Halt The Liars! Stop The Fake News!
Rare separately published political broadside, decrying the channeling of Stalinist Russia's lies, fake news and disinformation campaigns via the French Communist Party, after World War II.
As described in greater detail below, the image shows Stalin breathing out hate filled diseased bacteria on France, in the form of famous French Communist leaders of the period. The second line of text translates as "The coccobacilli sow hatred!” Coccobaccilli was a euphemism for disease causing bacteria, evoking an image of biological warfare. The spelling of "cocobaccilli" with a single "c" is a play on the French pejorative term "coco", as describing a communist.
Here ‘Paix et Liberté’ uses the widely-diffused Russian propaganda story that the newly founded NATO was utilizing bacteriological weapons against its adversaries in Korea, as a meme for denouncing this Communist rumor-mongering. At the time, Russia was waging a rumor campaign that American bombers were dropping diseased insects over Korea. The figures represented in this image are French Communists and, at least one fellow-traveler (Pierre Cot, founder of the Union progressiste), portrayed as themselves poisonous bacilla spreading hatred throughout all corners of the French hexagon with their mendacious claims.
The image shows Joesph Stalin broadcasting these bacilla with a megaphone. Almost next to him but at an appropriately deferential level stands Maurice Thorez, Secretary-General of the French Communist Party. He is connected with a string to his wife, Jeanette Vermeersch, figure III and the only woman in the group, herself a prominent Communist activist and, for many years, a deputy to the French National Assembly.
Among the other “bacilla” are Frédéric Joliot-Curie, one of the prominent intellectuals in the French Communist Party who, with his wife, Irène Joliot-Curie, won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935. One sees also Charles Tillon, figure VII, founder and commandant of the FTPF (Francs tireurs et partisans français) one of the most important pillars of the French Resistance during the Second World War. In 1952, Tillon as well as Andre Marty, figure II, and in 1954, Auguste Lecoeur, figure XI, were to be read out of the Communist Party.
Paix et Liberte
The anti-communist group ‘Paix et Liberté’ waged an uncompromising and lengthy campaign against Communist “lies," "fake news" and other disinformation spread by the communist party, and to inform the French public that the French Communist Party was serving as a covert agent for Russia. One of its consistent themes was the discrepancy between the facts, as they could be ascertained by an objective individual, and the falsehoods propagated by the French Communist Party as the mouthpiece of Kremlin Cold-War propaganda.
Between 1950 and 1955, Paix et Liberté’ published several broadsides in various sizes each month for distribution around France.