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.

Disciplina. Mando único : Partido Sindicalista
[Discipline. Unified Command. Sindicalist Party]. Manuel Monleón. Comité Obrero de Control., U.G.T-C.N.T. Lithograph, 4 colors; 79 x 109 cm.
This poster is an admonishment for unified command against the fascists. A group of soldiers have their rifles pointed at fascist, who resembles the stereotypical representation of a businessman, who is standing on a broken swastika. The decision to use the image of a businessman, indicated by the checkered pants and top hat, and associate this figure with the swastika probably was a means to depict the fascists as the party of capitalists. Contrastingly, many of the prominent political groups in Republican Spain were workers’ unions that identified themselves with the proletariat.
The soldiers are joined by a red hand and three cannons, all of which are pointed at the fascist in the bottom right corner. Smoke is pouring out of the cannons indicating that they have just been fired. Presumably, the three phrases - discipline, unified command, and syndicalist party - indicate the necessary elements for victory over the fascist. Again, the colors red and black - the revolutionary colors of communists and anarchists in Republican Spain - figure prominently in the depiction of the Republican forces. The relative scale of the figures on the poster reflects the confidence of Republican Spain with its soldiers and cannons towering over the fascist figure, who is hunched over and seems to be fleeing the scene.
The poster was produced by the Worker’s Committee of Control under the auspices of Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) and theConfederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). The use of the term “Partido Sindicalista” may refer to the Syndicalist Party formed by Angel Pestaña, a leading member of the CNT, who formed the party in response to the radicalization of the CNT caused by the influence of the anarchist core of the CNT known as the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI). Burnett Bolloten, in his work The Spanish Revolution, deems the Syndicalist Party an insignificant political force during the war especially after the death of Pestaña in 1937 when the party became largely defunct. Consequently, the term “partido sindicalista” may simple refer to the joining of the CNT and UGT around common labor interests. Prior to and during the war, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT and the predominantly socialist UGT were competing labor organizations. Both organizations were composed of a number of different factions with different interests and political agendas. Consequently, these factions from the two different groups could, at times, find common ground in order to work together. Throughout much of the civil war, the two groups worked in concert against the Nationalist threat in spite of the differences between the two groups.
The artist is Manuel Monleón (1904-1976), who also made poster 4 in this exhibit. Monleón, like his contemporary Josep Renau, was trained as a graphic designer and specialized in photomontage. In 1933, Monleón joined the Unión de Escritores y Artistas Proletarios (UEAP) or Union of Proletariat Writers and Artists, which Renau had founded. Also in that year, Monleón participated in an exhibit of revolutionary art in Madrid organized by the Asociación de Escritores y Artistas Revolutionarios (Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists). During the war, Monleón was quite active and produced posters for the Partido Sindicalista, the Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores (CNT), the Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores(AIT), and the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI).
From: The Visual Front: Posters of the Spanish Civil War

Disciplina. Mando único : Partido Sindicalista

[Discipline. Unified Command. Sindicalist Party]. Manuel Monleón. Comité Obrero de Control., U.G.T-C.N.T. Lithograph, 4 colors; 79 x 109 cm.

This poster is an admonishment for unified command against the fascists. A group of soldiers have their rifles pointed at fascist, who resembles the stereotypical representation of a businessman, who is standing on a broken swastika. The decision to use the image of a businessman, indicated by the checkered pants and top hat, and associate this figure with the swastika probably was a means to depict the fascists as the party of capitalists. Contrastingly, many of the prominent political groups in Republican Spain were workers’ unions that identified themselves with the proletariat.

The soldiers are joined by a red hand and three cannons, all of which are pointed at the fascist in the bottom right corner. Smoke is pouring out of the cannons indicating that they have just been fired. Presumably, the three phrases - discipline, unified command, and syndicalist party - indicate the necessary elements for victory over the fascist. Again, the colors red and black - the revolutionary colors of communists and anarchists in Republican Spain - figure prominently in the depiction of the Republican forces. The relative scale of the figures on the poster reflects the confidence of Republican Spain with its soldiers and cannons towering over the fascist figure, who is hunched over and seems to be fleeing the scene.

The poster was produced by the Worker’s Committee of Control under the auspices of Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) and theConfederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). The use of the term “Partido Sindicalista” may refer to the Syndicalist Party formed by Angel Pestaña, a leading member of the CNT, who formed the party in response to the radicalization of the CNT caused by the influence of the anarchist core of the CNT known as the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI). Burnett Bolloten, in his work The Spanish Revolution, deems the Syndicalist Party an insignificant political force during the war especially after the death of Pestaña in 1937 when the party became largely defunct. Consequently, the term “partido sindicalista” may simple refer to the joining of the CNT and UGT around common labor interests. Prior to and during the war, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT and the predominantly socialist UGT were competing labor organizations. Both organizations were composed of a number of different factions with different interests and political agendas. Consequently, these factions from the two different groups could, at times, find common ground in order to work together. Throughout much of the civil war, the two groups worked in concert against the Nationalist threat in spite of the differences between the two groups.

