The Danger of Bolshevism


Following the Bolshevik (i.e., Communist) takeover of Russia in November 1917, it was widely thought that other European countries might fall to the communists. Seeking to capitalize on widespread economic misery in the aftermath of the German defeat in World War I, the Communist Party of Germany attempted several unsuccessful takeovers of the country in 1919–21. This 1919 poster warns Germans about the danger of a communist coup. It shows a skeleton wrapped in a black cloak with a bloody knife held in its teeth. In the background is a hill covered in crosses; at the top of the hill is a gallows. In Russia, the ruling communists had unleashed what became known as the Red Terror against their political opponents, and this campaign of mass killings, torture, and oppression lent credibility to images such as the one on this poster. Widespread fear of communism was also one of the factors that led to the rise of the Nazi party in the 1920s and early 1930s. This poster is by Rudi Feld (1897–1994), a Berlin-born artist and set designer who worked for the major German film studio, Universum Film AG (Ufa). Feld, who was Jewish, immigrated to the United States in 1937, where he had a long career in the U.S. film and television industry.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Die Gefahr des Bolschewismus


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 94 x 69 centimeters



  1. Johannes Kamps, “Rudi Feld,”  in UFA Film Posters, 1918–1943, edited by Peter Mänz and Christian Maryška (Heidelberg: Umschau Braus, 1998).

Last updated: October 25, 2013