May 9, 2013, by Sarah Colborne

“Hitler is kaput!”: Soviet war poster victory celebrations

Soviet war poster depicting Russian tank on Berlin's "Victory Avenue"

On Berlin’s “Victory Avenue” TASS Window 1236, created 12 May 1945

As Victory Day (Thursday 9 May) is marked across Europe, the celebratory sentiments of some of the Soviet propaganda posters featured in the online exhibition Windows on War, are still powerful, even though almost 70 years has passed since the war ended. The posters appeared almost daily in the windows of TASS, the Central Telegraph Agency in Moscow, the main news distributor during the Soviet period.

Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, and the war in Europe was over. A number of posters sum up the excitement of final victory and the assertion of Soviet power. One of the posters featured in the online exhibition, which appeared on the 12th May 1945, celebrates the arrival of the Red Army in Berlin on the 30th April 1945 (the very day of Hitler’s suicide). It depicts Hitler fleeing the Russian tanks, with toppled German statues declaring “Hitler is kaput”.

View the poster online in all its striking detail and read about the accompanying verse by Lebedev-Kumach, in which Berlin’s Victory Avenue is turned into Avenue Kaput, or ‘Avenue of the Broken’.

The exhibition is a collaboration between the University’s Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, Manuscripts and Special Collections and the Web Technologies team. It is curated by Cynthia Marsh, Emeritus Professor of Russian Drama and Literature.

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Posted in Exhibitions