The now famous collection " They made history »Publishes two new volumes dealing with two key figures in contemporary history: the US president John kennedy (mandate from 1961 to 1963) and the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong. Through these two great figures, readers plunge back into the heart of the ideological confrontation between Capitalism and Communism which crystallized at the end of the Second World War. These two volumes are perhaps a good idea to read for high school students preparing for the Bac: the comic strip appears as a playful addition to relax while continuing to revise a little.
In the heart of the cold war with Kennedy
John Kennedy is introduced through a (fictitious) interview with his brother Robert by a journalist. After a quick look back at John's youth, his life in Europe in the 1930s and his participation in the Second World War in the Pacific, the screenwriter sets out to present the main stages of his mandate. Quickly but clearly, the main crises of the mandate are explained: the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Berlin Wall, the second Cuban crisis, the inclinations of Communist China, the beginnings of the Vietnam War ... domestic policy issues are also discussed: apartheid, place of women in American society, Medicare ... To this we add the economic aspect, both at home (so that the recovery is clear proof of the superiority of capitalism over communism) than outside (with the third-globalist policy).
This comic book retrospective is completed by a small dossier produced by André Kaspi, professor of North American History at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and author of various books including John F. Kennedy: Une famille, un president, a myth.
The communist counter model with Mao Zedong
The volume devoted to Mao Zedong is produced by screenwriters Jean-David Morvan and Frédérique Voulyzé, drawn up by Rafaël Ortiz and completed by a historical dossier by Jean-Luc Domenach, sinologist and political scientist emeritus research director at the Fondation des sciences politiques and author of various books on China. The longest period treated (from the beginning of the 20th century to 1976) does not allow us to be as exhaustive as in the volume devoted to Kennedy, especially since the Chinese policy of the beginning of the 20th century (internal divisions between nationalist movement, communist movement and peasant revolts; foreign interference from the Soviet Union and Japan) is certainly too complex to be explained in detail in a comic which must focus on the fate of one man: Mao. The fact remains that the result is quite conclusive for a popular historical comic strip and that the BD / dossier set allows the neophyte reader to get a good idea of the birth of the People's Republic of China and of the personality of his "Grand Helmsman": egocentric man to the extreme, hedonist in a sense, pragmatic, without qualms when it was a question of eliminating all those who were in his path but also and above all a manipulator. The egocentric and manipulative sides of Mao Zedong are certainly those that stand out best in this comic, told through the eyes of Deng Yingchao, wife of Zhou Enlai, longtime companion of Mao to whom he had made himself indispensable to the point of s' to attract the wrath of one who would have liked to run everything by himself. The writers' critical gaze, put in the mouth of “Big Sister Deng”, allows us to deconstruct several points of Maoist legend: the pseudo heroic Long March of 1934 - 1938 which hides a terrible retreat from the nationalists; the three “years of natural disasters” and the famine of 1958 - 1962 which are natural only in name and which are the direct result of the catastrophic “Leap Forward” program implemented by Mao to accelerate the transition to a communist economy ; or the famous Cultural Revolution of 1966 - 1976 which was the opportunity for Mao to regain effective power thanks to the permanent purges implemented by his Red Guards.
Besides the discovery of Mao's personality and his particular relationship to the peasantry at a time when the other great figures of communism only see through the working class, the main interest of this comic is to clearly show the constitution of a myth Maoist, in China and abroad, which allows a man and his small aristocracy to remain in power. The crucial role of propaganda in the Maoist system is obvious and we know that this theme will be of great interest to the high school graduates to whom we have advised these two comics. A third volume, which would make it possible to examine the application of the communist model in the USSR, would ideally complete this diptych of contemporary history.
Kennedy, by André Kaspi (Author), Damour (Illustrations), Walter (Contributed by), Sylvain Runberg (Scenario). Glénat, November 2016.
Mao Zedong, by Rafael Ortiz (Illustrations), Jean-Luc Domenach (With the contribution of), Jean-David Morvan (Scenario), Frédérique Voulyzé (Scenario). Glénat, November 2016.