Putting the squeeze on your uncooperative ‘brother’ is given vivid form in the press operated personally by Hitler with Goebbels looking on. Hitler is sweating at his task, while Goebbels flutters, mouth toothily ajar. His incarnation as a bird has enabled him to fly in the posters. His cartoon life as bird is so embedded by this point that he can do without his wings.
For further images of Hitler and his ‘allies’ see TASS window 850.
His back to the wall, ensconced in his Berlin bunker by January 1945, Hitler is drawing on every resource he can. In desperation, he turns on Austria to give more help, relying on his own Austrian heritage perhaps. The Soviet Army had cut a swathe through Eastern Europe to Hungary. Under Soviet power, Hungary had declared war on Germany in late December 1944. She was now squeezing Hitler where it hurt most, pushing hard against Austria to her West.
This poster is a vivid example of how much violence can be contained within a cartoon in the name of propaganda. The animalisation is minimal (only Goebbels still flies): torturer and victim are real. Goebbels is a chilling spectator in evening dress and unnatural levitation. There is a strong element of wishful thinking implied too. If only the onlooker could place Hitler in the press and torture him in similar fashion.
Sokolov-Skalia finds a vivid metaphor in the press he places in Hitler’s desperate hands. It is a superhuman effort and the sweat drips from his brow. Austria bleeds profusely at the torture.
The colours are more than usually complex. Hitler’s neck is a medley of red and yellow and black lines to suggest his straining muscles, and Goebbels has gone a shade of unhealthy green. The purple backing suggests a stormy, ominous sky. Is that the ruins of Berlin towards bottom right, and also just glimpsed on the left?
Brik’s verse, with its weak endings to the rhymes, seems to replicate the elongated working of the press. Hitler works the press with difficulty and so slowly and excruciatingly intensifies pressure on his former ‘brother’ Austria.