"Drunk tree": illustrations published by medical periodicals of the Ukrainian SSR as an instrument to overcome alcoholism in the 1920s





anti-alcohol campaign, Soviet power, Ukrainian SSR, 1920s, journal graphics, medical periodicals


Alcoholism remained one of the most urgent problems of the Ukrainian SSR in the 1920s. In the article, the author analyses activities of the Bolsheviks aimed to solve these social problems with the help of illustrative materials of medical periodicals. The author found that after the abolition of the "dry law" the Soviet authorities intensified their agitation and propaganda activities, in which doctors were actively involved. Anti-alcohol topics were reflected in a number of illustrations and articles of the popular science magazine "Put’ k zdorov’yu” (The Way to Health). In order to counteract the spread of alcoholism, the published illustrations and texts showed a negative influence of alcohol on the body, they exposed existing myths about its positive effects on humans, emphasized the role of drunkenness in the spread of tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases, and  demonstrated the  negative impact of the latter on children. They also illustrated various types of deviant behavior of people under the influence of alcohol intoxication, as the fate of children of alcoholics, in particular child prostitution, and further - prostitution in general, disorderly conduct and criminality. A special attention was paid to family and financial problems caused by drunkenness, etc. The author finds that on pages of the magazine not only a negative image of the alcohol-addicted people was created, but also ways to overcome this "social disease" were offered. In particular, one promoted activities of the workers’ clubs, summer clubs in the gardens, reading-rooms, cinema, theaters, and teahouse; calls for a healthy lifestyle, physical education were made. At the same time, the Soviet government used the anti-alcohol campaign to achieve other political goals, in particular discreditation of the tsarist government, and the pre-revolutionary order at all, and dissemination of the negative image of the "NEP-men", within the framework of the anti-religious campaign.



How to Cite

Adamska І. (2021). "Drunk tree": illustrations published by medical periodicals of the Ukrainian SSR as an instrument to overcome alcoholism in the 1920s. TEXT AND IMAGE: ESSENTIAL PROBLEMS IN ART HISTORY, 2(4). https://doi.org/10.17721/2519-4801.2017.2.01