By John Ray

The poster below was issued in the Netherlands for a Dutch audience. It was issued by the Dutch NSB. It is a striking display of how Leftist Nazism was. In translation the poster reads: "With Germany AGAINST capitalism".

The poster is one of a series. You can see the rest of them here. Other posters in the series say Nazism is against Bolshevism, for a new Europe etc. There is a discussion of the series here (In Dutch). With the help of a Dutch-speaking reader of my blogs, I can offer the following background information:

"With Germany against Capitalism" was one theme of a four-theme propaganda series launched by Mussert's NSB. The themes were: With Germany against Bolshevism, against Capitalism, for a New Europe, and for a free Netherlands. The series consisted of brief propaganda films, radio spots and printed matter like the one shown. "With Germany against Capitalism" was the theme from 15 to 28 November 1941.

Mussert was the chief of the Dutch Nazi party, NSB (Nationaal-Socialistische Beweging). It was not a big outfit; when the Germans invaded in May 1940 they had less than 30,000 members, though soon after the successful takeover another 20,000 opportunists joined. Mussert had aspirations of becoming the Dutch quisling but the Germans never thought enough of him to let him run the country. Instead they gave the administration to Seyss-Inquart, an Austrian Nazi lawyer. (After the war both got the death penalty, Seyss-Inquart at Nuremberg, Mussert from the Dutch -- who are now opposed to the death penalty.)

The site doesn't provide a lot of details about the anti-capitalist part of the campaign; more details are provided about the theme "With Germany Against Bolshevism". Materials on this topic addressed the attitude of the Bolshevists towards "church, farmers, workers, intellectuals, Jews, women and the family." "Godless Bolshevism was the biggest threat against Western civilization".

Somewhat interesting in this context are Mussert's stated differences with the German Nazi philosophy. Originally Mussert felt a lot more affinity towards Mussolini than towards Hitler. In concert with Mussolini he wrote a letter to the pope in 1936, in an (unsuccessful) attempt to persuade the pope to modify the completely negative attitude of the Dutch bishops towards the NSB version of fascism. In this letter he listed the points on which his NSB doctrines diverged from the German Nazis'. They were: 1. violent takeover of power (although Hitler had come to power by mostly legal means, after he swore off further coups); 2. the Nazi racial doctrines; 3. anti-Semitism; and 4. the totalitarian form of government (although he favored the typical "strong man" government form of the era). The Germans were very aware of this letter - it was found in Himmler's files - and it may have been one of the reasons they kept Mussert on a short leash.

During the war Mussert's NSB did receive considerable subsidies from the Germans. He was allowed to run his propaganda campaigns on behalf of the German cause and to let his party be used as a recruitment ground for the eastern front. In addition, to run the domestic administration, the Germans preferred to place NSB members in responsible administrative positions. Most cities had NSB mayors, for instance. (To this day mayors in Holland are appointed by the central government, not elected.)

Source: Dr. L. de Jong: De Bezetting, Amserdam: Querido, 1966, Chapter V: "Mussert en de Duitsers". De Jong, whose Jewish family had been killed during the war, was the longtime director of the Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie (Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (Archives)) and he wrote what are considered the definitive works on the war years in Holland.

There is a further reference to the poster campaign here. In translation, the first paragraph reads:

Weeks of preparation preceded the "With Germany..." campaign. The NSB really went to work on it. Of the complete set of four slogans fully 150 thousand posters were printed. Advertising agencies saw to it that about 20 thousand posters (size 60x90cm.) were put up on official hoardings. The NS (Dutch railways) put up 6 thousand posters in railway stations.

The campaign was therefore a fully official and collaborative effort between the Dutch NSB and the German occupation authorities. Nazism was ANTI-Capitalist.

To conclude, an extract from a Dutch newspaper of the period may be of interest. It is a Nazi announcement that could hardly be more "communitarian":

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