Brief History of Paix et Liberté
In the fall of 1950, Jean-Paul David, mayor of Mantes, Deputy from Seine-et-Oise and Radical Socialist Party politician, created the organization Paix et Liberté in order to expose what he perceived as the Communist lies presented to the French public through propaganda distributed by the French Communist Party (Parti Communiste Français, PCF). The PCF had developed an extremely successful billboard campaign using the 1949 drawing of Pablo Picasso's peace dove, which he created for the PCF's World Committee of Peace Partisans' conference held in Paris in the spring of 1949. The success of this poster in particular spurred David, with the support of Premier René Pleven, to organize a semi-private, anti-Communist agency. This agency published and distributed posters supplemented by newsletters, brochures, pamphlets, stickers, and tracts that used the words, themes and symbols of the Communist Party to counter their message. In fact, the Paix et Liberté poster titled "The Dove that Goes Bang" redesigned Picasso's peace dove adorning the dove with a tank-turret for a head and a cannon for a beak. The posters also criticized several important figures within the PCF including Maurice Thorez, head of the PCF from 1930-1964, a minister of state under de Gaulle in 1945 and deputy premier in 1947 and Jacques Duclos and Marcel Cachin, both party members. Other posters criticized Lenin and Stalin.
Brief Description of Posters
This website contains digital images of 35 oversized posters designed by Paix et Liberté; 21 of these are text only and the remaining 14 contain graphic designs either based on Picasso's dove or photographs and caricatures of PCF members or Soviet leaders.
More information on the Paix et Liberté collection can be found in the finding aid.
See http://www.princeton.edu/mudd/ for more information about the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library and its collections.
"Letter From Paris," The New Yorker, (March 10, 1951) p. 107-108.
Peyton, Bernard, Jr. "Scourge of French Reds Here, Makes Potent Weapon of Humor," New York Herald Tribune (January 28, 1952).
Schoenbrun, David. "The Posters That Go Boom!" New York Times Magazine, (May 27, 1951) pp. 6-7, 10-11, 22, 48.
n.b. copies of the above articles can be found in the Paix et Liberté collection, in the folder entitled "American Press Clippings."
Exhibit created by Anastasia Karel, Summer 2002