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Trade fairs and propaganda: 50 years of the automobile at the 1935 and 1936 Berlin auto shows

Julia Große-Börger (Faculty 9 - Cultural Studies, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany)

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing

ISSN: 1755-750X

Article publication date: 11 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to show how the National Socialist regime participated in popular commercial events such as trade fairs to posture their propaganda. I demonstrate how the inter-trade organization and one particular company – Daimler-Benz AG – tailored their advertising to the communication strategies used by the Nazi regime.


This case study is based on the archival records of Daimler AG. The way in which the 50th anniversary of the automobile was staged at the Berlin Motor Shows of 1935 and 1936 is understood as part of the communication strategies of the German automotive industry, as well as of the Nazi regime.


This paper shows how intimately connected the 50th anniversary of the automobile was to the themes of racing and motorization. The automobile as a German invention had the potential to reconcile the motorization of the German people – a sign of modernity – with the blood and soil ideology of the Nazis. The Berlin Auto Show became an important platform for this project. The paper also shows how Daimler-Benz’s approach should be read differently.


The article sheds new light on the interaction between and inter-dependence of one particular company’s – Daimler-Benz AG’s – communication strategies and those of the Nazi regime. Furthermore, the 50th anniversary of the automobile, celebrated at the auto show in Berlin, provides a good opportunity to add exhibitions to of advertising history of the 1930 Germany.



The cooperation of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archives is acknowledged with appreciation.


Große-Börger, J. (2014), "Trade fairs and propaganda: 50 years of the automobile at the 1935 and 1936 Berlin auto shows", Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 460-484.



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