Soon after Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany, the Nazi regime began working to create a positive image of Nazi Germany in the United States. The goal was to counter negative reports about the regime's violence against political opponents and Jews.1 By the end of the 1930s, the primary purpose of these efforts was to keep the United States out of World War II.
Josef Goebbels' Ministry of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment hired prominent American public relations firms to promote favorable views of the Nazi regime. They targeted certain sectors of the American population—German Americans, academics, politicians, right-wing organizations, and tourists to Europe—with specific messaging. In 1933, the ministry began radio transmissions to the Americas. It also distributed large amounts of printed material, which was supplied in the United States by the German Library of Information and other outlets. The Nazi regime devoted considerable funding and manpower to influencing American attitudes. Customs and postal officials calculated that by 1940, the German government was transporting tons of propaganda materials to the US by ship each month to distribute through the US postal service.2
The Fichte Association [Fichte-Bund] was one of the creators and distributors of Nazi propaganda. Controlled by Goebbels' ministry, it spread millions of leaflets across the globe in more than a dozen languages. These publications were provided free of charge and were advertised in newspapers or magazines sympathetic to the Nazi or fascist causes.3
Like much of Nazi propaganda for Western nations, the Fichte Association's leaflets portrayed Hitler as an advocate of world peace. It warned of the dangers of communism, denounced the Versailles Treaty, and declared the benefits of Nazi racial legislation—including forced sterilization of people deemed to be genetically "undesirable." Its publications also tried to justify the regime's anti-Jewish measures. This was often done by exploiting American antisemitism. The featured flyer uses false statistics to advance deeply negative and prejudiced beliefs about Jewish people.
Although the Fichte Association's materials frequently circulated among far-right political groups in the United States, they also targeted college and university students. By presenting a positive image of Germany and spreading doubt over the accuracy of newspaper reporting about the Nazi regime, they tried to reshape American students' opinions and behaviors.4 Ettore Peretti, an American graduate student attending university in Germany, received the featured leaflet sometime in 1935 or 1936.