Dieselpunks

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Soviet Militarism: Pre-War Posters

For starters, another Lenin quote: "Revolution is worthy only when it can defend itself".
The instrument of defense (and not only defense) was Red Army, created in January 1918. Above is a 1930s poster, the slogan over French-style steel helmets says: "Red Army is a faithful guardian of October [Revolution] gains". Below, a kind of fairy tale printed to celebrate the second anniversary of the Army in 1920:

Ten years later, the Red Army soldiers were glorified in a purely Futurist manner:

An important extension of Soviet armed forces was OSOAVIAKHIM, already mentioned in my previous entries. This voluntary organization helped to train the Army reserve. Here's another 1930 poster dedicated to OSOAVIAKHIM-Red Army joint drill:

A rider (above left) is Kliment Voroshilov, People's Commissioner of Army and Navy. Stalin's personal friend and political ally, he was de-facto commander-in-chief of the armed forces since 1925. Actually, his influence was limited but after 1930 he was turned by the propaganda masterminds into "Leader #2", second only to the People's Best Friend:

This 1931 poster quotes Voroshilov: "Future war will be mechanized to the extreme!":

Another poster (1932) urges the Komsomol members to carry Voroshilov's orders:

The ultimate Soviet heroes of 1930s were military aviators. Every boy dreamed of becoming a pilot who flies a red-starred aircraft. Joining OSOAVIAKHIM was presented as a first step in making this dream true:

Rhyming propaganda: "Every factory, every farm sends a pilot to Air Arm!":

Another piece of Voroshilov's wisdom: "Today, one who possesses air power is powerful in general":

The power source is obvious - even for those who weren't lucky enough to see this 1939 poster:

Needles to say, 1939/40 Winter War with Finland revealed serious problems in purges-beaten Red Army (the effect of Great Purges is often exaggerated but cannot be ignored). Soviet leadership tried to cure these problems with all kinds of reforms: structural, technical and formal. The Air Force dress uniform has fallen victim of those changes but we see it here, in a poster printed soon after the German invasion (June 22, 1941):

"Proud of my son!" - says the old comrade, hugging his blue-clad pilot boy. Note the golden star on aviator's tunic - it's the Hero of the Soviet Union sign, highest military award quite rare in 1941.

Next week, we'll finally see Soviet wartime posters. In the meanwhile, there's something more in the album. As usual, you're welcome to browse it or to enjoy the slideshow:


Find more photos like this on Dieselpunks

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Comment by Reno Buchstaber on June 5, 2011 at 2:41am
Very cool!  I enjoy getting glimpses into soviet culture of this era - even if propaganda
Comment by lord_k on June 2, 2011 at 3:36pm
My pleasure, Marcus. It is Valentina Kulagina's best poster. Also the most famous.
Comment by Marcus Rauchfuss on June 2, 2011 at 3:24pm
Third from top is my personal favorite. Really beautiful.

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