The artist is Manuel Monleón (1904-1976), who also made poster 4 in this exhibit. Monleón, like his contemporary Josep Renau, was trained as a graphic designer and specialized in photomontage. In 1933, Monleón joined the Unión de Escritores y Artistas Proletarios (UEAP) or Union of Proletariat Writers and Artists, which Renau had founded. Also in that year, Monleón participated in an exhibit of revolutionary art in Madrid organized by the Asociación de Escritores y Artistas Revolutionarios (Association of Revolutionary Writers and Artists). During the war, Monleón was quite active and produced posters for the Partido Sindicalista, the Confederación Nacional de Trabajadores (CNT), the Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores(AIT), and the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI).

From: The Visual Front: Posters of the Spanish Civil War

Salvar la cosecha es tanto como ganar una batalla al enemigo
[Saving the crop is equivalent to winning a battle against the enemy]. Signed: Jesús Helguera. Ministerio de Instrucción Pública. Dirección Gral. de Bellas Artes. Asociación de Obreros Litógrafos. Lit. GAL. Lithograph, 3 colors; 100 x 70 cm.
This poster proclaims that harvesting the land is as important for the war effort as winning battles. The message comes to life in the images of the hard working fighter and peasant. The rifle carried by the fighter (probably a German-made Karabiner 98k) and the sickle used by the peasant intersect near the center of the scene, underscoring the need for their joint effort.
The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936 was followed by economic upheaval. In the area of agriculture, most of the grain-producing areas of the country were soon controlled by the Nationalists. On the loyalist side, revolutionary takeover of much of the land produced irregular results, and often made it difficult to supply the large cities and the front. Many peasants abandoned their land, and refugees from the advancing rebel army crowded into urban areas. The ensuing food shortage was made worse by problems in the distribution of foodstuffs. It was this situation that caused the government and other organizations to put out messages like the one in this poster. The poster was issued by the Ministry of Public Instruction, one of the most active agencies in the production of propaganda during the war. The ministry issued many of its posters in Madrid between early September and early November 1936.
The type of cap worn by the fighter in this poster, with a short tassel hanging in front, became a symbol of the popular militias during the first months of the war. The rolled-up sleeves of the same figure serve to emphasize the informal nature of his outfit. The portrayal of what appears to be a member of a militia (and not of the regular army) in a poster issued by the government reflects the lack of homogeneity and organization in the republican forces in the early part of the war.
Hardly anything is known of Jesús Helguera, the author of this poster. During 1936, he worked in the production of propaganda for the government in Madrid. Later, he worked with the youth organizationJuventudes Socialistas Unificadas in Barcelona. The fact that his name is not otherwise recorded suggests that he may have come from the advertising arts, where there was little room for name recognition. The dynamic poses of the militiaman and the peasant in this scene, and the suggestion of a narrative sequence that stems from the use of different colors in the juxtaposed figures, is reminiscent of images used in billboards.
From The Visual Front: Posters of the Spanish Civil War

Salvar la cosecha es tanto como ganar una batalla al enemigo

[Saving the crop is equivalent to winning a battle against the enemy]. Signed: Jesús Helguera. Ministerio de Instrucción Pública. Dirección Gral. de Bellas Artes. Asociación de Obreros Litógrafos. Lit. GAL. Lithograph, 3 colors; 100 x 70 cm.

This poster proclaims that harvesting the land is as important for the war effort as winning battles. The message comes to life in the images of the hard working fighter and peasant. The rifle carried by the fighter (probably a German-made Karabiner 98k) and the sickle used by the peasant intersect near the center of the scene, underscoring the need for their joint effort.

The outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in July 1936 was followed by economic upheaval. In the area of agriculture, most of the grain-producing areas of the country were soon controlled by the Nationalists. On the loyalist side, revolutionary takeover of much of the land produced irregular results, and often made it difficult to supply the large cities and the front. Many peasants abandoned their land, and refugees from the advancing rebel army crowded into urban areas. The ensuing food shortage was made worse by problems in the distribution of foodstuffs. It was this situation that caused the government and other organizations to put out messages like the one in this poster. The poster was issued by the Ministry of Public Instruction, one of the most active agencies in the production of propaganda during the war. The ministry issued many of its posters in Madrid between early September and early November 1936.

