The Great Patriotic War greatly influenced poster art in the territory of the Soviet Union. Naturally, the main theme then was confronting the enemy in the face of hated Nazi Germany. However, it is very interesting to trace how the enemy was portrayed on the posters of that time.
Our generation, which grew up and brought up more than half a century after the end of World War II, was used to seeing Hitler’s troops as vicious, strong, treacherous and vile opponents. In the post-war period, the images of the Germans were still saturated with hatred for them, but there was a tendency to portray the enemy as a smart, prudent, and therefore very dangerous and difficult enemy.
It is easy to guess what this image of the Nazis was connected with. This was done in order to emphasize the merit of the Soviet people in the victory over the German invaders. To defeat such a complex and powerful opponent could only truly strong and worthy contender, which was the Soviet Union. However, during the war, Nazi Germany was portrayed differently.
The insidiousness of the enemy, his meanness and cowardice, pushing him to violate the Molotov-Ribbentropp non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and the Third Reich, signed back in August 1939, were brought to the forefront. Soviet people should have known that on the other side of the front line against them a very cunning and cowardly enemy who is not as invincible as he considers himself is fighting.
This is exactly how Germany was depicted on the poster “Ruthlessly Crush and Destroy the Enemy!”. This masterpiece of Soviet poster art was created in 1941 by a group of poster artists "Kukryniksy" composed of M. Kupriyanov, P. Krylov and N. Sokolov. The poster depicts a Red Army soldier preparing to mortally defeat the enemy - the Fuhrer of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler. Hitler on the poster depicts a small, stooped little man, cowering before the blow of a Soviet soldier. The idea of the poster was simple: the enemy is already afraid of us, but because victory is coming, moreover, victory is already near.
Pictures of Victor Vasnetsov