Only one humane, political work of art in the last fifty years has achieved real fame -- Picasso's Guernica, 1937. It is the last of the line of formal images of battle and suffering that runs from Uccello's Rout of San Romano through Tintoretto to Rubens, and thence to Goya's Third of May and Delacroix's Massacre at Chios. It was inspired by an act of war, the bombing of a Basque town during the Spanish Civil War. The destruction of Guernica was carried out by German aircraft, manned by German pilots, at the request of the Spanish Nationalist commander, General Emilio Mola. Because the Republican government of Spain had granted autonomy to the Basques, Guernica was the capital city of an independent republic. Its razing was taken up by the world press, beginning with The Times in London, as the arch-symbol of Fascist barbarity. Thus Picasso's painting shared the exemplary fame of the event, becoming as well known a memorial of catastrophe as Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade had been eighty years before. (source)
Where is the boat people's Guernica?