Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

El receptor de radio es el portavoz de la cultura en el hogar del obrero! Respetad su propriedad! Propagad su adquisición!

[The radio brings culture to the worker's home. Respect its ownership. Promote its purchase]. . Delegación de Propaganda y Prensa del C.E.P. Valencia Lithograph, 3 colors; 70 x 48 cm.

The message of this poster (c. 1937) is identical to that of poster 30 in this exhibit. The text advises viewers not to steal radios and to protect private property. Unlike poster 30, which shows a worker trying to steal a radio, this poster depicts a family happily listening to the radio. Propaganda encouraging workers to respect private property was not rare during the war era. After all, it was a revolutionary setting in which the threat to individual possessions was very real, ranging from more legitimate claims on property by workers who aimed to collectivize, to outright theft by those using the war as an excuse to plunder. The reason to single out the radio as the object to be protected may lie in the tremendous importance that the radio had during the war: its powerful presence drew people together, animated them for battle, or soothed their worries about casualties. A contemporary observer describes how Spaniards sat breathlessly around their radios, waiting to hear the latest news about the Rebel approach on the capital city of Madrid: "Thousands upon thousands of bodies sat tensely [by the radio] in eager anticipation. In the sky and on earth there was a cosmic silence."

The radio not only provided a way to rally one's own forces, it also afforded the ability to shake the other side. For the first time, the radio supplied a way to communicate with those on the opposite side of the front. For example, to scare the citizens of Madrid in the days before their invasion of the capital, the Rebels broadcast radio programs describing the mythical entry of Franco into Madrid on a white horse and the places in the city where they would punish Republican supporters. In addition to being a powerful propaganda tool, the radio also played a key role in the war effort itself. Both sides used the radio to transmit secret orders and to listen in on enemy reports. Occasionally, military leaders even broadcast false information in order to trick their opponents, who were most likely listening in.

The author of this anonymous poster may be an anarchist artist from Valencia by the name of Juan Borrás Casanova (1909-1987). This is suggested by the striking similarity of both the design and type of figure in this poster and others signed by Casanova. Besides contributing to the design of posters during the war, Casanova participated in the Spanish Pavilion in the International Exhibition in Paris in 1937.

 
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