In 1919 – 1921, a war between two young states broke out on the former western outskirts of the Russian Empire. On the one hand, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic had huge human resources. On the other hand, the Entente powers were investing money, weapons, and military specialists into the Republic of Poland.
As it usually happens when arguments between neighbors or relatives occur, the war was devastating. In fact, parties to the conflict were not able to fully reach their goals until the tomahawk was laid aside. Soviet Russia was exhausted by foreign intervention and the struggle with Denikin and Wrangel and did not manage to crush the enemy even when its capital was so close. Poles fought to the bitter end. After the conclusion of peace, the conflict turned to be postponed until the next big war.
Nowadays, the last but not the least witnesses of the Polish-Soviet War are propaganda posters issued by both sides.
This poster was created by Nikolay Kupreyanov and Vladimir Mayakovsky. Yes, “the Soviet locomotive reached” Warsaw, but Poles did not let it come in
The Polish poster on the left recalls that 125 years had already passed since the last partition of Poland. In the right poster, one of the heroes of the Polish-Soviet War, the General Józef Haller calls for enlisting in the army and defending the homeland
The left picture reminds: «We are at war with the landlords, and not with the Polish working class!» On the right: “A red gift to the white landlords!»
“Executioners torture Ukraine”. The left picture is one of the most famous posters from the Polish-Soviet War created by Viktor Deni. The poster depicts Petliura helping Poles crucify Ukraine. The ROSTA window poster on the right was created by Ivan Malyutin and is signed with Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poem
On the left:” The enemy is close! Enlist in the army!” On the right:” Our victory depends on us! To arms!”
Two next posters were created by the same artist, but were issued in different languages. The left one is in Ukrainian, and the right one is in Polish. It is difficult to say what effect on people these posters had
The ROSTA window poster with a poem of Vladimir Mayakovsky making fun of League of Nations’ hypocrisy
Another Malyutin’s ROSTA poster with Mayakovsky’s poem suggesting a war for peace. These two artists undoubtedly created many propaganda masterpieces
Many Polish posters exploit the idea of supremacy over wild Asian ordas coming from the East. On the left:” The enemy is coming! See what he prepared for you!” On the right:” Only our own army can protect the country and people!”
This ROSTA poster is created by Mayakovsky. The artist created posters devoted to the successes of the tsarist army not so long ago
Another poster created by Mayakovsky
On the left: “The last hour”. Only Poland and Wrangel left in the clock face. The time of others is up. On the right:” Poland, the last dog of the Entente”.
The left one is one of the most famous Polish posters “Slay the Bolshevik”. On the right:” Each house will be our fortress!”
A pair of popular posters by Viktor Deni depicting dreams of returning Polish territories to their land area before 1772
“Hey, burlaks! What’s closer – Kyiv or Warsaw?” This poster in Ukrainian was created by the Boris Yefimov, one of the most popular Soviet artists. Burlaks: “How far is it to Kyiv?” “Who knows. With the stuff you’re carrying Warsaw is probably closer. You won’t be able to go round the cliffs ahead.”
«White Poland and Soviet Russia». Soviet infographics showing the areas of disputed territories and the ethnic composition of their population, as well as a map of Poland within the borders of 1772
On the left:” Help! Everything for the front!» On the right: «If you are a Pole, to arms!»
The Entente driver is urging Wrangel and a Polish landlord. They already left behind Denikin, Kolchak, and Yudenich. A bourgeois, a tsar, a landowner, and a national entrepreneur, who looks very similar to Viktor Chernov, are sitting in the chart
“The consequences of Polish resistance.” A poster showing Soviet expectations that never came true. It was supposed that as soon as Polish workers and peasants had seen the Red Army approaching, they would have opposed the supremacy of landlords by themselves and would have welcomed their brothers with open arms. Unfortunately, this idea was still widespread until the summer of 1941
The left poster is probably the most well-known. «Do you want this to happen to your women and children? Protect them from the Bolsheviks!» On the right, you can see the poster depicting Trotsky and “Bolshevik Freedom”