“How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think.”
Mocking Adolf Hitler has become John Heartfield’s obsession. He wants to share his ability to create powerful anti-fascist art.
From April 1931 – January 1932, John Heartfield makes a professional trip to the USSR. He gives lectures as he travels to Baku, Batumi, and Odessa on behalf of the newspaper USSR in Construction.
In Moscow, Heartfield exhibits approximately three hundred of his works. He becomes acquainted with Aleksandr Rodchenko.
He forms a close friendship with Sergei Tretyakov. Tretyakov will later write one of the first critical analyses of Heartfield’s work. Communist politics, as in so many other countries, moves towards fascism when Josef Stalin takes power. Tretyakov is arrested for treason in the Stalin purges. Before his execution, he commits suicide by throwing himself down a flight of stairs.
Heartfield returns to Berlin knowing he is risking his life. He brazenly continues to produce montages mocking Adolf Hitler, his supporters, and the entire National Socialist (Nazi) Party.