Soviet Propaganda Posters

Graphic Arts GA2010.01183

Graphic Arts GA 2010.01186

In 2000, Oliver Langenberg, Class of 1935, donated nine Soviet propaganda posters from the 1930s to our collection. These huge, exceedingly rare posters document the national effort to inspire the population to embrace the collective spirit of the Communist regime in all aspects of industrial, agrarian, social, and political reform. The paper is very fragile but the condition remains very good. Here are a few examples. The description is quoted from the labels on the verso of each poster.

Graphic Arts GA2010.01185

Top left: “The Leninist young Communist league was and is the young reserve of the revolution” (Josef Stalin). Stalin is shown surrounded by a cross-section of Soviet youth with the profile of Lenin silhouetted above them. He is shown with a group of young people, one in naval uniform. Predominant colors are browns with a red flag showing the outline of Lenin and red lettering. Size: 24 1/2 x 27 3/8 inches.

Top right: “We are growing under the banner of Lenin and Stalin. Our park is to educate a new generation of workers that should be healthy and joyful and that could be able to raise the mightiness of the great country.” Soviet leaders understood the importance of early childhood education to perpetuate the goals of revolutionary Communism and Socialism. Here children of various ethnic births are shown in a day care center at their parents’ factory. The children are portrayed with portraits of Stalin and Lenin in the background. Color printing with red lettering. Size: 30 1/2 x 42 inches.

Bottom center: “In the tremendous growth of the national culture on a Socialist basis will find its expression in the victorious growth of Socialism in the USSR” (Molotov, chairman of the Peoples Commissariat). Early Communist history is summarized showing Karl Marx, the author of Das Capital (the most important Communist book), with Vladimir Lenin who led the revolution in 1917. Behind him is the storming of the Imperial Palace. The modern industrial state “CCCP” is shown rising around the image of Josef Stalin, who led the country in 1934.

“There are two classes, two cultures.” One half of the poster shows a soldier wearing a Nazi swastika armband burning books by Communist authors (church in background). The other half shows triumphant workers holding up books by Communist authors. Size: 36 x 23 1/2 inches.