stalin poster of the week 76: iraklii toidze, stalin will lead us to victory, 1943

1943 war poster of Stalin by Iraklii Toidze

Iraklii Toidze (Тоидзе, И.), Stalin will lead us to victory! (Сталин ведёт нас к победе!), 1943

 

Stalin poster of the week is a weekly excursion into the fascinating world of propaganda posters of Iosif Stalin, leader of the USSR from 1929 until his death in 1953.

Here, Anita Pisch will showcase some of the most interesting Stalin posters, based on extensive research in the archives of the Russian State Library, and analyse what makes these images such successful propaganda.

Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.

The city of Stalingrad, which had been renamed in Stalin’s honour after the Civil War, held a particular symbolic value in the Soviet regime. During the Great Patriotic War, Stalin was determined that he could not let the city named for him fall to the Germans,  and in 1942 Stalingrad became the scene of a fierce and bloody battle.

On 6 November the defenders of Stalingrad took an oath to Stalin:

Before our battle standards and the whole Soviet country, we swear that we will not besmirch the glory of Russian arms and will fight to the last. Under your leadership, our fathers won the Battle of Tsaritsyn, and under your leadership we will now win the great Battle of Stalingrad.

Iraklii Toidze’s ‘Stalin will lead us to victory!’ was released on 6 January 1943, a few weeks before the Soviet victory in Stalingrad, but already shows an increasing confidence that the tide of the war was turning in favour of the Soviets.

 

Detail of war poster of Stalin by Iraklii Toidze, 1943

Determined troops and the latest weaponry surge into battle, forging ahead towards Soviet victory

 

A giant Stalin strides across the battlefield at the head of his troops, equipped with the most modern weaponry, and supported by heavy armoury and the technological excellence of Soviet aviation.

Stalin’s face is determined, befitting his appellation as the ‘man of steel’. The steel-grey tones of the poster are broken up by the vivid red of the banner, which is picked up by the small red star on Stalin’s general’s cap.

 

Detail of war poster of Stalin by Iraklii Toidze, 1943

Phallic symbols accompany the great warrior into battle

 

The use of red diagonals gives the poster a sense of inexorable movement forward. Stalin looks unstoppable, his aura of power increased by the vaguely phallic-shaped cloud of smoke on his right shoulder — even the forces of nature are harnessed by the magnetic power of Stalin.

On 2 February 1943, the Germans troops at Stalingrad surrendered. Although the war had not been won, there was finally some good news to spread to the populace.

Anita Pisch‘s new book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 – 1953, is now available for free download through ANU Press open access, or to purchase in hard copy for $83. This lavishly illustrated book, featuring reproductions of over 130 posters, examines the way in which Stalin’s image in posters, symbolising the Bolshevik Party, the USSR state, and Bolshevik values and ideology, was used to create legitimacy for the Bolshevik government, to mobilise the population to make great sacrifices in order to industrialise and collectivise rapidly, and later to win the war, and to foster the development of a new type of Soviet person in a new utopian world.

Visit Anita Pisch’s website at www.anitapisch.com

 

 

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stalin poster of the week 75: georgii zarnitskii, workers stand to defend our beloved socialist motherland!, year unknown

Soviet war poster by Georgii Zarnitskii

Georgii Zarnitskii (Зарницкий, Г.), Workers stand to defend our beloved Socialist Motherland! (Трудью встанем на защиту нашей Любимой Социалистической Родины!), year unknown

 

Stalin poster of the week is a weekly excursion into the fascinating world of propaganda posters of Iosif Stalin, leader of the USSR from 1929 until his death in 1953.

Here, Anita Pisch will showcase some of the most interesting Stalin posters, based on extensive research in the archives of the Russian State Library, and analyse what makes these images such successful propaganda.

Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.

Stalin rarely appeared in images with any kind of enemy, although there are a few exceptions, including in a 1938 poster by Deni and Dolgorukov, and a 1941 poster by an unidentified artist.

A tiny medallion of Stalin and Lenin also appears in this curious undated war poster by Georgii Zarnitskii. During both the Civil War and the Great Patriotic War, the enemy was depicted as either brutal and animalistic, or cowardly and cartoon-like. In this poster, the enemy appears as cowardly.

