Hate Advertising

The anti-Semitic propaganda of the Third Reich was both the nadir and zenith of state-sponsored advertising. The bombardment of the German (and foreign) public with derogatory stereotypes and fear-mongering attacks was unequaled for its ferocity and effectiveness. In my own book, Iron Fists: Branding the 20th Century Totalitarian State, I touch upon the cult of hate, but I barely scratch what is currently on view at The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in its exhibition State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda, which runs through December 2011. If you cannot make the trip to Washington, D.C., check out the splendid website for its in-depth coverage, from the interactive timeline to the powerful artifacts gallery. Also read Edward Rothstein’s New York Times review here.

This is an exhibitition that probably could only be mounted at the USHMM because at any other museum the imagery (see above and below) is still so viciously rabid that it cannot help but ignite intense emotions.

Those who have seen the exhibition, please add your impressions to the comments.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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