Anti-Fascist Imagery: "Hurrah, the Butter is Gone!" (December 19, 1935)
The leftist weekly Worker's Illustrated Newspaper [Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung] was published from 1921 to 1938. At first, it focused on the construction of the Soviet state in Russia. Later, it began reporting on subjects pertinent to the German working class and settled upon the goal of advancing the political education of workers. Founded by the Communist Willi Münzenberg (1889-1940), the newspaper published articles, illustrations, and photomontages by well-known writers and artists such as George Grosz, Maxim Gorki, Käthe Kollwitz, John Heartfield, Anna Seghers, Erich Kästner, and Kurt Tucholsky. By the time Hitler was appointed chancellor, the paper's circulation had grown to over 500,000. After the Nazi takeover in 1933, Worker's Illustrated Newspaper had to move its operations from Berlin to Prague, where it continued to appear until the German invasion in 1938.
This 1935 photomontage by Dada artist John Heartfield is a parody of a speech by Hermann Göring, a quote from which is included at the bottom of the image. It reads: “Ore has always made an empire strong, butter and lard have made a country fat at most.” Göring, who was in charge of the Four-Year Plan and thus responsible for the industrial and military rearmament of the country, repeatedly demanded an increase in the iron industry’s productive capacity to boost the exploitation of domestic ores. In 1937, his demands culminated in the founding of the “Reich Works Hermann Göring,” which sought to compete with the traditional iron industry of the Ruhr Region. The quote used here, which stems from a 1935 speech in Hamburg, is an example of the aggressive, militarist rhetoric Göring employed to convince Germans of the necessity of making sacrifices for the country’s rearmament – even if this entailed food shortages. Heartfield’s montage shows a typical German family, whose patriotism and loyalty to the Nazis is illustrated by several details: the Hitler portrait; the swastika-patterned wallpaper; the sofa cushion bearing Hindenburg’s likeness, and the framed verse in the upper left “Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein” [“Dear Fatherland, no danger thine”], which stems from the 19th-century patriotic song “Die Wacht am Rhein” [“The Watch on the Rhine”]. In their blind loyalty to the Führer, this family even seems to have forgotten that iron is no substitute for food and instead cheers: “Hurrah, the butter is gone!”