May 8, 1945

8 May 1945: Collapse and New Beginning

German Federal Archives

The end of the war and the early post-war period in posters of the Federal Archives

For the inhabitants of a conquered Germany the end of the Second World War on the 8/9th May 1945 signified a turning point, but definitely not a time to relax. The sudden transition from war to post-war, from destruction to reconstruction is reflected in the posters of the Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) from the years 1945/6. If the last months of the war were still being permeated by the rallying cries of the Nazi regime and the calls for self sacrifice, then May 1945 saw the allied forces taking over and putting into place initial measures. For the population it was a question of coming to terms with every day life. The pictures show that, paramount in their minds, were the fear of infectious diseases, the concern about the POWs, the missing and the displaced, and the importance of cooperation in rebuilding the cities and towns which had been destroyed. There is evidence that as early as August 1945 cultural programmes and events were being resumed, and new postcodes had been introduced to facilitate written correspondence. In these posters of the early post-war period one can already see different emphases emerging, however subtle. In the Soviet occupation zone different messages were being conveyed than in the western zones. The exhibition ends with one desire, which will unite both sides in 1949, namely the desire for a lasting peace.
Propaganda in the last months of the war, 1945

BArch, Plak 003-029-048 / Christian Mintzlaff

BArch, Plak 003-029-023 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 003-029-064 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 003-029-062 / H. Kisselbach

8 May 1945: The war is over!

BArch, Plak 004-002-064 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 004-002-063 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 100-004-015 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 100-004-019 / o.Ang.

Reconstruction and daily life immediately after the war

BArch, Plak 100-033-014 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 100-033-009 / o.Ang.

BArch, B 285 Plak 004-006-004 / o.Ang.

BArch, B 285 Plak-025-005 / Oehlschlägel

BArch, Plak 004-002-002 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 004-007-006 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 004-007-007 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 100-039-001 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 100-034-029 / Schulz & Henschel, Berlin

BArch, B 285 Plak-054-001 / o.Ang.

BArch, B 285 Plak-055-001 / o.Ang.

Arrest and punishment of war criminals and National Socialists (Nazis)

BArch, Plak 004-005-009 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 004-005-008 / o.Ang.

BArch, Plak 100-031-034 / Boehner Werbung

Post-war years

BArch, B 285 Plak-023-022 / Aufbau Werbung

BArch, Plak 005-047-045 / Relief + Grafik Walter

BArch, Plak 100-034-017 / Fiedler

German Federal Archives
Credits: Story

Federal Archives
Poster 003 - Nazi regime in Germany and Europe
Poster 004 - zone time
Poster 100 - SBZ / GDR posters
B 285 Poster - Gesamtdeutsches Institut - Federal Institute for all-German tasks - Poster stock

Credits: All media
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