Boris Belopol’skii, Peace to all nations!, 1952
This is Boris Belopol’skii’s second 1952 poster on the theme of peace.
The poster is captioned ‘The world will be saved and enhanced if people take responsibility for maintaining peace into their own hands and defend it to the end. I. Stalin’, with the words ‘Peace to all nations!’ inscribed in the background at the top of the poster.
The caption quotation comes from ‘A conversation with the Pravda correspondent of Pravda on 17th February 1951.* In this interview, Stalin labels as slanderous the declaration of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee that the Soviet Union has actually increased its military forces since the end of World War II.
Stalin also discusses the Korean War, labelling the Americans as the aggressors and calling the United Nations decision to declare China the aggressors as ‘scandalous’. He concludes the interview by championing the Soviet Union as the vanguard of the world peace movement on behalf of the international masses.
In the poster, a human, almost humble Stalin stands at a podium and makes a speech. Stalin appears in his old-style tunic, rather than the uniform of Marshal of the Soviet Union. In this poster, the warrior archetype is not being emphasised.
In contrast to the other 1952 Belopol’skii poster (stalin poster of the week 26), there is no background – no banner, no crowd, just white light.
Stalin is more ‘real’, greyer in skin and hair, and softer and more rounded than in the other poster. His left hand, in a loose fist, rests on a copy of Pravda (the source of the quote, which is not from an actual publicly delivered speech) and his right hand points loosely in the direction of the future, on which his transcendent gaze is also focussed.
The podium is not real. Stalin leans on a text box or banner bearing his own words. This is a quieter, softer Stalin, the teacher or wise man. He neither commands nor exhorts. In this poster he persuades and appeals, on an intimate, almost one-on-one level.
*I.V. Stalin. ‘A conversation with the Pravda correspondent.’ Pravda, 17 February 1951, accessed at http://www.marxists.org/russkij/stalin/t16/t16_29.htm on 04/08/2013.
Dr Anita Pisch
Anita’s new, fully illustrated book, The personality cult of Stalin in Soviet posters, 1929 -1953, published by ANU Press, is available for free download here, and can also be purchased in hard copy from ANU Press.