Hurra! Ein Kriegsbilderbuch…by Herbert Rikli

A recent addition to the Military Collection is this first edition of a propagandized German illustrated children’s book published in Stuttart by Loewe in 1915. It contains 23 leaves of pages.

The book glorifies the German war effort through a little child’s fantasy of vanquishing Germany’s enemies and teaching German youth that their duty is to defend the homeland at all costs. The artist behind the pictures was Rikli (1880-1939), a Swiss illustrator and graphic designer .

The dealer notes, “Throughout the narrative, Willi, and later his Austrian friend, Franzl, heroically fend off soldiers many times their senior. The unsettling images depict the children in combat, marching, charging towards the enemy, firing at caricatured enemies, and throwing bombs at a city from a zeppelin. Willi is shown gleefully performing a soldier’s duties. Rikli employs a variety of devices — racial caricatures of colonial troops and Willi’s use of modern inventions like submarines and battleships, in contrast to the enemy employing rats, beetles, moles, grasshoppers, etc. — to belittle their French, English, and Russian enemies. The present book aptly encapsulates hostile European nationalism boiling over to the point that even children were targets of disturbing jingoism.”

The work contrasts with Ye Berlyn Tapestrie with images by John Hassall giving the British perspective to children about the brutality of the Germans.

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