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Land of the Soviets: Was Hergé an anti-communist?

rastapoper
Member
#1 · Posted: 12 May 2009 17:07 · Edited by: rastapoper
This is not gonna be a duplicate. Was Hergé an anti-communist to depict evil of Soviets?

I talking about the first book, so I posted it here.
mct16
Member
#2 · Posted: 13 May 2009 13:47 · Edited by: mct16
At the time Herge was working for the right-wing paper "Le XXeme siecle" which was run by Norbert Wallez, a Catholic priest and leading right-wing figure who is said to have admired Mussolini, the Fascist dictator of Italy.

A major source for Herge's "Soviets" story was "Moscow Unveiled" by Joseph Douillet who had been a diplomat in Russia for almost a decade and it seems that many of the scenes Tintin witnesses - including the "election" in which the people are forced at gunpoint to "accept" the Soviet list of candidates - are based on his claims.

On the other hand, it has to be said that the way the kulak peasant is treated and the theft of food by the likes of Stalin is not that far from the truth. Stalin did export food abroad and starve his own people as part of his industrialisation policy.

I believe that Herge's own politics may have been right-wing and anti-Communist at this stage of his career, especially when having to work for a man like Wallez, but he may have become more liberal, maybe right-of-center, later in his life, especially after the war when he got into serious trouble for working for "Le Soir", the collaborationist newspaper.
rastapoper
Member
#3 · Posted: 13 May 2009 16:52
mct16:
but he may have become more liberal, maybe right-of-center, later in his life, especially after the war when he got into serious trouble for working for "Le Soir", the collaborationist newspaper.

What do you mean by this?
Harrock n roll
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 13 May 2009 22:10 · Edited by: Harrock n roll
I'd say it went with the territory. Even just looking at the Wikipedia page for anti-communism you can see the foremost anti-communists were the Conservative/traditionalists, the Fascists and the Catholics. Belgium at the time was a strange mixture of all three of these.

As for Hergé's politics, he's a difficult one to pin down. I don't believe he was very politically inclined and he comes across as rather naive - probably something of a 'fair weather' friend, politically speaking. I think the ends often justified the means for Hergé; so long as he could go on working on Tintin he was happy to bend with the wind. I agree with mct16, Hergé was naturally very conservative and right wing, as were most people in Belgium at the time, but he later became more liberal.

However, he was quite an astute political satirist, as the Tintin books testify. And you need to be 'on the outside' politically, so to speak, to be able to do that.
mct16
Member
#5 · Posted: 14 May 2009 07:05
During World War Two, the Tintin strip was published in "Le Soir", a paper which collaborated with the Germans occupiers. After the war many of its staff were investigated and some were prosecuted on these grounds. Herge was no exception. When first published in the paper, "The Shooting Star" included scenes with Jews that some have described as nothing short of anti-semitic. These scenes have not been included in the books.

Thus Herge got into serious trouble with the authorities but Resistance hero Raymond Leblanc spoke up for him and he was cleared - in return for setting up the weekly comic "Tintin Magazine" (see Leblanc's obituary).

Overall, the post-war Tintin stories strike me as less politically hard-hitting as compared to those of the 1930s (such as "The Blue Lotus" (foreign occupation of China) and "King Ottokar's Sceptre" (in which the theft of the sceptre is just one step in a major invasion plan)). He does raise the arms and slave trade in "The Red Sea Sharks" and the gypsies are persecuted without much in the way of actual proof of wrongdoing in "The Castafiore Emerald": the liberal Tintin gives them the benefit of the doubt, whereas the more conservative Thompsons are quick to accuse them and stand by this view for much of the story.
rastapoper
Member
#6 · Posted: 14 May 2009 12:26
Picaros? err
gorfdota
Member
#7 · Posted: 7 Nov 2013 13:46
Harrock n roll
the foremost anti-communists were the Conservative/traditionalists, the Fascists and the Catholics. Belgium at the time was a strange mixture of all three of these.

Sorry to interfere, but there were quite a few Socialists around in Belgium at the time, alternating as the single largest party, with the Catholics. It is also my impression that sometimes they particpated in government. And there was also enough of a Communist Party too, at least in the 1936 election

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belgian_general_election,_1936

so not all belgians were rabid reactionaries, although Herge's circle most probably were. The political situation might have been more to the right in Brussels, but I know nothing about that

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