Three-quarters of the picture plane consists of a fairly characteristic depiction of a young fighter (not in standard military uniform – he is a worker) holding a rifle and a long banner with a frieze of Lenin and Stalin and the words ‘For the motherland! For Stalin!’ emblazoned across it.

 

Detail of Soviet poster of Stalin and Lenin by Georgii Zarnitskii

This young defender of the Motherland is a worker, not a fighter.

 

This phrase was more than a mere tool for propaganda. Soldiers rushed into battle with this cry on their lips. As Ilya Ehrenburg recalls in his memoirs:

I was with an Andalusian detachment whose men fought to the death; they called it the ‘Stalin Battalion’. During the war years I had often heard the cry ‘For the Fatherland, for Stalin!’ The letters of many Italian and French heroes of the Resistance written on the eve of their execution ended with the words ‘Long Live Stalin!’ On his seventieth birthday A Frenchwoman sent Stalin the cap worn by her daughter who had been tortured to death by the Gestapo.*

In Zarnitskii’s poster, the backdrop is also full of fairly conventional imagery – the silhouettes of other fighters, rifles ready, bayonets thrust forward, and signs of successful Soviet industrialisation and agriculture in the background, the silos looking particularly phallic.

 

Detail of Soviet poster of Stalin and Lenin by Georgii Zarnitskii

A terrified German soldier cowers beneath the Soviet bombardment, another hides behind him, and we can see the tail end of a third German fleeing.

 

However the right edge of the poster, a section demarcated by the pole of the banner, is stark black with a depiction of small frightened enemies, two cowering, and the hind leg of one visible fleeing, in white outline.

Above the frightened enemy is a dogfight between aircraft, with smoke and falling debris. The caption to the poster is in large, bold type and reads: ‘Workers stand to defend our beloved Socialist Motherland!’

Thus, while the style of the major portion of the poster is conventional and heroic, the part of the poster devoted to the enemy is cartoon-like and slightly comical. The enemy looks anything but menacing.

* Ilya Ehrenburg. Men, Years – Life, Transl. by Tatiana Shebunina and Yvonne Kapp, London, MacGibbon and Kee, Vol. 5. P. 304.

Anita Pisch‘s book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 – 1953, is now available for free download through ANU Press open access, or to purchase in hard copy. This lavishly illustrated book, featuring reproductions of over 130 posters, examines the way in which Stalin’s image in posters, symbolising the Bolshevik Party, the USSR state, and Bolshevik values and ideology, was used to create legitimacy for the Bolshevik government, to mobilise the population to make great sacrifices in order to industrialise and collectivise rapidly, and later to win the war, and to foster the development of a new type of Soviet person in a new utopian world.

Dr Anita Pisch’s website can be found at www.anitapisch.com

stalin poster of the week 74: vasilii elkin, long live comrade stalin – banner of invincible soviet aviation!, 1939

1939 aviation poster of Stalin by Vasilii Elkin

Vasilli Elkin (Елкин, В.), Long live Comrade Stalin – banner of invincible Soviet aviation! (Да здравствует товарищ сталин – знамя непобедимой советской авиации!), 1939

 

Stalin poster of the week is a weekly excursion into the fascinating world of propaganda posters of Iosif Stalin, leader of the USSR from 1929 until his death in 1953.

Here, Anita Pisch will showcase some of the most interesting Stalin posters, based on extensive research in the archives of the Russian State Library, and analyse what makes these images such successful propaganda.

Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.

Vasilii Elkin’s aviation-themed poster celebrates Stalin far more conspicuously than it does aviation.

 

Detail of 1939 aviation poster of Stalin by Vasilii Elkin

Stalin looks down from the heavens protectively over the USSR’s finest pilots

 

The centre of the poster is dominated by a large red banner with a three-quarter view of Stalin’s head, sketched in black-and-white. Stalin is positioned so that he looks down over the celebrated pilots and two of the three globes on the poster, as well as some of the aircraft and the red silhouette of the Kremlin.

The large red banner hovers protectively over all. The sky is full of aircraft, all heading up to the left of the poster, as does the string which anchors the banner, which also has the appearance of a line marking a flight route and a line on a graph.

