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“Beat Back the Hun” was one of many posters issued by the U.S. government during World War I to encourage support of the war. This poster shows a bestial and massive German soldier; his head and shoulders looming over a war-stricken landscape. He holds a rifle with a bloody smeared bayonet in his right hand and his left hand resting on a ruined building with bloody fingers. The caption, “Beat Back the HUN with LIBERTY BONDS” capitalized on the fear of Americans and encouraged them to buy liberty bonds to finance the war. Liberty Loans were bonds that the Government sold so they could keep up with the expenses of war. These were sold back to the Government after the war. The word “Hun” is a derogatory word towards the Germans that derives from the nomadic tribe, the Huns, in the 4th and 6th century AD, known for their barbaric and warlike invasions. (“Beat back the Hun with Liberty Bonds”, 2017)Displaying the Germans as the Huns rationalized the war as the fight between good and evil personifying the Germans as animalistic, savage killing machines. Personifying the enemy as non human was a common propaganda practice to drive Americans to purchase Liberty Bonds to finance the war. This poster was created by Frederick Strothmann in 1918. Strothmann was an American artist and illustrator. According to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Strothmann was best known for his illustration work for popular authors such as Mark Twain. The poster was created and reproduced as a photomechanical print at the time of it’s distribution.


WWI, poster, Liberty Loans, War Bonds, Beat Back the Hun, Frederick Strothmann