The Great European War. On the Austrian Front. A Campaign in Hungary


This print showing a battle scene in a valley with a town and hills rising in the distance is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “Our troops descended into the Nagyag Valley in the Carpathian Mountains. The Austrian detachment positioned at Mikulice was thrown back and lost machine guns and other weapons. On September 18, our cavalry had some impressive gains in the Carpathian Mountains: it attacked the enemy trenches, captured them, smashed the enemy infantry, and caused the enemy to flee in a chaotic manner. Having crossed the front line of trenches, our Cossacks captured six field artillery guns. Our losses were negligible, but several hundred Austrians were knocked out of action. A larger number of them were captured.” This picture, like many others in the collection, was printed in the Moscow printing house of Ivan Sytin (1851–1934). By the 1880s, Sytin was the most popular and successful publisher of lubok pictures in Russia. He also published cheap popular books for workers and peasants, textbooks, and literature for children. The quality of this print is much better than many images from other printing houses—more colors and shades are neatly matched and more small details are available for the viewer. 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. During World War I, lubok informed Russians about events on the frontlines, bolstered morale, and served as propaganda against enemy combatants.

Last updated: November 14, 2017