The Science Work
Site is for sale:
Category: History

Political poster of civil war in Spain (1936-1939) as means of visual promotion

seriya History. Political science. Economy. Computer science. 2010. No. 7 (78). Release 14

UDC 94(4)


The civil war in Spain of 1936-1939 caused active propaganda war, both in Europe, and in the country. This aspect of the Spanish conflict is almost not investigated in domestic historical science.

Propaganda opposition around events in Spain in many respects promoted 1936-1939 formation of an image of the enemy in the European public opinion on the eve of World War II. The poster was one of widespread means of promotion of that time. Using posters of republican and Franco camps as a historical source, authors analyze forms and methods of internal political visual promotion, mark out graphic, psychological, ideological features of their use, trace on concrete examples of regularity of impact of the poster on consciousness for the purpose of achievement of propaganda effect.

Promotion define usually as "the purposeful and systematic aspiration to form perception, to manipulate knowledge and to direct behavior for achievement of the reaction promoting realization of the purpose desirable to the propagandist" 1. The poster - a type of graphics, the bright image on a large leaf with the laconic explanatory text which is carried out in the propaganda, advertizing, information or educational purposes. The poster can also act as means of political propaganda. It occurs when it becomes an object of application of propaganda influence, i.e. purposeful distribution of the political ideas in society.

Promotion is qualified on means and forms of final psychological perception: printing, visual, audiovisual, evident and other forms. The poster and the leaflet - striking examples of visual promotion. An eye, as we know, holds a specific place among all sense organs: if to take all information which is perceived by the person then for 100% for the share of sight about 80% of information obtained by an organism izvne2 will fall. Other feature of the poster (besides efficiency of impact on consciousness) as object psychological influence is existence on its main field of a bright inscription - the motto, an appeal, statement or other situation with request for response. At the same time the propaganda effect amplifies. The integral quality of the poster it is possible to call mass character. It, in turn, provides systematicity of propaganda influence as one of conditions of its success.

Promotion can exist both in democratic, and in authoritative society, criterion of freedom of speech and opinions in this case - not a decisive factor. Promotion is the fact only in society information - communities of individuals for which information becomes goods, and technical means of its distribution allow to satisfy the increased inquiries of addressees. It is correct to speak about existence of promotion in the European countries since the beginning of folding in-

N of N. of FOMIChEV11 of N.Z. of BROSOVA21




1 S. Dzhouett, О&Доннел V. [Electronic resource]. Access mode: http:// of
2 [Electronic resource]. Access mode: http: / / VIP. KM. RU

Series History. Political science. Economy. Computer science. 2010. No. 7 (78). Release 14

formational society. Promotion gradually got modern forms in process of improvement of means of giving and information processing. The extraordinary surge in propaganda influence in the latest time is characteristic, first of all, of the periods of sharp cataclysms - revolutions, wars, economic and political crises. As the researcher of political mythology T. Evgenyeva, "during the periods of economic crises notes, wars and revolutions is, as a rule, time of unknown rise of images, archaic by the nature, which are built in the system of images symbols as steady elements of collective unconscious - archetypes" 3. The similar trend was shown by World War I of 1914-1918 which was followed by the conflict of ideologies the civil war in Russia of 1917-1922, the global economic crisis of 1929-1933 and the sharp social conflicts in Europe and Russia which led to establishment of the totalitarian modes in Germany, the USSR, Italy and a row authoritative in Central and Eastern Europe. The following link of this process was the Civil war in Spain of 1936-1939 - "the first mass information" war in the history. It became also the main field of working off of a number of forms and methods of promotion, a decisive stage of collision of ideologies before World War II.

The civil war in Spain of 1936-1939 was caused by especially internal reasons, but it inflamed in the conditions of the polarized Europe of the second half of the 1930th. Internationalization of the conflict only strengthened this trend. The active help to the Republic was rendered by the USSR. Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany took part in the armed intervention on the party of the Spanish nationalists. Great Britain and France took a position of "non-interference" to affairs of Spain (at a real active role in the Spanish question) 4. In many respects similar arrangement of the international forces, on condition of considerable influence of a factor of internationalization, promoted defeat of the Republic in April, 1939 and to establishment in Spain of the authoritarian regime which was in power in the country up to 1975

At a research of problems of promotion in the Civil war in Spain of 1936-1939 the posters can be selected as one of mass sources. Now in broad access there are no generalizing albums of the Spanish posters of times of Civil war of 1936-1939. Considerable opportunities are given by the Internet, but often electronic resources are capable to provide only the fragmentary, even chaotic and insufficiently systematized option of acquaintance with posters and drawings, without the corresponding information maintenance. The majority of the known images was created by propagandists of the republican camp that promotes some unilaterality of their analytical generalization.

