In an effort to protect the health and supposed "racial purity" of German society, the Nazi regime led public campaigns against the use of tobacco and alcohol.1 But despite these campaigns, Nazi authorities also seized on the popularity of cigarette smoking to spread propaganda.2 In the 1920s, illustrated cards included in cigarette packs—so-called cigarette cards—became popular collectible items and often carried political themes.
In 1933, Jasmatzi cigarette factory in Dresden, Germany published a series of cards titled "Struggle for the Third Reich." The featured card is marked as number 82, appearing within a series that included 273 cards. The photograph depicts a young girl handing flowers to Adolf Hitler. Other cards in this series include images of Hitler speaking, scenes from various parades and marches, and illustrations of Hitler's mountain retreat in Bavaria.
In addition to Jasmatzi's "Struggle for the Third Reich," several other cigarette card series were produced in Nazi Germany. In 1936, cigarette companies published a series of cards dedicated to Hitler's biography, from his birth in 1899 to his 1933 appointment as chancellor. Another series featured photographs and short biographies of Third Reich officials.
Some of these cards became personal collector's items, particularly among children. Cigarette manufacturers even sold albums for organizing and displaying them. For example, the Reemtsma cigarette company distributed hundreds of thousands of such albums.3 Although some cigarette cards became collectible, many Germans did not seek them out. For many cigarette-smoking Germans, encounters with such political imagery was merely accidental.