„Gwałt na Belgii” w ilustracjach Louisa Raemaekersa. Historia i charakterystyka
Belgium was the first victim of the Great War. The abuse of its neutrality in August 1914 shocked Europeans and provided the Allies with a convincing argument to enter the war against Kaiser’s army. “The Rape of Belgium” became a leitmotif of an anti-German propaganda. The present article examines illustrations of invaded and occupied Belgium by a Dutch artist Louis Raemaekers (1869–1956). He exploited the theme of devastated Belgium and illustrated Germans as a menace not only to Belgium, but to the entire Western civilisation. His fruitful cooperation with the British War Propaganda Bureau and numerous contracts with publishing houses resulted in unexpected popularity worldwide. This research draws upon mostly primary sources, including newspapers, illustrations, albums, memoirs and interviews with the illustrator. The main purpose of the paper is to analyse Raemaekers’ depictions of Belgium in a historical context and to estimate their role in the pro-Allied propaganda.