Columbia Record 12

Columbia Record (U.S.A. ethnic: German) / c. 1917

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Design: Since the beginning of human existence, there has been armed conflict. Over time, codes of warrior conduct became increasingly well-defined, eventually becoming the exclusive provenance of a professional male soldiery. However, in the early twentieth century, with the advent of long-range guns, bomb-carrying aircraft, submarines and other methods of arbitrary mass destruction, the field of battle would extend well beyond its traditional boundaries, and come to include all members of society, such as women, children and the elderly. As the unconditional support of an entire nation became increasingly essential to its leaders in the successful waging of war, military strategists came to accept that it was morally justifiable to shatter an enemy's will to fight by demoralizing its civilian population; non-combatants thus became legitimate targets (as would be even more clearly exemplified in WWII with the destruction of Coventry, England; Dresden, Germany; and Hiroshima, Japan). Here, a (widowed?) woman, her two small children clinging to her skirts, helplessly watches as her cottage, on the outskirts of a ruined village, burns to the ground. The poignant illustration captures one of the tragic side-effects of 'modern' war.

History: As previous. Label scan courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany, who writes: "Despite the German text on the label, the record was obviously made in America for an ethnic market, as there were many orchestras and choirs of German immigrants active there. The record was obviously sold to support WWI-affected people in the homelands."

Design variations of this label in this decade (click on image to view page):

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