All political posters of the Republic of times of civil war can be subdivided into devoted to the intra Spanish problems and events international. Their final addressee could be not necessarily within the country - many graphic works of the Republic are turned to the people of Great Britain, France, the USSR, all international community. We considered and analyzed over 90 posters of the Spanish Republic and the camp of the nationalists of 1936-1939 acting in this research as a historical source.

The poster as peculiar "tracing-paper" of historical events is capable to help to study in more detail how internal and external aspects of the Spanish conflict, and actually promotion as the phenomenon, to mark out graphic, psychological, ideological regularities, to find certain universal characteristics with a careful eye to the subsequent development of the political poster as means the visa -

3 T.V. Evgenyeva. Socio-political bases of formation of political mythology / / Modern political mythology: maintenance, mechanisms, functions / Sost.: A.P. Logunov, T.V.M. Evgenyeva, 1996. Page 23.
4 See, for example: By small V.V. Sudba of the Republic it was decided not in Madrid: from history of the English Soviet relations on the eve of the II world war. 1936-1939. Belgorod, 1999.

alny promotion. The second direction of the specified problem will interest us more.

Political growth of fascism and totalitarianism became the most important reality of the 30th of the 20th century. The Spanish people one of the first in Europe suffered the increased power and aggressive aspirations of the fascist countries, having fallen a victim of the italo-German military intervention.

A number of posters of the Spanish Republic is devoted to fight against fascism and its manifestations during civil war. In this sense the poster "It Is Fascism!" (1936) (Appendix 1) is indicative. The title of this graphic work is presented in the form of the lines executed by a brush, paint is stylized under blood with the simple and clear inscription "It Is Fascism!". In the foreground the swastika - a generalized character of fascism in general, and not just German, its Nazi option is represented. Inscriptions in four fields formed by swastika elements: grief, destruction, repressions, death. A picture the evidence of cruelty and violence in the placed photos - sufferings of civilians supplement, the destroyed buildings, corpses of the victims, crowds of refugees. The work is made in four primary colors: red, white, black - the brightest and defiant and also golubom5.

The poster "The Bear of Madrid Will Destroy Fascism" (November, 1936 - April, 1937) which is consciously executed in black-and-white scale is widely also known. At the same context there is an image of a swastika here. But this time the work adjusts on the active resistance of aggression, without appealing to feeling of pity or rejection as in the previous case. The bear - a symbol of Madrid since Reconkista - tramples down and destroys svastiku6.

The poster "Break Fascism!" (1936) is even more consecutive, the black-and-white color scheme is also inherent in it. The leg in a Catalan country sandal is brought over an open symbol of Nazism: in this case authors tried to transfer a certain class implication of a situation - against intervention most of the working people battles - the fascism should not pobedit7. It is necessary to pay special attention to one of widely duplicated posters of times of civil war in Spain of 1936-1939 - "Nationalists" (1937, 6 flowers). It can be carried to a caricature genre. The main idea of the work - to show a direct connection of the Spanish nationalists with Catholic church, on the one hand, and interventionists - with another. Each character of the field of the poster personified forces helping rebels. In the center of the poster - the satirical image of the Catholic bishop. The Catholic church supported rebels - "a stronghold of civilization and Christianity in Europe". At the left the military in the form stylized under the Italian is represented. On the background - two figures of the Moroccan interventionists. The person with eye-glasses and in a business suit, obviously, - the representative of the upper German bourgeoisie representing Nazism. The poster is complemented with fine details - a badge with a swastika, a gun in the Moroccan's hand, the gun and kernels - symbols of war and murder. Also it is necessary to pay attention to the inscription "Arriba Espania" on the plate in a signature stamp beak - the traditional motto and the formalized greeting of the Spanish nationalists, and the names "Burgos" and "Lisbon" onboard the ship - i.e., those centers which were used by nationalists as rear bases. All figures are presented in phantasmagoric, comic tone that brightly contrasts with the violence symbols which are present on plakate8.

