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Destroy this Mad Brute


About the Artwork

"DESTROY THIS MAD BRUTE" is the caption of this World War I propaganda poster for enlistment in the U.S. Army. A dribbling, ape-like German wielding a club bearing the word "kultur" and wearing a pickelhaube helmet with the word "militarism" is walking onto the shore of America while holding a half-naked woman in his grasp (possibly meant to depict Liberty). This is a US version of an earlier British poster with the same image.

While England and France were depicted as “civilization,” Germany was shown as a “mad brute” — here, a giant, drooling gorilla wielding the club of German Kultur (culture) and carrying the limp, half-naked body of a woman. As a result of propaganda like this, German Americans — many of whose ancestors had lived in America for centuries — faced persecution during the war. 

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