The type of cap worn by the fighter in this poster, with a short tassel hanging in front, became a symbol of the popular militias during the first months of the war. The rolled-up sleeves of the same figure serve to emphasize the informal nature of his outfit. The portrayal of what appears to be a member of a militia (and not of the regular army) in a poster issued by the government reflects the lack of homogeneity and organization in the republican forces in the early part of the war.

Hardly anything is known of Jesús Helguera, the author of this poster. During 1936, he worked in the production of propaganda for the government in Madrid. Later, he worked with the youth organizationJuventudes Socialistas Unificadas in Barcelona. The fact that his name is not otherwise recorded suggests that he may have come from the advertising arts, where there was little room for name recognition. The dynamic poses of the militiaman and the peasant in this scene, and the suggestion of a narrative sequence that stems from the use of different colors in the juxtaposed figures, is reminiscent of images used in billboards.

From The Visual Front: Posters of the Spanish Civil War

¿Como ayudar a los hospitales de sangre? …
[How can you help the blood banks? Buy a raffle ticket and take part in this charitable event.]. . Comisión Organizadora Hospitales de Sangre y Guarderias de Niños del Sindicato Unico Regional de Peritos y Tecnicos Industriales, C.N.T.-A.I.T. Lithograph, 4 colors; 153 x 104 cm.
In the foreground of the poster, a soldier, bathed in red in order to highlight his revolutionary character, appears to be falling in battle. His legs intersect at the bottom of the poster with two fingers from a hand extended from the left. Behind these figures, there is the image of a Red Cross nurse. The general color scheme of the image is red, white, and blue. These images and color scheme formed a template, of sorts, on to which were put a range of messages to garner support for the aid organizations, Hospitales de Sangre and Guarderias del Niño. The text asks viewers to purchase a raffle ticket. Such raffles were a strategy to raise money for aid organizations that provided social services like medical care for the wounded and social support for children.
This poster was probably printed in 1936 at the outset of the civil war in Spain. In 1937, the Republican government placed several of its semi-public relief agencies under the management of its Ministry of Public Education and Health. Little is known about the Hospitales de Sangre or the Guarderias del Niño. One source seems to indicate that these organizations were associated with relief efforts organized by international relief organizations such as the Socorro Rojo Internacional (SRI). As a contemporary account of a relief worker in Spain attests, the structural and administrative interface of international relief organizations and those of the government or the government itself could be, at times, quite difficult to coordinate. This difficulty was especially prevalent in Nationalist Spain, especially towards the end of the conflict when it victory of Nationalist forces seemed more probable. Throughout the war, the Nationalist government had been held accountable by the Burgos Agreement, which stipulated, among other things, that the Nationalist government would not export food while receiving food aid at the same time.
The artist of the poster is unknown.
From our online exhibit: The Visual Front

¿Como ayudar a los hospitales de sangre? …

[How can you help the blood banks? Buy a raffle ticket and take part in this charitable event.]. . Comisión Organizadora Hospitales de Sangre y Guarderias de Niños del Sindicato Unico Regional de Peritos y Tecnicos Industriales, C.N.T.-A.I.T. Lithograph, 4 colors; 153 x 104 cm.

In the foreground of the poster, a soldier, bathed in red in order to highlight his revolutionary character, appears to be falling in battle. His legs intersect at the bottom of the poster with two fingers from a hand extended from the left. Behind these figures, there is the image of a Red Cross nurse. The general color scheme of the image is red, white, and blue. These images and color scheme formed a template, of sorts, on to which were put a range of messages to garner support for the aid organizations, Hospitales de Sangre and Guarderias del Niño. The text asks viewers to purchase a raffle ticket. Such raffles were a strategy to raise money for aid organizations that provided social services like medical care for the wounded and social support for children.

This poster was probably printed in 1936 at the outset of the civil war in Spain. In 1937, the Republican government placed several of its semi-public relief agencies under the management of its Ministry of Public Education and Health. Little is known about the Hospitales de Sangre or the Guarderias del Niño. One source seems to indicate that these organizations were associated with relief efforts organized by international relief organizations such as the Socorro Rojo Internacional (SRI). As a contemporary account of a relief worker in Spain attests, the structural and administrative interface of international relief organizations and those of the government or the government itself could be, at times, quite difficult to coordinate. This difficulty was especially prevalent in Nationalist Spain, especially towards the end of the conflict when it victory of Nationalist forces seemed more probable. Throughout the war, the Nationalist government had been held accountable by the Burgos Agreement, which stipulated, among other things, that the Nationalist government would not export food while receiving food aid at the same time.

The artist of the poster is unknown.

From our online exhibit: The Visual Front