Germans Destroyed by Horses


This print showing horses trampling a group of German soldiers is from the collection of World War I lubok posters held at the British Library. The caption explains: “In one of the battles in the Alsatian theater of the war, at Gwaldikonen, the Germans settled on a small hill and installed their field artillery there. The French tried to attack several times but they were unable to get closer. The French lancers rushed onto the battery, but were killed. Suddenly the horses, with the riders gone, galloped onto the battery of the enemy. They jumped across the trenches and barriers, and brought confusion among the Germans. Some Germans fled, and some died under the feet of the horses. The French took the battery.” 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: July 23, 2015