May 1937, Santander, Planet News Ltd. 

AIRMEN WHO SANK THE “ESPANA”. — All Loyalist Spain is feting the Government airmen who made history by sinking the rebel battleship, “Espana”, the first battleship ever to be destroyed in an air attack. The feat was accomplished by the airmen while the “Espana” was trying to stop the British steamer “Knitsley” (4,261 tons) from entering Santander with a cargo of iron ore. Six hundred men of the “Espana” went down with their ship four miles off Cape Mayor, near Santander. The officers were rescued by the rebel destroyer “Velasco”. Photo shows the airmen who sank the “Espana” photographed at Santander on their return.

From our online exhibit: Shots of War

May 1937, Santander, Planet News Ltd. 

AIRMEN WHO SANK THE “ESPANA”. — All Loyalist Spain is feting the Government airmen who made history by sinking the rebel battleship, “Espana”, the first battleship ever to be destroyed in an air attack. The feat was accomplished by the airmen while the “Espana” was trying to stop the British steamer “Knitsley” (4,261 tons) from entering Santander with a cargo of iron ore. Six hundred men of the “Espana” went down with their ship four miles off Cape Mayor, near Santander. The officers were rescued by the rebel destroyer “Velasco”. Photo shows the airmen who sank the “Espana” photographed at Santander on their return.

From our online exhibit: Shots of War

Al front!
[To the front!]. Carles Fontseré. C.N.T., F.A.I. Lithograph, 3 colors; 32 x 22 cm.
The soldier on the poster is bathed in a revolutionary red light as the text proclaims: “To the Front!” Simple and to the point, this poster was undoubtedly a recruiting poster for CNT and FAI in the region of Cataluña in Republican Spain. Given that the CNT and FAI fell out of favor with an increasingly communist-influenced government headed by Juan Negrín and subsequently lost political power in Republican Spain with the disbanding of the Council of Aragon in September of 1937, this poster can be dated to sometime during the fifteen months of the Civil War prior to September 1937.
The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) was organized in 1911 and soon became the largest worker’s organization in Spain. The Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) was formed in Valencia in 1927 and was known as the radical, ultra-left inner core of the CNT. With its goal of creating a revolution modeled on the Russian Revolution of 1917, many members of the FAI or faistas were wary about the concessions the CNT made to the socialist government of Republican Spain. Faistas were also critical of the dilution of FAI revolutionary political goals as it and the CNT joined with other more moderate groups under the banner of antifascism. During the civil war, both the CNT-FAI fared well in the first year of the Civil War, the militia of the FAI became the Army of Aragon giving the FAI powerful influence in that region of Republican Spain. In addition, the CNT and FAI held effective control over the Antifascist Militia Committee. However, the tide began to turn for the CNT and the FAI, in particular, after a series of key losses to Nationalist troops brought criticism to the FAI militias. In addition, separatists and others members of the Antifascist Militias Committee began to combine the Army of Aragon with the regular Republican Army effectively depriving the FAI of its paramilitary identity and power base.
Carlos Fontseré was a Catalan painter born in 1916. Little is known about his life before or after the Civil War. He was a founding member of the Sindicat de Dibuixants Professionals (Syndicate of Professional Painters) established in April 1936. In 1977, he wrote a short history of the organization as an appendix to a work on Republican Posters from the Spanish Civil War entitled Carteles de la República y de la Guerra Civil. During the war, Fontseré worked as an artist for the Generalitat de Cataluña, FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica), POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), CNT, PSU (Partido Socialista Unificada), UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores) and SRI (Socorro Rojo Internacional).

Al front!

[To the front!]. Carles Fontseré. C.N.T., F.A.I. Lithograph, 3 colors; 32 x 22 cm.

The soldier on the poster is bathed in a revolutionary red light as the text proclaims: “To the Front!” Simple and to the point, this poster was undoubtedly a recruiting poster for CNT and FAI in the region of Cataluña in Republican Spain. Given that the CNT and FAI fell out of favor with an increasingly communist-influenced government headed by Juan Negrín and subsequently lost political power in Republican Spain with the disbanding of the Council of Aragon in September of 1937, this poster can be dated to sometime during the fifteen months of the Civil War prior to September 1937.

The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) was organized in 1911 and soon became the largest worker’s organization in Spain. The Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) was formed in Valencia in 1927 and was known as the radical, ultra-left inner core of the CNT. With its goal of creating a revolution modeled on the Russian Revolution of 1917, many members of the FAI or faistas were wary about the concessions the CNT made to the socialist government of Republican Spain. Faistas were also critical of the dilution of FAI revolutionary political goals as it and the CNT joined with other more moderate groups under the banner of antifascism. During the civil war, both the CNT-FAI fared well in the first year of the Civil War, the militia of the FAI became the Army of Aragon giving the FAI powerful influence in that region of Republican Spain. In addition, the CNT and FAI held effective control over the Antifascist Militia Committee. However, the tide began to turn for the CNT and the FAI, in particular, after a series of key losses to Nationalist troops brought criticism to the FAI militias. In addition, separatists and others members of the Antifascist Militias Committee began to combine the Army of Aragon with the regular Republican Army effectively depriving the FAI of its paramilitary identity and power base.

Carlos Fontseré was a Catalan painter born in 1916. Little is known about his life before or after the Civil War. He was a founding member of the Sindicat de Dibuixants Professionals (Syndicate of Professional Painters) established in April 1936. In 1977, he wrote a short history of the organization as an appendix to a work on Republican Posters from the Spanish Civil War entitled Carteles de la República y de la Guerra Civil. During the war, Fontseré worked as an artist for the Generalitat de Cataluña, FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica), POUM (Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), CNT, PSU (Partido Socialista Unificada), UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores) and SRI (Socorro Rojo Internacional).

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.

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.