Russia's War with the Germans. The Effect of Our High Explosive Shells


This print showing the devastating effect of a Russian high explosive shell on German troops is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Skillfully built enemy trenches were hard to capture with ordinary artillery fire in the battles at the Vistula River. Only well-aimed shots by high explosive shells managed to force the Germans out of their deep burrows. These high explosive shells are so terrifyingly effective that even Germany’s famous skills in the military arts proved absolutely powerless against them.” Lubok is a Russian word for popular prints created from woodcuts, engravings, etchings, or later, by using lithography. The prints were often characterized by simple, colorful graphics depicting a narrative, and could also include text. Lubok gained popularity in Russia beginning in the late 17th century. The prints, which often depicted narratives from a historical event, literature, or a religious tale, were used to make such stories accessible to illiterate people. These expressive prints had a wide range in tone, from humorous to instructive to sharp political and social commentary. The images were clear and easy to understand, and some of the pictures were serialized, predecessors of the modern comic strip. Prints could be reproduced inexpensively, and were thus a way for the masses to display art at home. Initially, this artistic style was not taken seriously by the upper classes, but by the end of the 19th century, lubok was so well-regarded that it inspired professional artists. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

Date Created

Publication Information

A. V. Krylov & C. Printing and Lithographic Firm, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Война России с немцами. Действие наших бризантных снарядов

Type of Item

Last updated: November 14, 2017