In all listed cases the image of the enemy is expressed very accurately, presented as something uniform - neither interventionists, nor actually nationalists are not allocated in a special way. It is one of lines of poster painting of the Spanish Republic. In it is given -

5 "It is fascism!" [Electronic resource]. Access mode: http: / / orpheus.ucsd/eduspeccoUvisfrontasturiaspost_html
6 "A bear of Madrid will destroy fascism" / / In the same place.
7 "Break fascism!" / / In the same place.
8 "Los Nacionales". Bennasar B. La Guerra di Spagna. Una tragedie nazionale. Torino, 2004. P. 242.

Series History. Political science. Economy. Computer science. 2010. No. 7 (78). Release 14

the number a case is shown propaganda reception of identification, for subsequent "demonizing" protivnika9. The posters united by this subject were not always so emotional, but their registration distinguishes a small variety of a color palette, inscriptions are similar to the slogans or a guide to action, and use of photos as a composition element more likely - as the evidence of disasters of war and fascist intervention.

It is known that since September, 1936 in London the Committee on non-interference to the civil war in Spain began to function. This illegitimate international organization included 27 countries and set the task of settlement of the Spanish conflict without application of power methods. With its help the coalition governments of Baldwin (1935-1937), Chamberlain (1937-1940) in Great Britain and the governments of the People's Front of Blum (1936-1937), Shotana (1937-1938) in France, following in foreign policy the course "pacification", actually promoted "suffocation" of the Spanish Republic. Other group of the republican political posters reflecting foreign policy aspects of the conflict blamed non-interference to the conflict of the western countries, first of all, of Great Britain and France. It in total with fascist intervention undermined an economic component of resistance of the Republic and put the lawful government of the People's Front on the same level with rebels, both in terms of legitimacy, and in terms of implementation of the foreign trade operations (ban of purchases of weapon, ammunition and strategic raw materials).

The poster "A suffocation of the Spanish people is interesting in this plan. The true purpose behind the back of a neutrality" (1937). The poster is issued in three flowers - white, green, brown. On it the Iberian peninsula, Europe, America, Africa are schematically represented. The convention of contents of the poster drawing was shown also that on the place where there have to be Pyrenees, the passage separating Spain from Europe and from the whole world is represented. The main idea of this art and constructive decision - to emphasize isolation, isolation of the Spanish Republic - both in economic, and in diplomatic sense, its hopelessness almost alone to combat a mutiny and fascist intervention. Also at the poster there are schematical images of the enterprises (both military, and civil industry) related to the Spanish nationalists, both at Europe, and at America, contours put outlines of the North African region - base of the Moroccan mercenaries of Franco, striking power myatezhnikov10. Continues a subject of inaction of the international community in the face of sufferings of the Spanish people the poster "Help Madrid" (to. 1936 - N of 1937), executed in black-and-white color scale. The photo of the civilians escaping from aviation bombing under a bridge arch here in the foreground. The composition is made so that to cause pity, sympathy, compassion. A refrain on given and many other posters of similar contents inscription "What Are You Doing, to Prevent It?" 11 follows.

The same name was carried by the leaflet "What are you doing to stop it? World under the threat. Make efforts in fight against fascism!" (1937) (Appendix 2), issued in four-colored scale. On the poster the map of Europe is represented. Two blood-stained hands with the daggers clamped in fists are going to stick them into the Iberian peninsula. Hands accompany two symbolical images of the Italian and German fascism - a lecturing sheaf & lt; ^асЫо" and swastika. The text is written in "Esperanto". The poster was in broad use in the territory of the Republic. Esperanto is consciously used as poster language not to tread on national corns of Catalans, Basques, etc. nationalities, in the majority under -

9 See for example: V. Krysko. Secrets of war of nerves (purposes, tasks, methods, forms, experience). M, 1999.
10 "Suffocation of the Spanish people" [Electronic resource]. Access mode: http: / / orpheus.ucsd/eduspeccoUvisfrontasturiaspost_html
11 "Help Madrid" / / In the same place.

holding the Republic. This leaflet also appeals to the help from the democratic states, directly indicating two main responsible for intervention - Germany and Italiyu12. Poster "Today Spain, Tomorrow World!" (1938) executed with use of black, red and blue colors is interesting. Spain and France, the last, according to authors of the poster - the most probable following victim of fascist aggression are schematically outlined. There is at the poster an image of corpses of the victims of political repressions, and as a generalized character of fascism and war - Hitler and the military aircraft going towards Frantsii13. The last two posters especially accurately preached the idea of need of opposition of fascist intervention by the integrated forces of all international community. The final addressee on propaganda images of this look, obviously, was outside Spain - the appeal is turned to the whole world. Posters of this series are distinguished by a considerable share of an expression, the bright, memorable images, frequent use as element of design of schematical maps with the indication of any given regions to some extent connected with the Spanish conflict of 1936-1939. Also inscriptions addresses are characteristic, an important detail is presence of symbols of violence, disasters, wars - aviation bombing, blood, corpses of the killed, etc.

