Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in American Magazines, 1923-1939

Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in American Magazines, 1923-1939

Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in American Magazines, 1923-1939

Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich in American Magazines, 1923-1939


The purpose of this study is to reconstruct the images of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich available to the American general magazine reader from the initial references to him in March, 1923, until his attack on Poland in September, 1939. It is not an analysis of the magazines themselves.


"An extraordinary person," an "artist turned popular prophet and savior" was the way Ludwell Denny described Adolf Hitler in March, 1923. Denny, who had met Hitler privately, wrote that Hitler "seemed hardly normal; queer eyes, nervous hands, and a strange movement of the head." Hitler was an Austrian "locksmith" who, when temporarily blinded during the war was "subject to ecstatic visions of Victorious Germany." After the war, Hitler created the National Socialist Party dedicated to "reactionary aims and terrorist methods."

The ultimate goal of Hitler and his followers was "to destroy the present Germany, not to fight for their country but for their class." Their enemy was not France but an enemy "within" Germany—"the trade unions and Social‐ Democrats-'Reds', 'Jews'." Hitler proclaimed "Jews are Reds" and that "Jews are Schiebers (war profiteers)." In either case, Hitler believed "Jews caused Germany's present ruin." Hence, Hitler proclaimed that only Volksgenosse could be citizens and that no Jew could be a Volksgenosse. Bavarians greeted the message with enthusiasm as "Munich has never forgotten" the Jewish led communist regime of 1919. The "good people of Bavaria" openly sang "We'll hang a dirty Jew on every tree."

Hitler was determined to overthrow the hated Weimar government as the first step in the achievement of his aim of a united Greater Germany. The Bavarian government, led by von Kahr, shared his hatred of Berlin and so had provided his party with equipment from "the old German army" and the "active or passive support of the military." When Berlin demanded Bavaria declare martial law, von Kahr complied—and, after a few hours lifted the ban on the National Socialists while maintaining it on "the workers."

Hitler was well-financed by "three known sources". Von Kahr had turned over to Hitler funds from Berlin that were actually intended to disband local separatist organizations collectively named the "Orgesch." A second source of funds was provided by Munich capitalists led by Hulgeburg, general director of Krupp, and Kuhlo, president of the Bayern Industrialen Verband. Confidential circular appeals for funds sent out by Kuhlo had been uncovered and published. The third source of funds was France. Money from there, possibly official, possibly private, was channeled from banks in the Saar to the Deutsche Bank in Munich. France supported Hitler for the reason it supported other reactionary groups—to keep Germany weak and in an uproar.

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