National Archives at Kansas City

Press Release: June 9, 2014

National Archives at Kansas City

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Exhibition State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda at the National Archives at Kansas City – Presented by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education

For More Information Contact:
National Archives: Dee Harris, 816-268-8086

Midwest Center for Holocaust Education: Jean Zeldin, 913-327-8191

"Propaganda is a truly terrible weapon in the hands of an expert." –Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1924

Kansas City, (MO)…The Nazi Party developed a sophisticated propaganda machine that deftly spread lies about its political opponents, Jews, and the need to justify war. But Nazi propaganda was much more complex than that. For the Nazis to achieve power and pursue their racial policies and expansionist war efforts, a much more nuanced picture had to be painted - one that would appeal to broad swaths of the population, not just a fanatical extreme.

Featuring rarely seen artifacts, State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda draws visitors into a rich multimedia environment vividly illustrating the insidious allure of much of Nazi propaganda. The exhibition opens at the National Archives at Kansas City on Tuesday, June 24 and will be on display through Saturday, October 25, 2014.

"Adolf Hitler was an avid student of propaganda and borrowed techniques from the Allies in World War I, his Socialist and Communist rivals, the Italian Fascist Party, as well as modern advertising," says exhibition curator Steven Luckert. "Drawing upon these models, he successfully marketed the Nazi Party, its ideology, and himself to the German people."

The exhibition reveals how shortly after World War I, the Nazi Party began to transform itself from an obscure, extremist group into the largest political party in democratic Germany. Hitler early on recognized how propaganda, combined with the use of terror, could help his radical party gain mass support and votes. He personally adapted the ancient symbol of the swastika and the emotive colors of red, black, and white to create the movement’s flag. In doing so, Hitler established a potent visual identity that has branded the Nazi Party ever since.

After seizing power, the Nazi Party took over all communications in Germany. It marshaled the state’s resources to consolidate power and relentlessly promoted its vision of a "racially pure," utopian Germany that needed to defend itself from those who would destroy it. Jews were cast as the primary enemies, but others, including Roma, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and mentally and physically disabled persons, were also portrayed as threats to the "national community."

As Germany pushed the world into war, Nazi propaganda rationalized Germany’s territorial expansion as self-defense. Jews were depicted as agents of disease and corruption. The Nazis’ actions against them, in Germany and occupied countries, were promoted as necessary measures to protect the population at large.

Admission, hours, and additional information

State of Deception is a free exhibition and will be open through October 25, 2014. The National Archives at Kansas City is open Tuesday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. for exhibits viewing and research. Free parking is available for National Archives visitors.

State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda is produced by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, presented by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education, and hosted by the National Archives at Kansas City. State of Deception was produced in part by grants from Katharine M. and Leo S. Ullman and the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, with additional support from the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund established in 1990 and by Dr. and Mrs. Sol Center. Kansas City Presentation Sponsors include: Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany; Sosland Foundation; Donna Gould Cohen; Hall Family Foundation; Sprint Foundation; Annette & Sam & Jack Swirnberg Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, Trustee; H&R Block Foundation; Community Legacy Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City; Oppenstein Brothers Foundation; Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust; Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, United Missouri Bank, N.A., Trustee; Kansas Humanities Council; Hunt Midwest (in kind). Bus subsidies for schools are provided by the following funds of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Kansas City: J-LEAD; Earl J. and Leona K. Tranin Special Fund; and Flo Harris Foundation.

The Midwest Center for Holocaust Education (MCHE) was founded in 1993 by Holocaust survivors. Its mission is to teach the history and lessons of the Holocaust, applying its lessons to counter indifference, intolerance, and genocide. Located at the Jewish Community Campus in Overland Park, KS, MCHE serves people of all faiths and cultures in Kansas, western Missouri and elsewhere in the Midwest. It serves teachers, students (primarily grades 7 through college) as well as civic and community groups through exhibits, speakers, films, an annual essay contest, teacher education, and a resource library. MCHE honors local survivors and their experiences by recording and communicating their stories to every generation. To learn more, visit www.mchekc.org.

The National Archives at Kansas City is one of 15 facilities nationwide where the public has access to Federal archival records. It is home to historical records dating from the 1820s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. For more information, call 816-268-8000 or visit us online.

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LPM/LE-RM 14-021

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