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WWI U.S. MARINE CORPS RECRUITING POSTER, ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLES B. FALLS, DEPICTING THE CORPS AS A BULL DOG, CHASING GERMANY, REPRESENTED AS A DASCHUND, BENEATH A SLOGAN THAT REPRESENTS ONE OF THE FIRST GRAPHIC USES OF THE NICKNAME “DEVIL DOGS,” circa 1918

WWI U.S. MARINE CORPS RECRUITING POSTER, ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLES B. FALLS, DEPICTING THE CORPS AS A BULL DOG, CHASING GERMANY, REPRESENTED AS A DASCHUND, BENEATH A SLOGAN THAT REPRESENTS ONE OF THE FIRST GRAPHIC USES OF THE NICKNAME “DEVIL DOGS,” circa 1918

Web ID: pat-728
Available: In Stock
Frame Size (H x L): 37" x 28.25"
Flag Size (H x L): 27" x 18.25"
 
Description:
This fantastic, WWI (U.S. involvement 1917-1918), U.S. Marine Corps recruiting poster was designed by illustrator Charles B. Falls (b. 1874, Indiana, d. 1960, NYC). Printed in black and acid orange, the imagery includes a determined, red-eyed bulldog with horns, in a brodie helmet with the device of the Marine Corps, giving chase to a wiener dog, donning a German pickelhaube, with a lagging tongue.

The heading “Teufel Hunden” reflects one of the earliest appearances of the nickname “Devil Dogs,” ostensibly given to marines by the Germans in June of 1918, during a battle that took place on an old French hunting grounds called Belleau Wood. The result of the victorious action, near the French village of Bouresches, during which the 5th and 6th Regiments of the 1st Marine Corps Battalion and a portion of the Third Infantry Brigade, U.S. Army, successfully mounted an uphill assault on German machine gun nests, was the saving of Paris and a turning point of the war.

One of the fundamental elements dissuading Battle of Belleau Wood (June 1 – June 26th, 1918) origin is the simple fact that term appeared in hundreds of newspapers, approximately two months beforehand, in response to an unsigned, April 14th, 1918 wire report that read as follows:

“That time-honored nickname, borne by the United States marines for generations—"leathernecks"—is no more! At least, the Germans have abandoned it, according to reports from France. In its place the Teutons have handed the sea soldiers one with far more meaning. They call the American scrappers "teufel hunden," which, in English, means "devil dogs."

Though largely incidental, it is nonetheless of interest to note that the expression is incorrectly spelled almost everywhere, even presently on the Marine Corps’ own website.* In German, “Taufel” is devil, “Hund” is dog, and the plural of the latter is “Hunde.” In German, the two words would be conjugated with a connecting “s” as “Teufelshunde.”

Numerous attempts have been made to ascertain the actual origin. Most of these have been used by journalists trying to disprove the story as myth. In 1921, a claim was made by American writer, H.L. Mecken that the term was fabricated by war correspondent Floyd Phillips Gibbons, a writer for the Chicago Tribune, who was with the Marines at Belleau Wood, where he was shot and actually lost an eye. While reportedly a flamboyant character, with a tendency to exaggerate, author Hyde Flippo, who penned a great synopsis of the subject, entitled: "German Myth 13: Teufelshunde - Devil Dogs and the Marines," explained that in spite of extensive searches in the archives of the Chicago Tribune, he could not locate the article where Mecken alleged that Gibbons first mentioned Teufel Hunden.**

Among other facts cited include a complete lack evidence of its appearance in German documents, newspapers, letters written home by soldiers, etc. Museum experts, queried in both nations, support this claim.

To this end, I would argue that if it were said, it would have likely been in the heat and duress of battle, maybe as last words, or perhaps as some sort of off-handed utterance of frustration, and unlikely to appear anywhere thereafter in written word of a German, at least. This isn’t something an officer might be expected to cite in a report, or that might appear in a German news story, or anywhere else save in the most private of letters. Words such as these would surely translate as weakness.

What victory at Belleau Wood prompted was therefore not the creation of the nickname, but further kindling of what was a now two-month-old flame into a mighty blaze. In a history of the 1/6 Hard at Belleau Wood, on the Marine Corps website, the Corps describes itself as having been a small and underappreciated force prior to WWI. It was after Belleau Wood that General Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), famously declared: “The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle!”*

An article in the Yonkers Statesman, dated July 8th, 1818, a few days after the routing of the Germans, described a major distribution of Marine Corps recruiting posters with the devil dog heading. This reads as follows:

“Marine Corps Poster Day: tomorrow is United States Marine Corps poster day, and before nightfall the city of Yonkers will be covered with the new “Devil Dog” posters, which have already made their appearance in New York City.

It will be remembered that in the first battle in which the marines were engaged, their attack was so fierce that the Germans spoke of them as “Tuefel Hunden,” or “Devil Dogs.” “Fritz” is not usually given to flashes of inspiration, but in this case the nickname seemed so apt that it has been adopted by the marines themselves, and the idea incorporated in their latest posters.

Mrs. wells M Sawyer has offered her assistance to Sergeant McLean and distributing the posters, and the Motor Corps of America and Boy Scouts will also help.

Patriotic citizens who have keys to vacant stores are asked to give them to members of the bill posting brigade tomorrow, upon request, and storekeepers are also asked to allow a poster to be placed in their show windows."

Though the origin of the term Devil Dogs remains shadowed in myth, it was nonetheless heralded by war correspondents across the nation and embraced by the Corps itself, which continues to use it to this day. Whatever the case may be with regard to who first uttered the nickname, or the accuracy of German grammar, when it comes to the defense of America, few would be hasty to deny the appropriateness or accuracy of the title.

* https://www.6thmarines.marines.mil/Units/1st-Battalion/History/

** Flippo, Hyde. "German Myth 13: Teufelshunde - Devil Dogs and the Marines." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/german-myth-teufelshunde-devil-dogs-1444315.

Mounting: Mounted with an 8-ply mat covered in 100% cotton twill, black in color, that has been washed and treated for colorfastness. The two-part frame consists of a black-painted, shadowbox style molding with a bowed face and a textured surface, to which a gilded molding of exceptional quality, with a beveled profile, was added as a liner. The glazing is U.V. protective acrylic (Plexiglas).

Condition: There are no significant condition issues.
Video:
   
Collector Level: Advanced Collectors and the Person with Everything
Flag Type:
Star Count:
Earliest Date of Origin: 1918
Latest Date of Origin: 1918
State/Affiliation: New York
War Association: WW 1
Price: Please call (717) 676-0545 or (717) 502-1281
E-mail: info@jeffbridgman.com


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