Reed Crandall’s illustration of the Soviet Union Leader Nikita Khrushchev, demonstrates the hatred of communism from an American standpoint during the Cold War. The result of World War II left the United States and the Soviet Union as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. Therefore political and military tension brewed between the superpowers. However, the two superpowers would never engage in battle but were both victims of proxy wars and propaganda. Crandall’s illustration of Khrushchev is an example of anti-communist propaganda in the US.
One thing that I have learned from this time period of this picture is that the Soviet Union was shady and seen as untrustworthy. Both of the two larger gentlemen in black portray a sense of dishonesty. Khrushchev, the man with two faces looking in opposite directions with a dove and an olive branch in one hand and a missile in the other, clearly depicts someone who is “two-faced”. Someone who is two-faced is hypocritical and deceitful. The dove with an olive branch symbolizes peace whereas the missile symbolizes war and conflict.
Khrushchev is facing both the dove and missile which implies that he is hypocritical and unbalanced. Moreover, the left part of his face is facing the western front which suggests that the western side of the globe, the US, sees Khrushchev as an enemy due to the missile in his hand. The left part of his face faces the eastern front, which is comprised of Russia, China, and Vietnam, which suggests that the eastern front sees Khrushchev a peaceful leader due to the dove in his other hand. Another thing I noticed was that Khrushchev is stepping on a paper with the word “Treaty” peeking out from under his foot.
This says that Khrushchev and the Soviet Union did not honor treaties. The second larger gentleman on the right side of the picture is seen giving a poorer, less-clothed, skinny man a bag of money while hiding a whip behind his back. This is another example of the Soviet Union being shady. Furthermore, the text in the boxes provided by Crandall further explains America’s distrust with the Soviet Union during the Cold War era. During this time, America was certainly afraid of the Domino Theory that ommunism would spread throughout the world and eventually land in the US. However, the government used propaganda to alleviate some of the fear with anti-communism cartoons as well as promoting the idea that the communistic philosophies of the Soviet Union could lead to destruction. The skeleton behind the fat man is a symbol of death. The cracks in the ground and rubble are a symbol of destruction and war. In addition, the broken Roman columns with “Culture” inscribed at the top is also a clear indicator of the destruction of culture if Communism reached the US.
The woman lying face down suggests that she is dead and the soldier with a gun is bleeding down the side of his face. This entire picture is filled with evidence of destruction that could be the result of Communism. The text boxes further prove the destructiveness of communism. For example, Crandall writes, “We have seen in this series of stores the way in which Russia’s leaders have followed the teachings of Marx and Lenin. Behind them, they have left a bloody trail. ” Crandall implies that the teachings of Marx and Lenin result in a “bloody trail” which is Communism.
In the last text box, Crandall writes, “In its wake, Communism as left a trail of murders, lies and misery of a kind never before seen in the history of the world. ” Crandall’s message for the readers becomes obvious that communism breeds all kinds of evils that could be extremely devastating and destructive. If the thought of communism in the US scared the citizens, the thought of world domination by the Soviet Union truly put fear in the US citizens as Crandall explains that “…behind all this talk is one goal: world domination by any means. During this time, American citizens were constantly aware of the domino theory and led up to a worst case scenario of the Soviet Union The Soviet Union strived for world domination which is indicated by the map of the world that spreads across the entire picture. A map of the world would be needed for world domination. In addition, the chains and shackles lying on the ground implies that the Soviet Union wants to imprison and capture the world. Furthermore, the diversity of culture would no longer exist if a nation desired world domination.
This is portrayed by the damaged Roman columns with the word “Culture” written at the top. The domino theory could have led to world domination but something of that caliber is highly unlikely, but during this time, Americans really thought about world domination by the Soviet Union. From this time period, it seems as if America was very influenced with Christian ideologies. Americans believed that God chose to side with them to go against the Soviet Union and communism. This is proved blatantly by the title “The Godless Communism. ” In addition, Crandall writes, “It is truly the work of the devil. Here he explicitly says that Communism is the work of the Devil which is the enemy of God. From the picture, there is a broken cross, a destroyed church, and perhaps a beaten bible that portrays “The Godless Communism. ” According to the broken bible, cross and church, the picture presents the viewer with a fact that Communists detested Christianity. Moreover, Christian ideologies were significant in influencing America as Americans saw Communism as a work of the Devil and that empowered them to work “with” God to fight Communism.
A larger theme that this picture fits into is how Americans always have an ideology of good or bad. Americans have an innate tendency to take sides on various things such as sports players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, or political entities like the Populist and the Progressives, and even phone operating systems like Apple and Android. Americans tend to fight for what they believe in and will defend their beliefs in an argument that may provoke their beliefs.
For example, most people think Kobe Bryant is a better basketball player than LeBron James because of the fact that Kobe has won 4 more NBA Championships than LeBron. Another theme this picture portrays is the use of propaganda to evoke a certain side of opinion; that it was used to promote the idea that America and it’s predominant belief in Christianity is good and that the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, and communism is bad. The government uses propaganda to influence the attitude of an audience to choose a side by only showing only one side of an argument.
In other times, like WWII, propaganda was used to encourage women to join the war effort by building planes, tanks, and becoming nurses which transformed women’s roles during that era. This picture also portrays the theme of the involvement of Christianity in American life. The belief of Christianity in America helped promote the idea that Communism was the work of the devil as Crandall illustrates. In essence, communism has helped Christianity become a predominant belief system in America.
For example, Americans believed in Christianity as they did not want to be considered communist. This cartoon tells a lot about American culture during the time of the Cold War; that Americans believed Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union were destructive, deceitful, and hypocritical, and developed a predominant belief in Christianity. Americans also had an ideology of good and bad which is exemplified by the American belief that Christianity was good and Communism was bad. In addition propaganda helped promote these ideas through cartoons.