FASHIONING GERMAN FASCISM
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Hitler used the storm troopers (Sturmabteilungen; SA), the paramilitary arm of the Nazi party, to come to power in Germany. The SA gave fascist myths concrete and physical forms, and in doing so, suggested a strong alternative to democracy. Recent historical scholarship has explored the mass popularity of the Nazi party through ideology and the regime's practical accomplishments. This scholarship has recognized the importance of Hitler's storm troopers as a political instrument. Nevertheless, a study of how the Nazis created the storm troopers', and thus their own, image is still lacking. This dissertation uses orders and guidelines from the SA high command to the troopers regarding their uniforms, public behavior, and logistics, correspondence between SA officers, period photography, digital photographs of historical SA uniforms, and visual art to examine how the resulting image combined youthfulness, discipline, and aggressiveness as hallmarks of Nazism. These hallmarks lend the Nazis an image that appealed to emotions and transformed politics in the Weimar Republic.