The German Peace


During the final year of World War I, authorities in Italy and in other combatant countries were deeply alarmed by the Bolshevik Revolution and Russia’s withdrawal from the war. They worried that defeatism would spread among their own war-weary populations, leading to a slackening of the war effort. The authorities responded both with repressive measures aimed at countering “Red” subversion and with propaganda urging their people to fight on to victory. Entitled La Pace Tedesca (The German peace), this poster shows a massive German soldier striding from the north, trampling men and women underfoot, and crushing them with what appears to be a wooden post wrenched from the ground. Blood drips over the title. The choice for the Italian people, the poster clearly suggests, is between continuing the fight and being crushed. The poster was produced in Bergamo for distribution in the “war zone,” the part of northern Italy bordering Austria-Hungary where most of the fighting in which Italy was involved took place and where the authorities were especially sensitive to the danger of antiwar sentiment inspired by the Russian Revolution. The striking illustration is by Silvio Canevari (1893‒1931), an Italian artist best known for his work during peacetime as a sculptor.‏ Canevari produced a companion poster on the same theme entitled La Pace Russa (The Russian peace).

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Italian Institute of Graphic Arts, Bergamo, Italy


Title in Original Language

La pace tedesca

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph, color ; 195 x 274 centimeters



  1. Thomas Row, “Mobilizing the Nation: Italian Propaganda in the Great War,” Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Volume 24, Design, Culture, Identity (Miami Beach, FL: Florida International University Board of Trustees on behalf of The Wolfsonian-FIU, 2002).
  2. Vanda Wilcox, “Between Acceptance and Refusal―Soldiers’ Attitudes Towards War (Italy),” in 1914‒1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, edited by Ute Daniel, Peter Gatrell, Oliver Janz, Heather Jones, Jennifer Keene, Alan Kramer, and Bill Nasson (Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin, 2014).

Last updated: November 14, 2017