I now turn to a more detailed examination of party and state strategies for representing the personality cult visually in public space, The escalation of the Cold War impelled Moscow to step up pressure on SVAG to intensify political propaganda in East Germany.
(41) During an inspection, the employees of SVAG's Information Bureau compared the military command's buildings with "booths at a trade fair" and "kindergartens." Reports pointed to excessive use of garlands and portraits, flags and banners, which, the writers thought, gave the population the impression of "political kitsch," "farce," and "a circus." (42)
Thus one of SVAG'S political dispatches from Gera reported that "reactionaries are winning over 1 2- to 1 5-year-olds, who scrawl fascist slogans on the walls after night falls." (85) In Soviet-style societies, night remained more anonymous and therefore provided a more autonomous niche in social life, despite the regime's ubiquitous efforts to subordinate it to the daytime order of the dictatorship.
The only place where drawing parallels between the dictators or making an unwitting comparison was permissible was in SVAG's internal political dispatches.
On the one hand, gestures of iconoclasm in public places were automatically addressed to the representatives of SVAG. On the other hand, these gestures were an appeal to a broad swath of society, calling for solidarity and national unity in the struggle with the Soviet occupying forces and SED authorities.
(24) For example, "Proekt postanovleniia TsK VKP(b) 'O rabote Upravleniia propagandy Sovetskoi voennoi administratsii v Germanii" [before 25 December 1946], in SVAG: Upravlenie propagandy (informatsii) i S.
(26) "Directive of the Head of the Administration of Propaganda of SVAG, S.