Election Poster for the German National People's Party (DNVP) (May 1928)
The German National People’s Party (DNVP) was formed in 1918 as an alliance of several defunct right-wing parties. Its short-term goal was to oppose the revolutionary struggle for democracy; its long-term goal was the reestablishment of the German monarchy. The DNVP, which counted Alfred von Tirpitz, Wolfgang Kapp, and influential media business owner Alfred Hugenberg among its members, was mostly supported by voters from the upper echelons of society, by the military, industrialists and businessmen, and the Protestant Church. This election poster stems from the campaign for the Reichstag elections of May 20, 1928. The DNVP election campaign mainly focused on criticizing Gustav Stresemann’s policy of reconciliation and specifically the Locarno treaties, to which this poster explicitly refers. In 1925, shortly after having joined a government coalition for the first time, the DNVP left the coalition to protest the Locarno treaties, which confirmed Germany’s western border as defined in the Versailles Treaty and also stipulated the demilitarization of the Rhineland. The poster shows an African colonial soldier with his bayonet at the ready, his eyes gleaming in a dark, threatening cloud that hovers above the sunlit Rhine. It is clear that the poster was intended to incite nationalist resentment against France while stoking racist fears of occupation by a foreign, “uncivilized” force. The DNVP remained the second strongest party in the Reichstag, winning roughly 14% of the votes. Still, it lost a significant number of votes compared to the 1924 elections, whereas both the SPD and the KPD managed to increase their mandates.