One of the most powerful weapons during World War 2 was propaganda. The armies did not have to be persuades to go to war, it was their job to follow the orders of their respective governments.
However to persuade the civilians of the merits of war, propaganda was used this was done by all sides.
But World War 2 was different then any other war before. it also included the targeted mass murder of civilian population. For the Nazis to convince the general population that they were not only fighting external enemies but also ‘internal# ones they came up with a whole range of propaganda tools to sell their lies and market them as truth. It is a fact there is an element of truth in every lie.
Lou Manche was a member of the NSB, the Dutch Nazi party. He was also a member of the WA, which was the Dutch equivalent of the Stormtroopers, they called themselves a group who maintained order, but in fact they were just a gang of thugs.
Lou was also an artist, and by all means a very talented artist, but rather then using his talents for good he used them for evil.
He became a prominent propagandist for the NSB. The poster at the start of the blog is one of his posters. In the poster he makes clever use of semiotics, the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation, there are a few symbols in the poster: The star of David; the hammer and sickle, a caricature of Winston Churchill sitting on someone, who I believe to be Stafford Cripps, who was appointed Ambassador to the Soviet Union by Churchill..
Lou also makes use of words like: retarded; dandy ; millionaire communist; gold trading Jews. All of these symbols and words are all subliminal messages- messages that are meant to kind of ‘slip past your mental radar’ and embed itself deep into your subconscious mind- they were aimed to make Jews, English, Communists and also people with mental illness look to be the enemy of the state.
People who read these messages may have thought they were no so harmful because they didn’t call for aggression. They may have thought they were warnings of what could happen. The headline says “If England wins the war” it then lists all that could happen. In short it says that the Jews would exploit the Dutch and the English described as retarded’ and Soviets would destroy the country.
The poster also makes reference to a piece H.G Wells had written in a magazine called the ‘Fortnightly’ .
Wells warns about the mistake the English government has made by going to war with Germany. To end Hitler’s regime, he warns about what may come after Hitler. He also says that they think that they can render Hitler powerless just so that can go back fishing and golfing, quoted on the poster of Lou Manche. This of course was one of those cherry picking tactics of the Nazis, H.G. Wells had been one of the authors banned by the Nazi regime. His book “The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind” was one of the books, thrown into the flames, a the 1933 book burnings. But if it suited the Nazis agenda they would be willing to overlook that fact.
Although many Dutch used their common sense and did not heed the propaganda of the NSB and Lou Manche, there were plenty who fell for it, and quite a few were well educated. 75% of all Dutch Jews were murdered during the Holocaust, Lou Manche’s ‘art’ had a part to play in this.
Many of Lou Manche’s propaganda posters remind me of modern day memes, which are often used in a similar way to get a political message across. Like then they are usually taken out of context.
After the war Lou Manche was only jailed for a short time. In 1954 the Royal British Legion had even commissioned him to do a stained glass piece for them. But afters a great number of protests they decided to assign it to another artist
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