Are opposite on sense and in the general direction of propaganda influence - the republican posters devoted to the help from the USSR and a number of the charity and anti-fascist international organizations. Such idea the poster "contains the USSR. Komsomol. Are grateful to your donations" (1936, 3 colors). It is known that the Soviet Komsomol ship - one of the ships which was directly involved in transportation of cargoes for the Spanish republic (in 1937 it was sunk) 14. Besides, in the USSR, fund raising campaigns in favor of republican Spain were organized - what it was reported in the field of the poster about. The image also includes an emblem of the Soviet Naval Forces, and removed in the sea korablya15. The idea of the international solidarity with the Spanish Republic is very close to this subject. This issue is touched by the poster "Solidarity with the Spanish Republic of All Countries" (1937, 4 colors). The allegorical image of freedom of the Republic - a silhouette of the female figure holding a staff - any flag, and flags of many countries of the world which citizens helped to a degree the Republic or sympathized with it. Also schematic transfer of the map of the most part of the Old World is symbolical so that panels of flags to close the alleged location of Germany and Italy - the countries of arising fascist and Nazi "axis" and its "umirotvoritel" - Great Britain and Frantsiyu16.

A number of posters is devoted to activity in Spain of the period of civil war of the Red Cross, etc. International Humanitarian Organizations. It is possible to give the leaflet "How Did You Help Banks of Blood?" (1936, 4 colors) as an example (Appendix 3). On it the wounded republican soldier is represented. Also it is necessary to pay attention to two fingers which are symbolically supporting its figure - an allegory of care and participation in the fate of the victims of war. On the background the nurse of the Red Cross is depicted. The poster is devoted to the company of donorship in the Republic. Red color of the field of the poster - color of blood - brightly contrasts with cold blue and chyornym17.

12 "What are you doing to stop it? World under the threat. Make efforts in fight against fascism" / / In the same place.
13 "Today Spain, tomorrow world" / / In the same place.
14 See for example: Yu. Rybalkin. Operation "X" and Soviet military aid of Republican Spain (1936-1939). M, 2000.
15 "USSR. Komsomol. Are grateful to your donations" [An electronic resource]. Access mode: http: / / orpheus.ucsd/eduspecco] lvisfrontasturiaspost_html
16 "Solidarity with the Spanish Republic. Business of all countries" / / In the same place.
17 "How you helped banks of blood? Buying the ticket, you will participate in this philanthropic action" / / In the same place.

The leaflet "The international Red cross continues a humanitarian subject. Everywhere, where it is necessary". On it the figure of the employee of this organization is stylistically traced. Having postponed a rifle, he marks places where it is required humanitarian pomoshch18 on the Spain map.

For poster graphics of this type, united by scope of international campaigns, positive for the Spanish Republic, a number of the common characteristic features takes place. In the field of the poster often there are many graphic objects. Artists used a significant amount of flowers. Images also very emotionally of an expressivna, are imbued with the uniform idea of gratitude to forces helping the Spanish Republic.

As typical performing visual promotion of nationalists it is possible to lead the poster "To army: bread, country, justice" (1938, 3 colors) (Appendix 4). At the leaflet there are symbols of Catholic kings (and also "phalanxes") - combiners of Spain - a yoke and 5 crossed arrows. The appeal placed in the poster field is short and clear. In color registration only the most memorable colors - red, black, white are used. The imprinted hand squeezes a rifle - a fight symbol, allegorical representation of armed forces nationalist lagerya19. The poster "Phalanx Voice — a Voice of Spain" is similar in the general motive (1939, 3 colors) - the inscription in its field especially emphasizes the main ideologem of nationalists - unity of Spain. At delineation there is color scale of a flag of Franco Spain - red and yellow colors. In this case propaganda reception otozhdestvleniya20 is used. The poster "Nationalist Spain" (1939, 4 colors) heroizes Franco. On it is mute many people, in design to the leaflet - a large number of flags, but in the foreground - a figure of the victorious caudillo with a tape from flowers of national flag through ple-cho21 are represented. To the general spirit of Franco poster painting there corresponds also the work "War Is Ended" (1939, 3 colors) got by pathos gained in civil war pobedy22.

