SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content

Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Our Man in Havana: 1938

Our Man in Havana: 1938

November 11, 1938. "No doubt armies were discussed when this picture was made today. Maj. General Malin Craig, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and Col. Fulgencio Batista, Cuba's Dictator, as they chatted informally at Arlington while waiting for the arrival of President Roosevelt for the Armistice Day ceremonies there." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Viva Che,

¡Viva la Revolucion!


Generals in the 1930s were free to design their own uniforms. You'll notice the almost comical Patton look, MacArthur's crushed hat, and the Ike jacket were very individual. Generals would have tailors make their uniforms and a wide variety of looks resulted. Not sure when the practice ended but such individuality goes back to the birth of uniforms in the British Army.

Daffy Duck

It's funny that the first commenter mentioned Looney Tunes, as my first reaction upon seeing Batista was to think of Daffy Duck.

General Officer Uniforms

At that time (and maybe still) general officers could design their own uniforms; hence, Patton's get up and Ike's custom made waist-length jacket, which was eventually adopted by the Army as standard. Craig apparently had a "shoe thing."

No Army issue for officers

is correct, but there were (in my day, the 1960s) uniform requirements. Officers got a uniform allowance ($200 when I went on active duty in 1963) and bought their own uniform and kit, which had to to conform with the uniform standards. Service dress shoes were plain toe, black. Socks were plain black also.

Not as sharp as General Craig, but uniform!

Re: What's with the shoes

>> Were those wing tips standard Army issue, even for major generals, in those days?

There is no "standard Army issue" for officers. They have to buy their own clothes and shoes.

Shoes and socks

Whoa! Check out Gen. Craig's shoes and socks! Don't know exactly what that style would be called. It's neither a wingtip nor a cap toe, but some sort of combination. And patterned socks, too. Take note military historians and reenactors!

Three comments

Are those wingtips and socks on General Craig regulation? Why do they call them "uniforms" anyhow?

Did anyone think to offer the dictator an ash tray? Looks like he considered using his glove but settled on the floor.

The body language and personal space issues in this photo could keep a Psychology 101 class busy for a couple of weeks.

What, No Cuban Cigar?

Check out that insane cigarette holder attached to his thumb!

What's with the shoes

Were those wing tips standard army issue, even for major generals, in those days?


Note the spurs on General Batista's boots.......absolutely essential for riding in a limousine.

Plus, couldn't he have found an ashtray instead of flicking his cigarette ashes on the floor?

Military Issue

Military issue footwear must be different for generals than the rank and file. Or this could be the forerunner for Hawkeye and the M*A*S*H 4077th. Perforated wingtips and designer sox?

Oversize Me

Batista must have watched Disney and other animated comics on TV daily!

Banana Republic

Batista and his giant cap and pudgy piggy fingers and jackbooted trotters are right out of a Looney Tunes short! Where's Bugs Bunny when you need him?

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.