Female employees of the German munitions factory WASAG in their work clothes, 1916. The one on the right seems to have been “conscripted” (zwangsverpflichtet), though it is unclear on what basis. She was also apparently highly skilled insofar as she was a production manager (Produktionsleiterin) of some kind. Source: Haus der Geschichte Wittenberg, “Arbeiterinnen der WASAG Reinsdorf,” https://st.museum-digital.de/index.php?t=objekt&oges=69193
Dear National Security Establishment,
Please stop your collective freak-out about North Korea. The power of that country’s weapons lies mainly in our inability to tolerate any risk whatsoever.
I find this 1917 poster interesting because it seems to target urban, working-class immigrants. Besides the dress of the people waiting in line to lend Uncle Sam some money, there is the American flag held by the child, whose enthusiasm attracts the attention of the adults around her.
Children, whether immigrants themselves or native born, seem to have played a special role in immigrant families, mediating in different ways the adults’ encounter with the culture and institutions of the new country. Certainly the authorities saw such potential in these children.1
- See Simone Lässig, “The History of Knowledge and the Expansion of the Historical Research Agenda,” Bulletin of the German Historical Institute 59 (Fall 2016): 29–32, https://www.ghi-dc.org/fileadmin/user_upload/GHI_Washington/Publications/Bulletin59/29.pdf. ↩︎
If military service had become a rite of passage for young men in much of Europe well before the mutual slaughter began in the summer of 1914, neither its ubiquity nor its meaning to those it embraced were foregone conclusions. To be sure, the fundamental challenge offered by the declaration of the levée en masse in revolutionary France in 1793 represented an important first step, as did monarchical Prussia’s turn in 1813 to the near-general conscription of those men considered young and fit enough to join the fight. Indeed, Prussia’s response to the Napoleonic challenge intertwined military service, citizenship, and manhood in the gendered construction of a nation at war that bore a striking resemblance to those ideals manifest in the mobilizations of 1914. Nonetheless, near-universal manhood conscription took many more decades to predominate on the continent, (never mind the United Kingdom, which did not resort to it until 1916).
Poster from 1919. Source and further details: Library of Congress, PPOC, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002708879/.
Mars (god of war), late 1918. Source and further details: Library of Congress, PPOC, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2016679640/.
Interesting to consider that this was a reality for school kids in the early days of the Cold War. By the 1970s, when I was in school and aware of such things, such an understanding of nuclear weapons would have seemed extemely naive.
In the mid-1980s, in the field artillery, we were taught to drop to the ground, asses to the blast and hands between our legs. That was for tactical nuclear artillery rounds, but it felt just as silly.
Source and further details: Prelinger Archives, https://archive.org/details/DuckandC1951.
This is an older critique, and I agree there has been much improvement. Still, negative examples abound, making this short piece as worthwhile as ever.