The Indies Must Be Free!
- Alternate Title:
- Indie Moet Vrij! Werkt en Vecht Ervoor! (The Indies Must Be Free! Work and Fight For It!)
- The Indies Must Be Free!
- Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
- Keely, Patrick Cokayne
- Other Creators:
- Regerings Voorlichtings Dienst (R.V.D.) (publisher); James Haworth & Brother Ltd. (printer)
- Posted Date:
- ID Number:
- File Name:
- 1940 - 1959
World War II
- 75 x 50 (centimeters, height x width)
- A powerful poster depicting an evil yellow Japanese octopus whose tentacles control the Dutch East Indies as the war continues. In one view, "The genesis for this poster . . . lies in the determination of all the colonial powers, unless irrevocably on the 'wrong side' to reclaim their pre-war overseas possessions." Curtis 2016, 195. James Haworth & Brother Ltd. reportedly printed 10,000 copies of this poster for the London-based Dutch government in exile. Ibid. "While the propaganda message of the map is clear, the exact purpose of the poster and whether indeed it was ever actually distributed is more problematic. It may be that when this was commissioned and printed in 1944, it was in anticipation of the imminent Allied liberation of the Dutch East Indies. The intention would have been to distribute it to the re-emerging Dutch colonial authorities and the hopefully grateful peoples of the newly liberated territories. If this was indeed the plan it turned out to be seriously wrong on both counts. Firstly the Americans decided to bypass the Dutch East Indies and push straight on towards Japan itself. . . . Secondly the Indonesians themselves having now experienced subjugation from both the Dutch and the Japanese . . . , were determined upon their own independence which they declared within five days of the Japanese surrender." Ibid. A different view is that the poster was "distributed in the liberated South of the Netherlands." Aulich 1944, 19.
Keely was a well-known commercial artist who produced a number of works for London Transport, Southern Railways, the GPO and many others. His work, like this one, typically featured the bold use of color and symbols in a simple and straightforward way. Curtis 2016, 195; Byars 2011b.
The octopus is a persistent trope in persuasive cartography. It first appeared in Frederick Rose's "Serio-Comic War Map For The Year 1877," ID #2272, about the Russo-Turkish War. "Once Fred W. Rose had created the 'Octopus' map of Europe, it proved difficult to rid propaganda maps of them." Barber 2010, 164. "The prevalence of the octopus motif in later maps suggests that the octopus also spoke to humanity's primeval fears, evoking a terrifying and mysterious creature from the depths (the dark outer places of the world) that convincingly conjured a sense of limitless evil." Baynton-Williams 2015, 180.
The collection includes numerous maps - from Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Latin America, the Netherlands and the U.S. - employing the octopus motif. (Search > “octopus”.) Many of these relate to imperialism and war, from 1877 to the Cold War. Others attack social and political targets, including a "reactionary" journalist, the Standard Oil monopoly, “Landlordism,” mail order houses, Jews and Mormons.
For further information on the Collector’s Notes and a Feedback/Contact Link, see https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/about-collection-personal-statement and https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/feedback-and-contact
- Private Collection of PJ Mode
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