No to Nuclear War


Creator Hans Erni
Printing year 1955
Sheet size (cm) 127.5×89.5
Printing technique Offset
Printer Affiches Atar
Condition B+
Asking price 2'400 CHF
Categories Plebiscites & Campaigns

One of the first posters (if not the first in the world) to denounce the nuclear arms race and drastically demonstrate the impending consequences: While the globe depicted as a skull with the mushroom cloud rising over Europe is still disturbing today, to say the least, one can imagine what effect this motif had on viewers seventy years ago.

This original poster was commissioned by the Swiss Movement for Peace on the occasion of the worldwide collection of signatures in 1955 for the “Vienna Appeal” of the World Peace Council, which the Soviet Union financed from its foundation in 1950 until 1989. At the beginning of the 1950s, the USSR was still lagging behind the USA in the nuclear arms race and had an interest in limiting measures. At the same time, it used the movement in the West as a PR vehicle. Accordingly, the Swiss Movement for Peace (now the Swiss Peace Movement) was not particularly welcome in the Swiss Peace Council, which was founded in 1945.

Nevertheless, this is a legendary original Swiss poster, bursting with power, by Hans Erni (1909 – 2015), who was ostracized at the time of its creation. After his meteoric rise to fame in the 1930s, he was targeted by the authorities during the World War as part of the intellectual defense of the nation because of his engagement with socialist ideas. His poster created in 1944 for the “Swiss – Soviet Union Association”, for example, was banned by the Federal Council in February 1945. After the suppression of the uprising in Hungary in 1956, Erni bid farewell to socialism.