Satan Leads the Ball

Which Axis members joined the dance of death?

Arthur Szyk, 1942. Satan Leads the Ball. New York.

Arthur Szyk, 1942. Satan Leads the Ball. New York.

 

Satan Leads the Ball lampoons all of the major Axis leaders, who are interspersed among other German characters and symbolic figures including Death and Satan.

Scroll down to discover who they are

Brunhilde

Brünnhilde

In German mythology, Brünnhilde is one of the Valkyries, an epic heroine. Wagner fused Scandiavian and German myths in his Ring Cycle opera series, that centered around a ring which grants world domination to the bearer. The Nazi’s used Wagner’s music at a number of their political rallies.

Szyk used the figure of Brünnhilde in earlier works to represent Germany.

 


Benito Mussolini

Mussolini was the head of the National Fascist Party in Italy from 1922 to his ousting in 1943.

Benito Mussolini

Henri Phillipe Pétain

Henri Philippe Pétain

A decorated war hero in WWI, Pétain was Prime Minister of France when the armistice was signed with Germany, effectively handing Hitler control of the country. He quickly assumed near-absolute powers, and set about converting France to a Fascist-like state.

 


Pierre Laval

Laval served under Pétain as his Deputy Prime Minister, before taking over the Prime Minister position in 1931. He was responsible for the deportation of Jews to Nazi death camps.

Pierre Laval

Wermacht Skeleton

Wermacht Skeleton

Dressed in the uniform of the Wermacht, the Nazi defense force, the skeleton represents death.

 


Hermann Göring

Göring was Reich Marshall of the Great German Reich, and named as Hitler’s successor.

Pierre Laval

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler

Hitler was the leader of the Nazi party, and Führer of Germany during its rule. His leadership resulted in the brutal death of over 11 million people.

   


Figure representing German Industry

This figure represents German heavy industry, and how wealthy they became through their support of the Nazi war machine.

Heavy Industry

Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels was the Minister of Propaganda for the Nazi Party. His incitement of religious, racial and ethnic hatred resulted in atrocities, torture and the death of over 11 million people.

 

 


Jack in the Box

The jack in the box carried by Goebbels has a Jewish mien, and carries a hammer and sickle in his hands. Szyk is referencing the role Goebbels played in manipulating the image of Jews and the Soviet Union through propaganda.

 

 

Jack in the box

Possibly Alfred Jodl

Alfred Jodl?

Our best guess to date on who this figure is, suggests Alfred Jodl is the most likely candidate. Jodl was Chief of the Operations Staff of the Armed Forces High Command during the Nazi regime. If you think you know who it is, please use the contact form below to let us know!


Paul von Hindenburg

Hindernburg was President of Germany from 1925. Old and in ill health, he appointed Hitler Chancellor of Germany in 1933. He played an important role in the Nazi rise to power.

 

 

Paul von Hindenburg

Possibly Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler?

Himmler was the Reichsführer of the SS, however, he is seen here without his characteristic glasses. Himmler was responsible for the establishment of the Nazi extermination camps.

Other suggestions for this character include Martin Bormann, Hitler’s private secretary. If you think you know who it is, please use the contact form below to let us know!


Hirohito (Emperor Shōwa)

Emperor of Japan, Hirohito was the head of state and Japan’s militant imperialism during WWII. While he was never prosecuted for war crimes, his role in the atrocities of WWII remains controversial to this day.

 

 

 

Hirohito

Satan

Satan

At the head of the line, and leading the Axis powers in their dance of death is Satan.

 

Suggestions on the characters? Please contact us!

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