Rituals of War: The Giant Pyramid of Captured German Helmets
2012-10-15 0:00

By Ben Yakas | Gothamist.com




This remarkable photo, taken in 1918, shows employees of the New York Central Railroad at a celebration in Victory Way, showing off a pyramid of recovered German helmets in front of Grand Central Terminal. There are two cannons in the shot, one on either side; and there is a statue—possibly of Greek goddess of victory, Nike—on top of the pile. But seriously: that is a pretty crazy amount of helmets.

"Victory Way" was set up after World War I ended—captured German war equipment was displayed on Park Avenue just near Grand Central to help raise money for the 5th War Loan. Each end of Victory Way had a pyramid made up of 12,000 German helmets. The helmets were supposedly going to be given away to large contributors to the 5th War Loan. One can only imagine the reaction if such a display of war souvenirs was put up today.

Full size photo (link)


Article from: gothamist.com







Beyond a well-framed shot, I find this photograph interesting for the symbolism, sociological impact and historical significance. Many people may find the sight of so many ‘enemy’ helmets too macabre with each helmet representing a dead or captured soldier. And how does such a public display affect the psyche of citizens? To be located near Grand Central Terminal means it would have been seen by a lot of people.

The cannons in the foreground, the numerous flags, the eagles atop the pillars; the symbolism in this shot is very powerful.
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