War propaganda

Iron Warrior

The war effort required a huge financial effort from the states. We often tend to forget this, as the human sacrifice or the destruction of war, is much more spectacular and sad. Yet, for many families, the lack of goods, the trauma of poverty, or the absence of a breadwinner also required an almost superhuman effort.

In such a situation, it goes without saying that money should be collected from those who can give more. Fundraising organizations set up during the Great War asked for donations in exchange for little compensation. One such fundraising operation was the setting up of “iron soldiers”. The first one was made in Vienna in the winter of 1915. The wooden statue could be nailed with metal nails that could be bought for money. Thus, over time, the nails covered the surface of the statue, the wooden soldier was transformed into an iron knight.

Following the example of Vienna, sculptures were soon made in every major city. They did not depict a medieval warrior everywhere as in Vienna, often a different motif was chosen. On a very rare postcard we can see an iron knight in Nagyszeben. This statue resembled that of Vienna, but was not exactly the same. The curiosity of the picture is that we can see on it as a donor just hits the purchased nail into the statue. To illustrate the differences, I also attach a picture of the badge made of the Viennese statue. A badge was not made of all the statues, but of Budapest and Nyitra, for example. It is not known whether a badge was made for the statue in Nagyszeben.

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