John Heartfield’s Satirical Piccie of Weimar President Von Papen – Parallels with a Certain D. Trump, Perhaps

John Heartfield was a radical German artist of the Weimar period, who settled in Britain after the War. He didn’t draw or paint, but used photographs. During his career he worked for a number of publishers producing book covers, as well as political posters reflecting his Communist, anti-racist and vehemently anti-Nazi political beliefs. It was Heartfield who produced the famous picture of Hitler standing there, his hand flung back in the lazy Nazi salute he used to do, palm flat, being handed money from a much bigger banker standing behind him. The caption for this pic read, ‘Small Man requests big donations’. I’ve also seen a version with the caption, ‘Millions stand behind me’.

But I was struck by this image of the right-wing German president Von Papen standing with his trousers rolled up and a gigantic ladle, like King Cnut, trying vainly stop the flood that’s about to overwhelm him. The caption reads, ‘Papen, what are you doing?’ ‘I’m draining the Bolshevik swamp’.

Draining the swamp? Now where have we heard that before? Oh yes, it was Donald Trump, who in fact made it much worse and far more fetid. They’re now trying to present him as somehow non-racist. He may personally have been, but some of his friends were firmly members of the Alt- and far right.

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2 Responses to “John Heartfield’s Satirical Piccie of Weimar President Von Papen – Parallels with a Certain D. Trump, Perhaps”

  1. trev Says:

    I love the work of John Heartfield. Most of his photomontages were produced for front covers of AIZ, the ‘Workers Illustrated Daily’ .

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