From the Archives

Recruitment for the Army in Nazi Germany

7th December 2018

This pictorial recruitment book for the German armed forces dates from 1938 is titled ‘Trompeten Blasen!’ which translates to ‘Sound the Trumpets!’

Trompeten recruitmentThe opening three pages of text, which our German-speaking colleague has translated, feature a foreword by Colonel Oberst Foertsch of the General Staff and describes what new recruits should expect during their first year of training. The book main aim is to get young men to join the armed forces, so the text refers to weapons training, life in the barracks and the differences between civilian and military life using numerous instances of key words such as ‘service’, ‘duty’, ‘comradeship’, ‘responsibility’, ‘pride’ and ‘community’. The accompanying staged photographs chart the training progress; transforming fresh-faced, smiling recruits to focused, well drilled and determined troops.

Although the book covers all section of the armed forces, naturally the Museum is most interested in the armoured vehicles on display. These include the armoured car Sd Kfz 221 (on the left hand side of the page) and a close up of intense looking commander in an Sd Kfz 232 6-Rad (on the right). Elsewhere in the book, a Panzer I is pictured on exercise, crossing rolling hills and picking its way through wooded terrain.

These triumphant propaganda images are in step with events of the time, which saw Nazi German aggressively pursuing territorial ambitions. 1938 saw the Anschluss (Austria joining the Greater Reich) in March and the Munich Agreement in October, which led to the annexing of German-speaking Czechoslovakian Sudeten areas.