Julius Streicher

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Julius Streicher (12 February 1885 – 16 October 1946) was a prominent Nazi prior to World War II. He was the founder and publisher of Der Stürmer newspaper, which became a central element of the Nazi propaganda machine. His publishing firm also released three anti-Semitic books for children, including the 1938 Der Giftpilz ("The Toadstool" or "The Poison-Mushroom"), one of the most widespread pieces of propaganda, which purported to warn about insidious dangers Jews posed by using the metaphor of an attractive yet deadly mushroom. After the war, he was convicted of crimes against humanity and executed.

Contents

Early life

Streicher was born in Fleinhausen, Kingdom of Bavaria, one of nine children of the teacher Friedrich Streicher and his wife Anna (née Weiss). He worked as an elementary school teacher like his father, and in 1909 he began his political career, joining the German Democratic Party. He would later claim that because his political work brought him into contact with German Jews, he “must therefore have been fated to become later on a writer and speaker on racial politics.”[1] In 1913 Streicher married Kunigunde Roth, a baker's daughter, in Nuremberg. They had two sons, Lothar (born 1915) and Elmar (born 1918).

Streicher joined the German Army in 1914. He won the Iron Cross and reached the rank of lieutenant by the time the Armistice was signed in November, 1918.

Early politics

In 1919 Streicher became active in the anti-Semitic Deutschvölkischer Schutz und Trutzbund (German Nationalist Protection and Defense Federation), one of the various radical-nationalist organizations that sprang up in the wake of the failed German Communist revolution of 1918. Such groups fostered the view that Jews had conspired with “Bolshevik” traitors in trying to subject Germany to Communist rule.[2] In 1920 he turned to the Deutschsozialistische Partei (German-Socialist Party), a group whose platform was close to that of the young NSDAP, or National Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (National Socialist German Worker's Party). Streicher sought to move the German-Socialists in a more virulently anti-Semitic direction – an effort which aroused enough opposition that he left the group and brought his now-substantial following to yet another organization in 1921, the Deutsche Werkgemeinschaft (German Working Community), which hoped to unite the various anti-Semitic Völkisch movements.

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