“Everyman His Own Football”

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“Jedermann Sein Eigner Fussball” February 15 1919
This Dadaist journal, published on February 15th 1919 and selling a remarkable 7,600 copies before being banned and confiscated by the police that very day, shows Berlin Dada and its most aggressively politicized and satirical. This is hardly surprising considering the atmosphere in Berlin; just weeks before the Spartacist uprising was brutally crushed by the majority socialist SPD government who sponsored the use of extreme right-wing para-military Freikorps to suppress the revolt, leading to the subsequent murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebnecht whose bodies were unceremoniously dumped in the Landwehr canal.

The title is an exhortation to not allow yourself to be kicked around by others but to do it yourself (excellent advise as pertinent today as it was then). The cover shows the heads of leading SPD figures, including Minister of Defense Gustav Noske who had sanctioned the deployment of the Freikorps, arrayed around an open fan with the caption ‘Prize Competition: Who is the Prettiest?’

Everyman His Own Football is a rare example of the card carrying German Communist Party (KPD) faction Herzfelde-Heartfield-Grosz  and the anarchist contingent of Johnnes Baader and Raoul Hausmann collaborating. The later strained relationship  between the KPD and the Herzfelde-Heartfield-Grosz faction, marked by mutual misunderstanding and occasional contempt foreshadows the difficulties experienced between the Surrealists and the French Communist Party (PFC) in Paris in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s.

Hurrah, the butter is all gone

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Hurrah, the butter is all gone-John Heartfield 1935-Cover AIZ 1935
The technique of photo-montage was pioneered by Berlin Dada, namely Hannah Hoch, Georg Grosz and John Heartfield.  Heartfield is especially notable for his politicised satires of Hitler and National Socialism that appeared on the cover of AIZ, a leading and best-selling socialist newspaper of the early 1930’s.

Hurrah, the butter is all gone parodies the aesthetics of Nazi propaganda. Showing a typical German family gnawing on various iron implements, including a bicycle and an axe while the dog licks a gigantic nut and bolt. A portrait of Hitler is in pride of place and the walls are emblazoned with swastikas. The accompanying text refers to a speech delivered by Hermann Goring during a food shortage: “Hurrah, the butter is all gone!” Goring said in one Hamburg address: “Iron ore has made the Reich strong. Butter and dripping have, at most, made the people fat.”