Lot 672

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An unusual German-issued bronze medal from 1920, measuring 5.5cm diameter, titled "Die Wacht am Rheim!" ("The Watch on the Rhine!"), with the French national motto "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" beneath. The front image is a stereotype of an African soldier in a RF helmet while on verso the bigotry continues with the heading "Die Schwarze Schande" and an allegorical depiction of "Germany" as a naked woman chained to a giant black phallus wearing a WWI helmet. The inflammatory medal was designed by Munich propaganda medallist Karl X. Goetz (1875-1950) and coined in a Bavarian mint as a response to French colonial soldiers present during the Rhineland occupation. Germans - most of whom had never seen a Black - perceived the colonial "savages" as an affront to their culture, and naturally immediate allegations of the Blacks' cruelty and sexual proclivity caused near hysteria. Despite that fact that the mass of colonial soldiers, which numbered at most 5,000, was withdrawn in June 1920, allegations of rape and other depredations were rampant. Very good to fine condition.

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July 21, 2011 11:30 AM EDT
Stamford, CT, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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