In 1933, after Hitler had been Chancellor of Germany for just over a month, Kollwitz was dismissed from her position as the head of the master studio of graphic arts at the Prussian Academy of Arts. Her art and politics were unacceptable to the new regime. In the new Germany led by the Nazi Party, every form of expression was subject to the state policy of Gleichschaltung (levelling), the systematic coordination, and control of all aspects of social life.
From early on, Hitler had targeted his messages to women, who were given the vote in 1919. Hitler fostered a mythic notion of a patriarchal Germany—a Germany that never was. By blaming the country’s defeat on “internal enemies, like the Jews and the Communists” he instilled hope for the future in the form of a racially pure “Fatherland.” His new, direct messages were presented in simplified, colorful imagery and expanded on established propaganda. This in contrast to the more “artistic” posters of the Socialist opposition, whose darker, more expressionistic aesthetics were often misinterpreted by their intended audience.
Image: Nazi and other political parties’ propaganda during 1932 election campaign (Bundesarchiv image)