The obverse bears bust of Kaiser Wilhelm II with necklace of skulls and iron cross; rifle with
bayonett to left. Around, THE FOE OF FREE PEOPLES; below, HIS / ROSARY.
The reverse bears German soldier abducting helpless Belgian woman, callously stepping over
child on ground. Around, KULTUR IN BELGIUM; below, MURDER PILLAGE.
The edge is marked MEDALLIC ART CO. N.Y.
This medal was clearly a response to German artist Karl Goetz' satirical war medals which depicted the allied side in
a bad light. Goetz' medals were reviled by the Allies and caused a huge backlash, particularly his
infamous Lusitania medal. Artistically, Goetz was on the leading edge of realism while French, British,
and American sculptors were still depicting war in terms of carefully crafted Art Nouveau
imagery, the horror of war often represented by an angel of death, a weeping widow or a cemetery.
Manship obviously decided that Goetz' medals deserved retaliation in kind. His medal is a true masterpiece
of propaganda art, yet it was received with some ambivalence.
The June, 1918 issue of the American Magazine of Arts reported:
"In some of the shop windows on Fifth Avenue, New York, is now to be seen a
bronze medal designed and executed by Paul Manship representing the outrages perpetrated by the German
army upon women and children in invaded territory, particularly in Belgium. This is offered for sale
at $10.00 a piece and puts into permanent form those things which if possible should not be remembered,
but if remembered not visualized."
The medal measures 66.2mm (2 5/8in) in diameter and was struck in bronze by the Medallic Art Company
of New York.
References: Baxter 365, MACo 1918-005, Murtha 103