NSB leader Anton Mussert liked to have NSB photographers record his official visits and inspections. He was the heart and soul of the movement and its success was largely due to him.At the provincial elections of 1935, the Dutch Nationaal Socialistische Beweging (NSB) led by Anton Mussert, attracted almost eight percent of the vote. The NSB was the main fascist and national socialist group in the Netherlands in the 1930s.
As in the rest of Europe, fascism and nationalism became increasingly influential in the Netherlands in response to the global economic crisis. The collapse of the markets following the Wall Street Crash in New York on 24 October 1929 sent unemployment souring worldwide, in the Netherlands too. The Dutch government clung to strict budget cuts as the answer and failed to solve the crisis. As in other European countries, the Dutch also had their anti-democratic parties with a rightwing agenda and a solution for the economic malaise that would eradicate old-fashioned and toothless traditional political structures and make a fresh start.
The painting shows the New Man ready with his flaming sword to take on the Enlightenment, democracy, capitalism and communism.
‘Drums beat throughout the land, so march with Jeugdstorm.’ Those were the opening lines of the Nationale Jeugdstorm anthem, the NSB’s youth movement. It was set up in 1934 modelled on the German Hitlerjugend movement and designed for boys and girls aged between ten and eighteen. In the 1930s, Nationale Jeugdstorm remained relatively small, but under the German occupation it flourished, with around 16,000 members in 1942.
NSB-leider Anton Mussert liet zijn dienstreizen en inspecties graag vastleggen door de fotodienst van de NSB. Mussert was de ziel van de NSB en het succes van de beweging was vooral aan hem te danken. Toen de NSB vanaf 1936 steeds openlijker antisemitisch en pro-Duits werd, nam zijn aanhang af. Tijdens de Duitse bezetting leek zijn ster weer te rijzen, maar werkelijke macht kreeg hij niet. Meteen na de bevrijding op 7 mei 1945 werd Mussert in Den Haag gevangen genomen. Hij werd ter dood veroordeeld. Het vonnis werd op 7 mei 1946 voltrokken op de Waalsdorpervlakte.