There is a creepy badge. At first it appeared without a rim, and it was impossible to know that it was the badge of a military unit, a battalion. The badge later came up with the margins showing the unit number: 300/2 battalion. The badge depicts a bird flying over a dead landscape, the Hungarian sacred bird “turul” with a sword between its claws. In Hungary, during the Great War, the turul was a symbol of military virtues, courage, perseverance and, last but not least, victory. Yet, somehow, over this dead landscape, he rather embodies the horrors of war for me: there are dead in the landscape, and the whole landscape is very barren. This badge is not so much about glory and joy, but about destruction and suffering. And the turul is the bird of death here. It’s very strange that by the way, the badge evokes the third 1916 Christmas in the trenches, a celebration of hope and fondness. There is no trace of that feeling on the badge.
A badge depicting the horrors of war fits well with the post card’s painting. I don’t describe what everyone can see: destruction, suffering, and the demon of destruction as it rages. The title of the picture is “Europe is mourning”. Religion, morality and fairness do not matter here: the Great War is an endless series of horrors. This is what this picture is about.
No matter who was responsible for it, it happened. It doesn’t matter who committed what crimes. Bottom line, the message is in the picture: never again! And we didn’t have to wait just 20 years and the madness was on us again. Therefore, we must not forget where we come from, what is at stake if we do not finally learn from the old lesson.