Milicianos! No desperdicieis municiones, víveres ni energías
[Militiamen! Do not waste munitions, supplies or energy]. Signed: Mauricio Amster. Ministerio de Instrucción P£blica. Dirección Gral. de Bellas Artes. Asociación de obreros litógrafos. Rivadeneyra S.A. Madrid. Lithograph, 7 colors; 100 x 70 cm.
At the beginning of the
war, the Republican zone covered nearly two-thirds of Spain and
contained sixty-six percent of the Spanish population. However,
most of the country's grazing land and two-thirds of its wheat-producing
area was in Nationalist hands. Although feeding the population was
not an immediate problem, the Republican government realized that
it needed to be frugal with its food resources. Furthermore, the
signing of the non-intervention treaty in August 1936, prohibiting
the sale of arms to the two belligerents, meant that the Republic
also needed to conserve its munitions.
This poster specifically
targets the militias for their prodigality-observe the bullet used
by the militiaman as an adornment to his cap. Ad-hoc fighting units
formed by the anarchist and socialist trade unions at the beginning
of the war, the militias had fared well in the early streetfighting
forays against the military insurrectionists. However, the Republican
government soon concluded that they were too undisciplined and inefficient
to be used under regular combat conditions, and on September 15,
1936, ordered them to become fully militarized units operating within
the popular army.
This poster was probably
printed in the early months of the war, before the anti-militia
decree took effect. It was issued by the Ministerio de Instrucción
Pública (Ministry of Public Instruction), through its
Dirección General de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts section).
In September 1936, the photomontage artist Josep Renau became the
director of this department and transformed it into one of the Republic's
most active agencies in the production of poster propaganda. The
artist who designed this poster, Mauricio Amster, is undocumented.