Beat Back the Hun with Liberty Bonds, 1918
F. (Frederick) Strothmann (American, b. 1872)
Lithograph on paper
On loan from the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection, Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of South Carolina
Before engaging in war with China in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901), Kaiser Wilhelm II is quoted as saying, “Just as the Huns a thousand years ago…gained a reputation the virtue of which they still live in historical tradition, so may the name of Germany become known in such a manner in China that no Chinaman will ever dare look askance at a German.” This poster became an iconic image of how the war was rationalized in the United States as a fight between good and evil. The depiction of the animalistic Hun crossing the waters both cast the seemingly distant Germans as an immediate threat while also personifying them as an inhumane, savage machine.