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Biographical/Historical Information

The poster symbolizes the central concerns of the rise of Communism in the first years of the German Republic. A small contingent from the SPD (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschland) flees from the the KPD (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands) side to the capitalist-controlled military side, which is bathed in blood. The blood is an allusion to the repeated joining of the majority Social Democrats with the army against proletarian uprisings ("workers' murderers"). One of the two military officers bears a resemblance to Hans von Seeckt, chief of staff for the the Reichswehr since March 1920.The word “Stinnesdiktatur” is a wordplay, combining the existing word “Sinnesdiktatur” (= Dictatorship of the mind) with “Stinnes-Diktatur” (= Dictatorship of [Hugo] Stinnes). Hugo Stinnes (1870-1924), who is depicted in the poster in the upper left corner in his black suit with his black beard, was an entrepreneur and industrialist, who benefited largely during Germany’s inflation after World War I. The poster's message is that there is a choice between the dictatorship of the mind through Hugo Stinnes or the dictatorship of the proletariat.

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Stinnesdiktatur oder Diktatur des Proletariats?, Leo Baeck Institute, r (f) DD 232.5 A7 1963 [II.18].