“French Reds Greet New Premiere”


“French Reds Greet New Premiere” (May 26, 1936)
by John Tinney McCutcheon (1870-1949)
14 x 18 in., ink on drawing board
Coppola Collection

On the Purdue campus, where he was a student, McCutcheon (class of 1889) is memorialized in a coeducational dormitory, John T. McCutcheon Hall. The lobby displays an original of one of his drawings, a nearly life-size drawing of a young man.

After college, McCutcheon moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked at the Chicago Morning News (later: Chicago Record) and then at the Chicago Tribune from 1903 until his retirement in 1946. McCutcheon received the Pulitzer Prize for Cartoons in 1932.

1936… the Olympics in Berlin, Italian aggression in Ethiopia, Germans reoccupying the Rhineland… and a push by Stalin to push Bolshevism through Mediterranean Europe.

After the right-wing demonstrations in Paris of February 1934, Leon Blum worked for solidarity between Socialists, Radicals, and all other opponents of Fascism. In 1932, he had developed a Socialist program of pacifism, nationalization of French industry, and measures against unemployment. These efforts contributed to the formation of the electoral alliance of the left known as the Popular Front, which in the elections of April and May 1936 won a large majority. Blum, its chief architect, became premier as leader of the Popular Front government of June 1936. He was the first Socialist and the first Jew to become premier of France.

Blum’s plans to establish effective state controls over private industry and finance aroused bitter hostility among French business leaders, who refused to cooperate with his government, and it was at this time that sections of the right wing adopted the ominous slogan, “Better Hitler than Blum.”

Blum resigned in June, 1937.

Communist leader Maurice Thorez, supported by Stalin and a Communist Party leader since 1923, presided over massive growth in the Communist Party, beginning with the elections of 1936.

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