Untitled (Hitler and Czechoslovakia)
New Masses, September 20, 1938
In the wake of the rapid expansion of the Nazi regime, artists began to depict fascist themes in more intense and frightening ways. In this illustration, artist William Gropper shows Hitler as a maniacal ruler whose face is replaced with a hideous skull bearing a toothy, sinister grin. As Hitler leans onto the globe, he sets his iron fists firmly on Germany. His left fist plunges a knife into Austria, representing the Third Reich’s invasion on March 12th, a few months prior to the publication of this issue. Gropper’s illustration shares themes of immediacy, brutality, and cruelty with many of the antifascist images printed in New Masses. While other artists focused on the persecution of the Jews, however, here Gropper turns his attention to the Third Reich’s growing influence and its aggressive expansion across Europe.