Grabad en vuestro pecho esta consigna: Atacar es Vencer
[Remember in your heart this watchword: To attack is to win]. Signed: Oliver.. Junta Delegada de Defensa de Madrid, Delegación de Propaganda y Prensa. Sindicato de Profesionales de las Bellas Artes, U.G.T. Gráficas Reunidas, U.H.P. Madrid. Lithograph, 3 colors; 100 x 70 cm.
Many of the posters in
the Southworth Collection focus on the defensive nature of the battle
against the rebels. The Republicans were defending the legitimately-elected
Popular Front government against a coup d'état staged by
generals Francisco Franco and Emilio Mola in July 1936. More often
than not, the rebel military had the upper hand in the battle-front.
In contrast, this poster sends the message that attacking the enemy
is the way to win the war. The offensive message of this poster
is reinforced by the image of two steel-like soldiers who tightly
grip their rifles and hold them resolutely in the air, ready to
advance against the Nationalist forces. The red hearts on the soldiers'
chests reflect the inner strength that is needed to fight the enemy.
The repetition of the stylized soldiers contributes to the power
of the image.
Despite the encouragement
of posters like this one, loyalist forces were unsuccessful at mounting
offensives against the rebels throughout the war. In fact, they
did not organize their first significant offensive, the Battle of
Brunete, until an entire year after the war had begun. The failure
of this and other loyalist offensives such as the one staged in
Asturias in August of 1936 and the Battle of the Ebro in the summer
of 1938 confirms the weakness of the Republican army and its inability
to stage a successful offensive against their enemy.
Little is known about
Oliver, the artist who designed this poster, except that he worked
in Madrid for the Sindicato de Profesionales de las Bellas Artes
and the Junta Delegada de Defensa. This poster dates between
November 31, 1936 and April 21, 1937, the dates when the issuing
entity, the Junta Delegada de Defensa de Madrid, was in existence.