During WWII, the communication of victories and successes of the USSR’s Allies brought a refreshing international dimension to the Soviet press. This poster humorously reflects the total undermining of Hitler's plan to invade Britain. The Anglo American forces finally crossed the Channel themselves in the 1944 D-day landings. There is nothing so heartening as seeing the enemy receive his come-uppance as here The added punch to the spectator's enjoyment comes from its format as a comic strip.
Early in the war, Hitler had boasted of crossing the Channel and invading Britain. That plan was turned against him in 1944.The success of the Allied D-day landings on the Normandy beaches provided the stimulus to this poster. The landings began on 6 June: 130,000 Allied troops were transported by near 6500 boats and small vessels. Air support engaged about 12,000 aircraft. The Germans were taken by surprise and were able to put up resistance only in patches.
Later in the month, on 22 June 1944, about the time this poster was created, the Soviets launched their own surprise attack. They swept through Belarus and Eastern Poland to Warsaw, driving the Germans before them and making huge inroads into their forces.
This war poster shows visual influence from the comic strip. Its captions are humorous and playful and its target, Hitler, is caricatured. The interplay of language and picture is immediate. The communication is direct.
The addition of words to the picture itself is characteristic of the comic strip, if not always quite in the form represented here.
The Kukryniksy lampoon Hitler’s oratorical style especially the one he adopted in the early years of the war. The artists have exchanged the standard settings for Hitler’s speeches from the huge amphitheatres, monumental buildings and 1000s of uniformed people to the more personalised lectern and microphones. Focus can then be brought to the man himself. His body-language shows his need to overcome his small physical stature. He ignominiously leaps up, almost clown-like, as he announces his intention to cross the Channel.
Hitler’s deflation as the D-day landings are announced, in the words added to the second frame, is complete. Even the microphones wilt, overshadowed by the large, barking amplifier above. Hitler's hair is unchanged, his clothes are the same but now tattered and his arms are skeletal. The comic strip writes its own narrative: this man is on the way out.
The text was probably supplied by the artists. The internal echoing but different meanings of the lines are hard to replicate in English, but ‘hysterical’ and ‘historical’ are not too far apart. In the Russian, each of these adjectives has been placed after the noun, giving a particular and comically enhanced emphasis. The nouns are also linked lexically in the Russian, underlining the mirroring between the two frames of the strip. In addition, Hitler’s boast and the announcement of the Allied landings use the same verb, ‘forsirovat’, meaning here ‘to force a crossing’.