READ: Five Fingers Has The Hand (5 Finger hat die Hand)

Heartfield’s image 5 Finger hat die Hand (5 Fingers Has The Hand) is a simple photograph of a real worker’s raised hand. Yet, it remains one of the most recognizable and powerful images in political art history. It has been reproduced as a System Of A Down rock album cover. A man in Guatemala had it tattooed on his back in 2011. In the end, what is more powerful than the human hand? One hand can cast a vote that can maintain a democracy or smashed the fevered dreams of a dictator.


5 Finger hat die Hand

5 Finger hat die Hand

5 Fingers Has The Hand

5 Fingers Has The Hand


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5 Finger hat die Hand (5 Fingers Has The Hand)

By John J Heartfield

“Five Fingers Has The Hand (5 Finger hat die Hand) is easily one of John Heartfield’s most famous political images. This powerful statement has continued to become a symbol in venues as diverse as rock album covers and South American tattoos. The hand has the power to create greatness and demolish tyranny.

Heartfield suggested the images as a symbol for the five political candidates that were the greatest political threat to Adolf Hitler and The National Socialist Party. It may also be viewed as the power of individual voters working together towards a common goal.

Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg founded the newspaper Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag) in Berlin on November 9, 1918. When the German Communist Party (KPD) was formed in 1919, Die Rote Fahne became the party’s central publication.

The newspaper was outlawed, along with everything that was not in line with Adolf Hitler and The Nazi Party, following the fall of the Weimar Republic in 1933. Hitler seized power after his supporters blamed the KPD and Berlin Jews for the 1933 Reichstag (German Parliament) fire. However, Die Rote Fahne continued to be illegally distributed during the Nazi years.

Heartfield protested the murder of Liebknecht and Luxemburg at the direction of the SPD, the German Social Democratic Party. Heartfield hated the SPD. Its brutal police commissioner had ordered his force to open fire on a peaceful demonstration, killing mostly innocent bystanders. The SPD was notorious for its alignment and concessions to the Nazis in order to maintain its own political power.

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