Exposing Hitler’s desires to rule the world meant showing exactly how much territory he lusted after. Defending and preserving territory is crucial in a war situation. Looking at maps and globes is central to campaign planning, and losing or occupying territory signifies defeat and victory. These images of Hitler and the globe were extremely emotive ones.
The title is in a voice of Russian good sense, suggesting Hitler’s insanity. He is now being repulsed and so proved wrong. The Soviet bayonets spear him as if he were a hunted wild animal
The USSR had recaptured Kiev at the beginning of November 1943, and Germany had really begun to lose the territory it had initially occupied. Hitler’s grandiose plans were meeting with strong opposition.
The cartoon utilises the in-built function of maps and globes as immediate and effective communication. Maps are used to display their owner’s wealth and possessions. Globes are on a grander national and international scale and indicate a colonising power. So Hitler leans over ‘his’ globe in the upper picture, but is literally bowled over by it in the second.
The upper globe is like a football he can boot about, until it turns nasty on him, and significantly he loses his boots.
Sokolov-Skalia comments upon Hitler’s plans for conquering the globe in a before and after situation. First, Hitler greedily slobbers over his future spoils from annexing further territory. Then, in the second, he is unexpectedly confronted by aggressive Soviet action.
The counterattack is violent as the bayonets pierce his limbs. His face registers both shock and pain. He loses his greedy teeth, here actually but also symbolically, because of the Soviet action. The USSR is easily represented as a red patch on the globe. There is an implication that response elsewhere has been less successful.
A close look shows this Hitler has animal characteristics: his hands have claws in the first picture. And then, stripped of his clothes and boots as he is driven out, the claws on his feet can be seen.
The language supplies visual imagery, and the poster turns it into complementary pictures. Brik uses a colloquial expression ‘Blow the spoils, I’d rather survive’ as the title. This saying derives from hunting. If the animal turns nasty it’s best to get out of the way.
The two couplets expand the meaning. In the first Hitler shouts of his plans for the world. In the second his shout intensifies but has turned into a deafening (animal) howl. Clearly Hitler did not heed the good Russian proverb, the drawings imply.