Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Hitler Salute: On the Meaning of a Gesture

by Tilman Allert // Picador
Sometimes the smallest detail reveals the most about a culture. In The Hitler Salute, sociologist Tilman Allert uses the Nazi transformation of a simple human interaction--the greeting--to show how a shared gesture can usher in the conformity of an entire society. Made compulsory in 1933, the Hitler salute developed into a daily reflex in a matter of months, and became the norm in schools, at work, among friends, and even at home. Adults denounced neighbors who refused to raise their arms, and children were given tiny Hitler dolls with movable right arms so they could practice the salute. And, of course, each use the greeting invested Hitler and his regime with a divine aura.

The first examination of a phenomenon whose significance has long been underestimated, The Hitler Salute offers new insight into how the Third Reich's rituals of consent paved the way for the wholesale erosion of social morality.

I wanted to avoid obvious Nazi imagery on the cover. I was able to find this crowd of smiling grandpas, babies, and citizens that almost looks like they're waving. The type treatment suggest the Nazi armband with the type following the tilt of the swastika.


Ian Koviak said...

The title bar and angled positioning looks like the arm bands SS officers wore on their sleeves.

Nice and simple. I salute you sir.

Ian Koviak said...

duh, you just said that. I just scrolled past it after reading the description of the book. All the same.

H3NR7 said...

Thanks Ian for getting the meaning without having to read it.

T-Bone said...

I took the angled type as the angle of the salute, but i guess both can be right! Nice typeface and treatment.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Natalie Smith's design for Capturing the German Eye.

Unknown said...

I love Natalie's work. Such a good designer.