Remember Belgium

Remember Belgium, 1918

Ellsworth Young (American, 1866-1952)

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

The “Rape of Belgium” was one of the most prominent examples of German cruelty that the Committee on Public Information used to motivate Americans to support the war effort. It refers to the German occupation of the small, neutral nation of Belgium, wherein war crimes against innocent citizens were committed on a grand scale. The German army burned entire cities and carried out mass executions. Such war crimes were all the evidence the West needed to be convinced that the Germans were savages. In this Ellsworth Young poster, the representation of the violent German grabbing a woman incites the viewer to do all that is necessary, including purchasing war bonds, to stop his assault of the innocent.

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