Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

¡Esto es el fascismo! miseria... destrucción... persecución... y muerte

[This is fascism! Misery, destruction, persecution and death]. Socorro Rojo Internacional. Signed: Padial. Socorro Rojo de España, Comisión de Propaganda. Lit. S. Dura Socializada, U.G.T. C.N.T. Valencia. Photographic print and lithograph, 4 colors; 100 x 71 cm.

This poster was issued by Socorro Rojo Internacional. Established in Spain in 1934, SRI was one of the many international organizations that provided essential services and supplies to war-torn nations. A powerful denunciation of the fascists in Spain, this poster illustrates the agenda of the Russian-dominated Communists who wanted to support the Spanish Loyalists without appearing revolutionary. Fearing the increasing threat of Germany under Hitler, Stalin did not want to alienate democratic nations like England, France and the United States by helping to stage a revolution in Spain. Rather, Stalin hoped to use the Spanish Civil War to show these countries exactly what fascism meant, with the expectation that they would quickly become his allies in the international battle against the extreme right.

In this poster, the elements of fascism are reduced to their most basic and brutal level. The image is organized around an imposing black swastika. In the top left quadrant of the swastika, a photograph of a poor mother trying to soothe her crying children is placed under the heading "misery." The portrayal of woman in her role as mother is a tragic image that was commonly used in loyalist propaganda. The quadrant directly to the right deals with the "destruction" caused by the rebels. As the photograph of statues reduced to rubble suggests, the massive aerial bombardment during the war damaged a number of Spain's monuments, despite efforts to protect them. A common accusation made by the Loyalists was that rebel troops intentionally bombed some of Spain's most valued treasures, such as the Prado Museum and the National Library. The last two sections of the poster refer to the tremendous injury and loss of life experienced during the war. The "persecution" of prisoners who are being marched down the street with raised arms and the "death" of Spaniards whose blood flows on the cobblestone street alludes to the tragic ending of the fascist nightmare. By utilizing rivers of blood that gush from dead bodies and form pools at the bottom of the poster, the artist emphasizes the physical suffering caused by Fascism. The caption at the top of the poster, composed of brush strokes that seem to have been dipped in blood, states simply the artist's message: "This is Fascism!"

By incorporating actual photographs from the war, Antonio López Padial, the artist who designed this poster, created a powerful anti-Fascist image. Little is known about Padial except that he worked for Socorro Rojo Internacional during the war.

 
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