MUNICH — MunichNOW Politics) — From the advent of the first pre-historical election campaign, slogans, symbols, songs, and signs have all shared the same goal of getting the message across efficiently, eloquently and effectively.

While many other countries have moved to more modern means, in Germany the methods remain more traditional.

Poster For Reichstag Election 1932Ja3Adenauer Wahlplakat 1957

 

 

 

 

 

 

This comes as no surprise. Germany, the birthplace of Johannes Gutenberg and his revolutionary printing press, remains a final bastion of the printed word in the developed world. A prime example of this is in the multitude of political posters that inundate cities all across Germany every four years, and Munich is no exception.

German Election 2017
Collection of posters from the various candidates in 2017

MunichNOW takes a look at political street posters that have lined our streets since the days of Hindenburg.

Election Poster For Reichstag Election 1932
“Vote for Hindenburg, man of action – not of words” is written on an election poster for the Reichstag election in 1932.

The democratic process began in Germany from the smoldering ruins of World War I. This period is known as the Weimar Republic. The kaiser was gone, and elections finally took
place. A struggle for the moderate middle began from both ends of the political spectrum –and the ‘Golden Age’ of political posters commenced.

Art imitates life. Dadaism, that short-lived movement of nonsensical art (1916-1922), reflected the disarray, turbulence and zeitgeist of interwar Germany. The main political parties tried to convince voters that they had the key to security.

Shades of the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) movement, are also represented in the flowing lines and ‘whiplash’ effect of various posters from the interwar years. Beyond the message, form still played an important part in those first political posters.

Weimar Republic German Election 1932
Election posters of the German National People’s Party (DNVP) with the portrait of the Reich President Paul von Hindenburg and the slogan “More power to the Reich President! Away with the autocratic rule of the parlaments. Vote for the German Natioal People’s Party” for one of the two German elections in 1932. Photo: Berliner Verlag/Archiv
KPD ELECTION POSTER/1932
A German Communist Party (KPD) election poster. Date: 1932 (Mary Evans Picture Library) For editorial use only., No third party sales.

The poster at the top shows in dramatic graphic form how only Hindenberg could win over the various parties and movements in Germany that took hold after the Great War.
The graphic of Hinderberg in the lower photo is on a “Litfaßsaüle”, or a kiosk to non-Germans.

Advertising columns were invented by the German printer Ernst Litfaß in 1854. Therefore it is known as Litfaßsäule (Litfaß column) in Germany, and can be found all over the
country advertising mostly concerts and shows these days.

The period after the first world war was one of turbulence and economic difficulty throughout Europe. Paul von Hindenberg was the President of Germany from 1925 to 1934 and these posters show the concern with the growing Communist movement.

Election Announcement 1919 / Cesar Klein
An election announcement poster to elect the constituent German national assembly on the 19th of January in 1919. “Workers, citizens, peasants, soldiers, all people of Germany unite in the national assembly”. Graphic design: Cesar Klein (1876-1954).

An election announcement poster to elect the constituent German national assembly
on January 19th, 1919. It reads: “Workers, citizens, peasants, soldiers, all people of Germany unite in the national assembly”.

The design is by Cesar Klein (1876-1954), one of the founders of the Socialist Art Movement “Arbeitsrat für Kunst” or “The Workers’ Council for Art”, and is an excellent example of this style. There are also hints of the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) ‘whiplash’ effect, defined by flowing lines and curves.

Bayern, Der Bolschewik Geht Um! 1919 Elect.Poster Of Bav.People's Party /1919 Bavière, Le Bolchevik Rôde! 1919
‘Bayern, der Bolschewik geht um!’ Revolution 1918/19: Elections to the Bavarian National Assembly on 12 January 1919.
– ‘Bayern, der Bolschewik geht um!’ (Bavarians, the Bolshevik goes around).- Election poster of the Bayerische Volkspartei (Bavarian People’s Party).

Elections to the Bavarian National Assembly on 12 January 1919, the Bolsheviks are shown as a mysterious and powerful force from the east, bearing down on Munich and Bavaria. “Bayern, der Bolschewik geht um!” (Bavarians, the Bolshevik is going around!). Election poster of the Bayerische Volkspartei (Bavarian People’s Party).

DNVP Deutschnationale Volkspartei: Wahlpropaganda, Plakate, | DNVP National People S Party; Election Propaganda; Poster

Reading newspapers outside the newspaper building in 1920’s Berlin. Note the rows of political posters on the wall about the newspaper pages posted on the wall.
Also note the three men in the doorway.

Clean Up The Reich! Vote German Democrat! DDP Poster. 1928.
DDP poster for the Reichstag elections. May, 1928. Clean up the Reich! Vote German Democrat!. Germany.

In Munich the Münchner Merkur and TZ were placed on the inside of windows everyday at Bayerstrasse 16, near the Central Station. When there were big stories and the weather is pleasant locals gather in small groups and peer at the papers.

Hindhit
Campaign poster from 1933, showing a handshake between Hindenburg and Hitler. and foreshadowing things to come…

— end of Part 1

Watch for Part 2 on Wednesday, Sept 20th.