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La France qui a connu 4 fois l’invasion…

  • Author: GALLAND, André
  • Publisher: Centre de Propagande des Républicains Nationaux (CPRN), Paris
  • Date: 1932
  • Dimensions: sheet: 116 x 79 cms


Striking anti-Leftist anti-disarmament propaganda poster designed by André Galland for the moderate Right wing CPRN, Paris, 1932

About this piece:

La France qui a connu 4 fois l’invasion en 100 ans,  ne doit pas désarmer sans être assurée de sa sécurité. Votez contre le Cartel qui veut désarmer la France! [France which has witnessed invasion four times in the last Century, must not disarm without guarantees of its own security. Vote against the Cartel which wishes to disarm France!]

Colour-printed poster, unbacked. Some old hairline tears and paper splits, the two longest intruding into upper left and upper right of image, expertly and invisibly closed and reinforced on verso. A couple of additional repairs and reinforcements at sheet edges. Traces of old folds, the verso now reinforced with museum-quality archival tissue for better conservation and presentation. Some very slight and barely visible whitening to localized areas of recto surface, perhaps the result of the environment or conditions in which the poster was formerly stored. Original 1.44 FF official tax stamp, with date and imprint of CPRN adhered to recto image in upper left. 

A striking and powerfully emotive 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 1920’s and 1930’s, 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 all too prescient reprise of a military invasion of France by Germany through the Low Countries and/or across the Rhine or through Alsace & Lorraine which were once more employed with powerful effect to galvanize public opinion in this dark & emotive poster by Galland.

On the poster itself, several sinister black columns of stereotypical German soldiers, ranging from early 19th Century cavalrymen to the more familiar feldgrau profiles of World War One with their pointed pickelhaube & distinctive stahlhelm helmets fill the upper sections of the image. In an all-enveloping dark swathe these massed German ranks advance towards Paris through Artois & Picardy and the Departments of Northern & North Western France which are displayed on  a map which is laid out, across the entire width of the image, below their marching feet.

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.