Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I see red!

If you do a pointless chat, you are helping spying rat
Koretsky, 1954

Thank God somebody's doing it.
FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, of McCarthy's investigations.

The Cold War – a global confrontation between the USA and the Soviet Union started on March 12, 1947 with a Truman Doctrine unveiled. The Doctrine shifted American foreign policy as regards the Soviet Union from Detente to a policy of containment of Soviet expansion.

The Cold War was fought not only in diplomat’s cabinets and on the battlefields of Africa, Middle East and East Asia, but also by means of propaganda. In the USA the main speaker of the anti-communist attitude was Joseph McCarthy – a Republican Senator from Wisconsin between 1947 and 1957. He was noted for making unsubstantiated claims that there were large numbers of Communists and Soviet spies and sympathizers inside the federal government. In 1950 during his public speech on Lincoln Day (February 9), he announced that he got hold of a list of 205 names of those “being members of the Communist Party” and working for the Soviet Union by “shaping policy in the State Department”. This started the unprecedented soviet spy witch-hunt, with private investigations of citizens’ loyalty, shadowing of all leftist organizations, and supervision of every political and publican figure, who ever mentioned anything positive about the Soviet Union. The most notable was a case of Charlie Chaplin – an English comedy actor and a living cinema classic. He had major success in the USA and lived there from 1914 to 1952. During the era of McCarthyism, Chaplin was accused of "un-American activities" as a suspected communist sympathizer. With the Government pressure building up, he decides not to return to the USA after his brief trip to England. He wrote after that: ".....Since the end of the last world war, I have been the object of lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America's yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted. Under these conditions I find it virtually impossible to continue my motion-picture work, and I have therefore given up my residence in the United States."

The situation in the Soviet Union was quite similar. The atmosphere of suspicion was evident with the graphical design playing significant role as usual. The poster above says: “If you do a pointless chat, you are helping spying rat”. On the poster the double faced undercover spy is portrayed with a monocle, which was considered to be a stereotypical accessory of German military officer from the WW2 period. Thus this fascist image was projected on the Western World.