- Author: GALLAND, Andre (artist)
- Publisher: Centre de Propagande des Républicains Nationaux (CPRN), Paris
- Date: 1932
- Dimensions: sheet: 120 x 80 cms
“Et on veut que la France désarme!”: Rare anti-disarmament poster designed by André Galland for France’s Rightist CPRN, 1932
About this piece:
Et on veut que la France désarme!
Colour-printed poster, now backed with archival tissue for better conservation & presentation. Traces of old folds. Bright colours. Overall a finely preserved and nicely presented example.
A striking poster probably published during the French legislative Elections of 1932 and just prior to coalition victory of the Second Cartel des Gauches. It was produced for the Centre de Propagande des Républicains Nationaux (CPRN) by the well-known French graphic designer and artist, André Galland [1886-1965]. The victory of the Leftist coalition Cartel offered a reprise of the period 1924-26, when a previous Leftist coalition had briefly governed France.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, World War One still cast a powerful and enduring shadow over the French national psyche and over the policies of successive French national governments. Veterans’ organisations in particular exercised a powerful influence within France over the question of French territorial security and the ever emotive arguments regarding pacifism & international disarmament or national rearmament.
The CPRN was an organisation of the moderate Right of French politics, first formed in 1926 by the influential young journalist, Henri de Kérillis. Following the victory of the earlier Leftist Cartel in the legislative Elections of 1924, Kérillis was anxious to provide a supportive nationwide organisation & platform through which the fractured moderate Right wing groups of the French legislature could find a common voice and present a united message to improve their chances of future electoral success.
The CPRN enjoyed the long standing support of the national daily newspaper, L’Echo de Paris, and many of its staff and writers were, like Kérillis, also highly motivated CPRN activists. But the CPRN’s influence was perhaps seen most widely felt in the public arena through its highly influential anti-socialist and anti-communist poster campaigns, in which artist Andre Galland played a key role from about 1927-8 onwards.
It was not just concerns over the rising influence of Stalinism within the French Communist Party of the Far Left that exercised the moderate Right wingers of the CPRN. On the Far Right, the rise of German Fascism, of Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany from 1931 onwards, flagged the need for continued vigilance over the security of French national borders and brought to the fore the increasingly pressing question of increased funding for French military rearmament against just such potential threats.
So it was the historical spectre of Teutonic militarism & the growing fear of French pacifism & national vulnerability in the face of increasingly well-armed & highly militarized neighbours in Europe and amongst the other major international powers which are employed with powerful effect to galvanize public opinion in this stunning poster by Galland.
On the poster itself, a map of Europe delineated in bright yellow with dark blue coastal outlines displays the 1930s international Arms race with powerful images of massed naval fleets, Zeppelin airships, aircraft, tanks and giant artillery pieces in each of the major countries. The annual military expenditures of the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Italy and Soviet Russia are all precisely quantified. Scene set, in France Gallard fills the blank space with one simple, almost rhetorical statement: et on veut que la France désarme!
The struggle to formulate an effective & meaningful domestic & foreign policy that addressed the realities of an increasingly militarized Europe was something that would preoccupy French political leaders of both Left & Right in the ensuing years prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, particular during Leon Blum’s socialist-led Popular Front coalition. The Franco-British default to an oft-criticized appeasement agenda vis-a-vis Hitler’s Germany between 1936 & 1939 did at least offer both countries further time to re-arm & strengthen their defences and in a manner that Gallard and the CPRN might grudgingly have approved, but probably with the words, too late!
Refs: d’Almeida Fabrice, “Terreurs de la France modérée. Les affiches du Centre de propagande des républicains nationaux dans l’entre-deux-guerres”, Sociétés & Représentations 2/2001 (n° 12) , p. 252-267
URL : www.cairn.info/revue-societes-et-representations-2001-2-page-252.htm.