In 1944, as the Red Army forged westward, the Soviet Union regained territory it had previously conceded to the Axis. Previously engaged in an exclusively defensive campaign, Soviet propaganda was reoriented toward pursuing the retreating Wehrmacht back to Germany. In March, the Red Army drove into Romania, in July it entered Poland, and by September it was poised to invade Hungary.

As part of this new campaign, the TASS studio began to issue posters celebrating the liberation of various cities and nationalities from German occupation. Such posters often depict indigenous architecture and figures dressed in local attire and they occasionally allude to the regions’ rich, natural resources that might contribute to the Soviet Union. In depicting the Red Army as liberators, TASS artists began to use such pseudo-Baroque framing conventions as curtains, flower garlands, and banners unfurling in the wind, which served to both aggrandize the figures in the posters and laud their role in the Soviet war effort.

Despite official appearances, the march westward was not entirely heroic. The Soviet army enacted brutal vengeance on the former occupying armies and on civilians who had preserved their own lives by gambling with political allegiances.

Mikhail Mikhailovich Solov'ev. Untitled, April 1944. Gift of the USSR Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.

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