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Propaganda Medals

The First World War seems to have been fought with propaganda medals when considering the vast numbers that were issued during those four years. While sorting through a small hoard of medals two pieces caught my eye as prime examples of positive propaganda. The first depicts a French soldier (France) embracing his sweetheart Alsace, one of the French Provinces lost in 1871. Lying on the ground in the foreground is the former German border marker while behind them a battle rages. The other side shows the famous French “75” cannon above the dates 1914-1915. With these early war dates this medal had to be a statement of intent concerning the Alsace and the cannon represents the method to be used, which is my interpretation. The second medal shows what I assume to be a British soldier sharing or giving some thing to a German prisoner of war under the heading of “FRATERNITAS” or brotherhood. Even though I have never been a POW or a captor, I have never been able to see the cruel treatment of POW’s as anything other than stupid and illogical; after all it is much more cost effective to accept a surrender than to fight to the last man. Had the Russians and the Germans treated their prisoners better during WW II, the outcome of that war, at least on the Eastern Front, might have been very different. Unfortunately as in most wars insanity ruled.

About Fred Borgmann

Retired from KP after nearly 31 years as new issues editor and the Standard Catalogs.
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