, the propaganda build-up in direction of America was shrill and noisy. The non-aggression pact between Berlin and Moscow is probably the chief reason for the restraint tow:ud the Soviet Union, whereas with regard to the United States, the bitterness with which the LB-propagandists assailed this country all through the eleven months before Pearl Habor was surely due to the progressive help America was affording Germany’s “public enemy number one”, Britain. The intensity of the anti- American propaganda was in fact only matched by the depth of animosity dislayed toward the United Kingdom and “World Jewry” during this period. And it is the campaign against “World Jewry” which is also linked to the sharp increase of anti-Americanism, because in the Nazi view “World Jewry” was centered in the United States in its “plutocratic” aspect, while its “Marxist” aspect was centered in the Soviet Union. However, the propaganda linking Soviet Communism and the so-called “Jewish world conspiracy” was saved until Germany was at war with the Soviet Union. …

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