Above All


This U.S. World War I propaganda poster shows the devil dressed as a German soldier sitting on a mound of skulls; a bloodied sword rests at his feet. The title, Über alles (Above all), is a play on the words of the Deutschlandlied, a patriotic song that was sung by German soldiers in World War I, and which in 1922 became the official national anthem of Germany. The words "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" (Germany, Germany above all) were written in 1841 by the German poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben and set to music by Joseph Haydn. The idea of the Germans as figurative devils, responsible for causing the war and for alleged atrocities committed in Belgium and France, played a big role in British, French, and later American propaganda aimed at stirring up popular enthusiasm for the war. This poster was part of a series produced by Barron Gift Collier (1873–1939), an American advertising entrepreneur who also played an important role in the development of the U.S. state of Florida in the 1920s and 1930s.

Last updated: February 10, 2014