 

Detail of 1939 aviation poster of Stalin by Vasilii Elkin

Transparent globes show the routes of record-breaking Soviet flights

 

The three semi-transparent globes in the top of the poster show the routes of epic Soviet flights, while the text in the top right-hand corner gives the precise factual data regarding these flights including the dates of the flights, route taken, class of aircraft, and the names of the crew. Each globe is also encircled by text giving details of the flight it depicts.

The text makes it clear that it is Stalin who deserves credit for these achievements, not the aviators themselves. The use of maps, graphs, photographs and a barrage of facts lends a documentary verisimilitude to the poster material.

Anita Pisch‘s new book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 – 1953, is now available for free download through ANU Press open access, or to purchase in hard copy for $83. This lavishly illustrated book, featuring reproductions of over 130 posters, examines the way in which Stalin’s image in posters, symbolising the Bolshevik Party, the USSR state, and Bolshevik values and ideology, was used to create legitimacy for the Bolshevik government, to mobilise the population to make great sacrifices in order to industrialise and collectivise rapidly, and later to win the war, and to foster the development of a new type of Soviet person in a new utopian world.

You can visit Dr. Anita Pisch’s personal website at www.anitapisch.com

stalin poster of the week 73: unidentified artist, defence of the ussr, 1938

1938 poster of Stalin, Voroshilov and Hitler

Unidentified artist, Defence of the USSR (Оборона С.С.С.Р.), 1938

Stalin poster of the week is a weekly excursion into the fascinating world of propaganda posters of Iosif Stalin, leader of the USSR from 1929 until his death in 1953.

Here, Anita Pisch will showcase some of the most interesting Stalin posters, based on extensive research in the archives of the Russian State Library, and analyse what makes these images such successful propaganda.

Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.

Beginning in 1938, several posters were published that highlight Stalin’s achievements in the Civil War.

In poster no. 13 from this series, titled ‘Defence of the USSR’, Stalin and Kliment Voroshilov are depicted together as equals in an informal, comradely scene.

 

Detail of 1938 poster of Stalin

Stalin and Voroshilov look remarkably relaxed about the prospects of war in Europe

 

Voroshilov was the centre of his own personality cult and was honoured with ‘Voroshilov rations for the army’, and the ‘Voroshilov Marksman’s Prize’, as well as featuring on trading cards with other Soviet leaders.

Voroshilov’s birthday was celebrated in elaborate fashion, with Stalin giving a famous speech, and he was the subject of a historical book published by English author Dennis Wheately in October 1937 — Red eagle: the story of the Russian Revolution and of Klementy Efremovitch Voroshilov, marshal and commissar for defence of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics.

In poster no. 13, Stalin wears his unadorned, military-style tunic as head of the Party and the nation, while Voroshilov in full uniform is clearly a military leader. They are depicted as standing for peace, and as defenders of the world against fascism.

The poster text consists of Stalin’s words on the need for preparedness and defence, which follow two quotes from Lenin on the same theme.

 

Detail of 1938 poster of Stalin and Voroshilov

1937 cartoon by Boris Efimov depicting Hitler and Trotskii cowering together under the bear-like fist of the NKVD

 

Famous cartoonist Boris Efimov’s sketch at the bottom left of the poster depicts the huge fist of the NKVD (The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs/Secret Police) crushing a monstrous but small enemy while Lev Trotskii and Adolf Hitler cower together in the corner.

Trostkii has now been transformed from the creator and champion of the Red Army into its enemy, in league with Germany.

 

Detail of 1938 poster of Stalin and Voroshilov

A warning to the world to think twice about attacking the Soviet Union

 

Scenes of military parades on Red Square, and a sky full of aircraft illustrate Soviet might and preparedness as Europe moves closer to the brink of war.

Anita Pisch‘s new book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 – 1953, is now available for free download through ANU Press open access, or to purchase in hard copy for $83. This lavishly illustrated book, featuring reproductions of over 130 posters, examines the way in which Stalin’s image in posters, symbolising the Bolshevik Party, the USSR state, and Bolshevik values and ideology, was used to create legitimacy for the Bolshevik government, to mobilise the population to make great sacrifices in order to industrialise and collectivise rapidly, and later to win the war, and to foster the development of a new type of Soviet person in a new utopian world.

You can visit Dr. Anita Pisch’s personal website at www.anitapisch.com