Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

¡Ayuda! A las familias de los combatientes del norte. Asturias. Octubre 1934-1937. U.H.P.

[Help! The families of the combatants of the north. Asturias. October 1934-1937. U.H.P.]. Signed: ChechÉ. Rojo de España. Gráficas Valencia Intervenido, U.G.T. C.N.T. Lithograph, 4 colors; 100 x 68 cm.

Like the previous poster, this one refers to the campaign of Asturias, a region in the north of Spain that fell to the Nationalist army on October 21, 1937. A parallel was drawn at the time between the defense of Asturias and an earlier event of great symbolic importance: the revolutionary strike led by the coal miners of the region that had taken place three years earlier, in October 1934. This poster connects the events of 1934 and 1937 both through the inscription on the image and by calling attention to the monumental figure of the miner as the leader of the struggle. The determined expression of the miner, and the suggestion of movement created by the lifting of the left shoulder and the cropped arm, result in a powerful and heroic image. The call made in the poster by the issuing entity, the Socorro Rojo de España is for assistance to the families of the fighters, presumably in helping with their evacuation, or in donating food and other materials for their sustenance. The implication is that the determination of the miners in their new struggle, combined with their revolutionary efforts in 1934, make them worthy of assistance.

Among the most dominant images in this poster are the initials UHP, which also serve as posts for the barbed wire fence on the lower part of the scene. UHP stands for Unión de Hermanos Proletarios, or according to some accounts, ¡Uníos! Hermanos Proletarios (Union of Proletarian Brothers or Unite! Proletarian Brothers). This was a slogan used during the war in an attempt to override the differences that frequently caused serious confrontations between the Communists, Socialists and Anarchists. For the more revolutionary segments of the population, this was a positive call, and thus its use in images such as this one. It could also have more negative connotations, as when it was popularly used to refer to goods confiscated abusively and illegally According to one witness, people sometimes referred to cars by saying, "that car is UHP." This meant that it had been confiscated and that its driver was not its rightful owner.

This poster probably dates to October 1937, the latest date on the inscription. It must have been issued shortly before the fall of Asturias to the Nationalists on October 21. The author who signs the poster, Cheché, is not known. The composition of this scene is very similar to poster number 11, which was also put out by the Socorro Rojo de España, and is likewise inscribed "Asturias 1934-1937." During the war, propaganda posters were often designed with little direction, with artists responding to nothing but their own artistic impulse and political intuition. The similarities between these two posters suggests that in this case things were different. Either both artists were in contact, or they were following instructions, presumably from the Socorro Rojo.

 
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