Visual poster promotion of the nationalist camp was also directed to "demonizing" of opponents, "identification" of the lawful government of the People's Front with "Bolsheviks", "barbarians", etc. The style of leaflets of frankist distinguishes patheticalness, glorification of the identity of Spanish "caudillo" - Free, often populist slogans, use in poster painting of symbolics of "phalanx" (the party uniting all right radicals), the appeal to the historical past - first of all, by an era of the termination of Reconkista and Catholic kings (end of the 15th century).

In many respects the poster - truthful and expressional reflection of real events - and, at the same time, their rather tendentious transfer. The Spanish war of 1936-1939 became the first experience of anti-fascist fight as well in the information plan. Republicans sought to position the policy (including, and external) as directed to upholding of universal values from threat of fascism (with which identified the opponents), nationalists - as response to threat of "bolshevization" of Christian civilization per se and Spain, traditional values, in particular.

Thus, the propaganda component of poster painting of times of war of 1936-1939 in Spain is very interesting and instructive. At the state-of-the-art review of separate groups of republican and Franco posters it is possible to isolate a number of propaganda receptions and methods, psychological regularities,

18 "International Red cross. Everywhere, where it is necessary" / / In the same place.
19 "To army: bread, country, justice" / / In the same place.
20 "A phalanx voice - a voice of Spain" / / In the same place.
21 "Nationalist Spain". [Electronic resource]. Access mode: http: /
"War is ended by
22. Subsidies for the military personnel". [Electronic resource]. Access mode: http: / / orpheus.ucsd/eduspeccollvisfrontasturiaspost_html].

Series History. Political science. Economy. Computer science. 2010. No. 7 (78). Release 14

the final addressees / recipients applied to giving to any given graphic object of bigger efficiency of impact on consciousness. It is "identification", "demonizing", "appeal" (to pity, compassion, conscience, national feeling, common sense), designing of "an image of the enemy", "instruction", symbolical character and allegoricalness, grotesqueness of the image. As for concrete methods of achievement of propaganda effect, skillfully picked up color scale, creation of the expressive, memorable images, collective allegories (for example, a swastika, a yoke and five crossed arrows, etc.), the instruction on scale, globality of events (use of foreign flags, schematical cards), steady positive or negative images, conscious laconicism of the text and open populism became them. A certain universalism and considerable degree of an expression and propaganda influence is inherent in considerable number of graphic objects of times of Civil war in Spain of 1936-1939.

Appendix 1

1 2
1. [It is fascism! Grief, destruction, repressions 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, photo and lithograph, 4 colors; 100 x 71 cm.
2. [What are you doing to stop it? The world under the threat, Make efforts in fight against fascism!].

Graf. Ultra Lithograph, 4 colors; 109 x 78 cm

3. [How you helped banks of blood? Buying the ticket, you participate in this philanthropic action] Comisión Organizadora Hospitales de Sangre y Guarderías de Niños del Sindicato Unico Regional de Peritos y Tecnicos Industriales, C.N.T. - A.I.T. Lithograph, 4 colors; 153 x 104 cm.
4. [To army: country, bread and justice]. J. Cabanas. Departmento de Plastica, Servicio Nacional de Propaganda, lithograph, 98 x 68 cm


Belgorod State University e-mail:


The Civil war in Spain 1936-1939 caused active propagandist struggle, both in Europe, and in the same country. This aspect of the Spanish conflict is almost not investigated in the domestic historical science.

Propagandist conflict around events in Spain 1936-1939 promoted formation of an image of the enemy in the European public opinion in many respects before the Second World War. The poster was one of the widespread means of propaganda at that time. Authors use posters of republican as well as Franco’s camps as historical sources. They analyze forms and methods of internal political visual propagation, allocate graphic, psychological, ideological features of their usage, trace on concrete examples some laws of political poster’s influence on consciousness with the purpose of achievement of propaganda effect.

Edward Oliver Christopher
Other scientific works: