The Big Parade


This political cartoon was created in 1932 by Alois Derso (1888–1964) and Emery Kelen (1896–1978). Derso and Kelen were Hungarians who worked for the League of Nations in Geneva, where they were renowned for their satirical portrayals of the League and its conferences. “The Big Parade” concerns the 1932 Geneva Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments. It shows a procession of politicians rushing across the page in comical versions of their national costumes. Adolf Hitler of Germany, Prime Minister Saitō of Japan, and Prime Minister Pierre Laval of France, whose countries were all regarded as opposed, for different reasons, to disarmament, are depicted seated on a dirigible throwing flowers down on the passing parade. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is dressed as an ancient Roman emperor, holding a banner with the imperial motto, SPQR (Latin Senatus Populusque Romanus, the Senate and People of Rome), an allusion to his ambitions to restore modern Italy to the glories of ancient Rome. Other figures shown include British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald; British diplomat Viscount Robert Cecil; U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson; Polish leader Józef Piłsudski; and Soviet foreign minister Maxim Litvinov. The key at the bottom, in French, indicates the names and countries of the persons depicted. The cartoon is from the archives of the League of Nations, which are preserved at the United Nations Office in Geneva. They were inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register in 2010.

Last updated: August 5, 2016