Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)


Chronology of the War


Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


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.

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