Vichy and propaganda

Vichy and propaganda


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Title: "With this" de Gaulle "there, you will take nothing, M.Mrs .."

Author : ANONYMOUS (-)

Creation date : 1940

Date shown: 1940

Dimensions: Height 120 cm - Width 79 cm

Technique and other indications: impression

Storage location: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, dist. RMN - Grand Palais / Army museum image

Picture reference: 12-522460 / 999.972

"With this" de Gaulle "there, you will take nothing, M.Mrs .."

© Paris - Army Museum, dist. RMN - Grand Palais / Army museum image

Publication date: June 2015

Historical context

The French anti-British League and the events of Dakar

From September 23 to 25, 1940, the Free French Forces of General de Gaulle, associated with British soldiers, launched an expedition against French troops obeying the orders of the French state government off Dakar and Cape Verde. Two months after the English attack on Mers el-Kébir, during which part of the Vichy fleet was destroyed, and following the rallying of French Equatorial Africa to Free France, de Gaulle and Churchill hoped to take control of French West Africa.

The naval (and partially land) operation undertaken by the Allies ended in failure, viewed on the contrary as a "victory" by the Vichy regime, still defeated against the Nazis. It was on the occasion of this event that the French Anti-British League, a collaborationist group funded by the Germans, published the poster "With this 'de Gaulle' there, you will take nothing, Mr. Mrs. », Which will be widely distributed on the walls of large cities and then sometimes reproduced by the national press.

Intended to ridicule de Gaulle and point to the real "enemies" of France, this document illustrates the importance, message and symbolism of nascent Vichy propaganda. Radio (Radio Paris, Radio Vichy), filmed news, newspapers (I'm everywhere, The sheaf) but also leaflets, brochures and therefore posters such as this one build and disseminate an anti-Jewish, anti-British and anti-de Gaulle statement intended to shape the consciences and representations of the French stunned by defeat.

Image Analysis

An anti-British political cartoon

This poster, composed in the simple and direct style of a cartoon, alludes to the failure of the expeditionary force made up of English and French soldiers who joined de Gaulle against the sailors loyal to Vichy outside Dakar.

The enemies of France are easily recognizable, engaged in a makeshift boat with worn wood (a chip on the left), barely large enough for the two opulent characters who stand on it. On this ridiculous boat, designated as English by the famous formula "Rule Britannia »- British patriotic song - ironically repeated here, we see Churchill in the foreground, caricatured (obese, contorted face), grotesque with his cigar and his hat which cannot resist the movements of the sea. Behind his back, frightened and livid, a “Jewish financier”, with all the attributes attributed to him by the traditional anti-Semitic caricature (complexion, costume, paunch, shape of the face and nose, bag of pounds sterling…). De Gaulle, for his part, is "comically" presented in the form of a float, an indeterminate and grimacing face that boils down to an open mouth (shouting?), Only recognizable by his cap.

Churchill therefore attempts to "fish" (to take) Dakar, whose name is inscribed on a cannon tusk in the lower right, by approaching the French coast on which the flag is proudly planted. These are defended victoriously by warships (including the battleship Richelieu), shiny and far more impressive than the English boat, as well as by sailors (tricolor navy costume) loyal to the French state. A young and vigorous soldier (in opposition to the two fat enemies) is represented in the foreground, beaming, mocking but also threatening, shakes his finger and announces "With this 'de Gaulle' there, you will take nothing, Mr. Mrs. ", An easy pun on the term" sapling "(which in slang means fishing rod) addressed to the British (" Mr. Mrs. »).

Interpretation

Victorious France and her enemies

This poster clearly designates the enemies of France. First, the British, introduced and embodied by Churchill. Yesterday's ally becomes a haphazard and clumsy captain, unsuited to the fight he wants to fight. Above all, he is associated with a weak and sick Jew when he is exposed to the great outdoors, unable to navigate, that is to say, metaphorically here, to carry out combat (and more generally any physical activity), all just good at "speculating". England would therefore be under Jewish influence, and its rulers manipulated by "capitalists" hungry for ever more gains. According to the rhetoric that developed at the time in Vichy, the Jews, the capitalists and the British were primarily responsible for the war.

The English now appear to be the only enemies: in fact, in autumn 1940, Nazi Germany, which is no longer designated as an adversary by Vichy (without being totally a friend either), is not yet at war. against the USSR or the United States. Germany would want peace, order and prosperity in Europe, as the armistice would demonstrate, while England would want war. It is also noted that this poster, unlike others of the time, does not choose to emphasize British danger and aggressiveness, but rather its arrogant false power with a global vocation ("Rule britannia ", In memory of the colonial disputes, here rekindled to break the friendship of yesterday). The failure of his ridiculous enterprise is highlighted here, revealing its weakness against Vichy France and, incidentally, compared to triumphant Germany all over Europe.

De Gaulle then appears like a puppet in the hands of Churchill, an enemy made of less worrying material, an inconstant and opportunistic figure who varies with the waves (a float). Qualified by Vichy as a deposed general and accused of treason, he is still a very abstract enemy, barely known for his appeal (perhaps caricatured by the vociferous mouth). Here, we do not really represent his face, by choice as much as by ignorance.

The enemies of France are denounced here to better glorify its defenders and its success in Dakar. The rare "victory" that the Vichy regime can claim after the humiliation of the capitulation is here exploited to the maximum. It would be due to French courage, to the vigor and youth of its people (of its race), to its army or even to its industry (naval units). On the strength of its strengths and following the example of this glorious episode in Dakar, the Fatherland could then "recover" under the benevolent German influence, which would also have the merit of reminding it of the harmful forces which cost it defeat. and that she must now fight.

  • War of 39-45
  • De Gaulle (Charles)
  • colonial troops
  • Petain (Philippe)
  • caricature
  • symbols
  • anti-semitism
  • poster
  • Churchill (Winston)
  • anti-Gaullism
  • propaganda
  • Vichy regime
  • representation of the enemy
  • Resistance

Bibliography

AZÉMA Jean-Pierre, New history of contemporary France. XIV: From Munich to the Liberation (1938-1944), Paris, Le Seuil, coll. "Points: histoire" (no 114), 1979.AZÉMA Jean-Pierre, WIEVIORKA Olivier, Vichy (1940-1944), Paris, Perrin, 1997. COINTET Michèle, New history of Vichy, Paris, Fayard, 2011. PASSERA Françoise, "Anti-British propaganda in France during the Occupation", Lisa review, flight. VI, no 1, 2008, p. 124-150.PAXTON Robert O., The France of Vichy (1940-1944), Paris, Le Seuil, coll. "L’Univers historique" (no 2), 1973.ROSSIGNOL Dominique, History of propaganda in France from 1940 to 1944: the Pétain utopia, Paris, University Press of France, coll. "Politics of Today", 1991.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "Vichy and propaganda"


Video: Petain On Trial - 1945


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