In an effort to bolster the health and racial "purity" of Germans, the Nazi regime led campaigns to discourage the use of cigarettes and alcohol among the population.1 At the same time, and in a seeming contradiction, Nazi authorities also seized on the popularity of cigarette smoking to spread propaganda. 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 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 those cards became personal collector's items, particularly among chilren. Indeed, cigarette manufacturers also sold albums for organizing and displaying them. The Reemtsma cigarette company, for example, distributed hundreds of thousands of such albums.2 For many Germans—for whom cigarettes were bought simply for use and not to obtain the cards—encounters with such political imagery was merely accidental.