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Read, Watch and Listen

The Enemy 1

TASS WINDOW 1132, 'Force of Habit', 8 Jan 1945.When targeting the enemy,  the Windows change to satire. Almost always with a comic edge, but also hard-hitting and Russian morale-raising, the images  demonise the enemy and cut them down to size. This 'typical' German soldier is a  shabby looter returning home to be adored by his besotted parents.  His  sharp teeth echo his hobnail boots and signify his animal savagery. In the verse he is mocked for his Führer-like behaviour.

The Enemy 2

TASS WINDOW 985, 'The Hour Approaches', 26 May 1944. There are many caricatures of Hitler in the posters: he is animalised ( here he is octopus-like with animal claws), he is tortured, on the run, never in control. In this Window, he is viciously impaled, mimicking his own swastika insignia. The colours are designed to attract the eye, and the verse underlines his inability to escape his coming doom.

The Enemy 3

TASS WINDOW 1001, 'The Liberation of Rome', 21 June 1944. Catching the enemy without their trousers on really cuts them down to size. Beneath a miraculously blue Italian sky and  a toothy, grinning sun, Hitler and Mussolini hurtle down the stairs of a grand monument to flee the liberating forces. A sight for sore eyes indeed, and the verse sardonically comments that Rome is now finished and all roads lead to Berlin.

The Enemy 4

TASS WINDOW 1027, 'Two Vessels', 24 July 1944. This Window celebrates the retaking of Minsk in July 1944 from the Enemy occupying forces. The victory lends power to the Soviet rifle butt mercilessly pounding soldier prisoners in an army helmet.  Bathos takes over from satire: an empty vessel now, Hitler remains in Berlin, alone with the hungry, scavenging mice. Two or more images with a narrative link are seen a number of times in the Windows. Such  a format derives from the Civil War ROSTA posters developed, among others, by Maiakovskii as graphic artist and poet in Petrograd.

The Story 1

TASS WINDOW 1027, 'Two Vessels', 24 July 1944. This Window celebrates the retaking of Minsk in July 1944 from the Enemy occupying forces. The victory lends power to the Soviet rifle butt mercilessly pounding soldier prisoners in an army helmet.  Bathos takes over from satire: an empty vessel now, Hitler remains in Berlin, alone with the hungry, scavenging mice. Two or more images with a narrative link are seen a number of times in the Windows. Such  a format derives from the Civil War ROSTA posters developed, among others, by Maiakovskii as graphic artist and poet in Petrograd.

The Story 2

TASS WINDOW 817, 'The Devil Take My Cart',"5 September, 1943. Horses figure in different guises in the Windows; here the enemy horse is a skeleton and his cart is on the point of collapse. The dimensions of this Window are small, only 20cm x 22cm, and the technique is different, more akin to silk screen printing. It may be that this is a small size Window made for distribution by hand, especially to soldiers at the front. The horse played a substantial role in both the Russian and German war machines. Many millions of horses perished.

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