Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

Los Nacionales

[The Nationals]. Attributed to Juan Antonio Morales. Ministerio de Propaganda. Lithograph, 6 colors; 113 x 82 cm.

During the Spanish Civil War, both sides frequently accused each other of depending on the support of foreign aid and of being puppets of foreign powers. In this case, the poster contrasts the term Los Nacionales, which was used by the rebellious faction during the war, with several figures that represent the foreign countries from which they drew their support. In the center of the scene is a bishop representing the Catholic Church, which for the most part supported the military rebellion. To the left is a military figure who wears a fasces (the emblem of Fascism) on a blue sash, and thus is intended to represent Mussolini's Fascist Italy. To the right of the Italian military are two North African Moors; together with the three Moors that peer out from the portholes in the lower section of the image, they represent the Moroccan troops that participated in the war. In using these figures, the designer makes an appeal to a prejudice traditionally held in Spain against Moors. A more specific reason for the Moors to be derided in this Republican poster is the fact that they provided the enemy with the only truly organized and professional army in Spain during the first months of the war. They were also widely feared for their alleged brutality.

On the right side of the poster is the figure of a full-bellied capitalist with a bag of coins in his right hand and the Nazi insignia on his lapel. He represents Nazi Germany, which together with Italy heavily supported the Nationalists after recognizing them as the legitimate government of Spain on November 18, 1936. (Franco received news of this recognition by describing Germany and Italy, together with Portugal and Nationalist Spain, as "bulwarks of culture, civilization and Christianity in Europe") The figures that have been described all sit in a boat inscribed with the words Junta de Burgos and Lisboa (Lisbon). Burgos, a city north of Madrid, was the seat of the rebellious military government (or junta) during the war. The word Lisbon is a reference to the support received by Franco and the Nationalists from Portugal's authoritarian ruler, Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. From the middle of the boat emerges a gallows with a large bird perched on its top; the bird may be a vulture, or the eagle that Franco used as his insignia. From the gallows hangs a lynched map of Spain. Next to it are the words Arriba Espa§a (Up with Spain), a slogan used by Franco and his supporters during the war (and until the dictator's death in 1975). The juxtaposition of this slogan with the map sums up the effect that the Nationalists have on Spain in the mind of the author of the poster: their actions, embodied in their slogan, are leading the country to its death.

This poster was issued by the Ministry of Propaganda, which was one of the most active institutions in the production of propaganda posters in Republican Spain. It was created by the government of the socialist Francisco Largo Caballero on November 4, 1936, just two days before the central government left Madrid for Valencia. The ministry ceased to exist on May 17, 1937, when it was integrated into the Ministry of State. These dates provide the time frame for the design and publication of this poster.

The artist who designed this image was Juan Antonio Morales (1909-1984), one of a handful of important Spanish painters who participated in the design of propaganda posters during the war. Morales also fought in the war as a soldier and was active as an book illustrator.

 
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