Bathing Venus

We have repeatedly shown, that WWI propaganda, for the purpose of  euphemism and thereby a better acceptance of the war, showed a taste for depicting the soldiers fighting on the front in the guise of children, like here the representatives of the three countries of the Central Powers. Nevertheless, some tension and ambiguity is always lingering in these representations, as these children obviously do the job of the adult soldiers. For example, they really slaughter the enemy in heaps, like the little Willi and his friend in Herbert Rikli’s wartime children’s book.

However, this postcard is even more embarrassing. The three, obviously prepubertal allies look down and wave to the lady bathing in the image just as tauntingly as their fifteen or twenty-year older colleagues did in the real world, or at least in their imaginations. But at the same time, in a sign of generalized euphemism, the designer adjusted the age of the lady to match that of the little ones.

After this I would not even be surprised if I saw in Rikli’s book this postcard hanging on the wall above the bed of little Willi, in the same way as those of her fifteen-year older contemporaries hung on the walls of real soldiers in the entrenchment of Isonzo.

Self-portrait of Franz Aigner (1891-1983), a Czech buck sergeant of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, from his photo album compiled on the Isonzo front

3 comentarios:

Tororo dijo...

And don't forget, kids, to brush your teeth before bedtime.

Studiolum dijo...

And don’t forget to clean the gun barrels either, because the sergeant will kick you in the ass.

MOCKBA dijo...

Gaydar's tale