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German Pamphlet Collection

Call Number: MS 735

Scope and Contents

This collection of pamphlets, predominantly out of Nazi Germany, offers a view of that period as seen from the interior. The pamphlets are almost all in German and were intended for home consumption. As a consequence, they convey quite unselfconsciously the programs and goals of the Nazi regime unaffected by attempts to account for outside views. The only pre-Nazi materials in this collection are a group of German propaganda pamphlets and broadsides issued in connection with the plebiscite in Upper Silesia in 1921. (Box 4, Folder 34)

The material is organized by subject, and ranges over military, economic, social, and political topics. Particularly interesting to students of NSDAP history are the pamphlets in the category, "Nazi Party," beginning with a satiric attack on the Weimar Republic, dated 1929, and early election propaganda from 1933 to 1936. Later pamphlets offer a striking insight into how the Party consciously strove to reach every age group and every social level.

A group of pamphlets arranged under the general heading "Armed Forces" and then further divided by the particular arm of the services shows the aims and ideals of the military. We find here accounts of Nazi conquest of territories in Eastern Europe with photographs taken by the invading troops of their own actions. In the pamphlet issued by the Ordnungspolizei, for example, there are photographs of a unit breaking into a synagogue in Riga and loading Jews into trucks. Other photographs show a shattered public building, German soldiers questioning peasants, searching a village, and living in requisitioned houses. Most curious is the light, sporting tone used for the captions: a picture of peasants digging a ditch by the roadside is titled: "Everyone cooperates;"

Among the pamphlets issued by the Wehrmachtare a number of political manuals indicating the responsibilities of officers for the political indoctrination of their troops. The welding of the individual to his unit is demonstrated here in pictures and text with remarkable vividness. Even marriage becomes a political act, and an elaborately illustrated brochure urges the soldier to marry a wife who is racially pure and will bear him and the nation racially acceptable children. Racially impure types are shown for dramatic contrast.

In the section, "Economics," there is a seventy-six page book, in English, Economic conditions in Germany in the middle of the year 1939. Published in June of that year by the Reichs-Kredit-Gesellschaft, it provides an official review of Germany's situation on the very eve of World War II. Two pamphlets by Hjalmer Schacht, also in English, discuss Why Germany and world trade (1935) and Why Germany requires colonies(1936).

The pamphlets in the education section show how educational goals were defined, and also include several examples of textbooks. A sampling of fiction for children is placed under "Juvenile Literature."

Among the few publications intended for distribution abroad is an elaborate photographic essay, with English captions, titled: "What we are fighting for." Another, in French, "Travailler-Vivre" is an attempt to persuade French workers to move to Germany to work. It, too, is extensively illustrated, and is unintentionally revealing. The highly praised living conditions are shown by the photographs to be barracks-like dormitories with rows of double decker iron beds.

Materials dealing directly with the war period, German occupation of conquered territory, and propaganda directed at Allied troops can be found in the World War II Pamphlet Collection, Manuscript Group Number 688.


  • 1921-1945

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.


Arranged alphabetically by subject.


3 Linear Feet (8 boxes, 1 folio)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


An artificial collection of German pamphlets, 1921-1945, including material on such topics as: national socialism, armed forces, foreign relations, propaganda, and postwar politics.

Guide to the German Pamphlet Collection
Under Revision
compiled by Ruth Gay
March 1976
Description rules
Finding Aid Created In Accordance With Manuscripts And Archives Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

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