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Arminius the LiberatorMyth and Ideology$
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Martin M. Winkler

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190252915

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190252915.001.0001

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Arminius in National Socialism

Arminius in National Socialism

(p.81) 3 Arminius in National Socialism
Arminius the Liberator

Martin M. Winkler

Oxford University Press

Arminius’ importance in this period has long been controversial. This chapter offers a new evaluation of multiple evidence and argues that the Liberator myth was more prominent than often assumed. It played a major part in the regional elections of January 1933. The Nazis’ propaganda campaign presented Hitler as a modern liberator and savior comparable to Arminius. A clear if not overwhelming victory in this “breakthrough battle” (a Nazi slogan) ensured the NSDAP a larger part in national politics: two weeks later Hitler became chancellor. His office in the New Chancellery was decorated by images of great Germans, including a painting of Hermann by Angelika Kauffmann. In a “secret speech” before future officers of the Wehrmacht, delivered as late as 1942, Hitler specifically used Arminius as a model of military leadership and his victory over Varus as the starting point of German history.

Keywords:   National Socialism, elections of 1933, Nazi propaganda, Hitler as Arminius, Arminius proto-Nazi, New Chancellery, Angelika Kauffmann

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