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Gaston V.

Karl Goetz - Die wacht Am Rhein / Die Schwarze Schande

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One of the Versailles Treaty definitions in 1919 was that the Rhineland would be occupied by allied troops for at least 15 years. This was one of the things that especially the French desired, as during the 1870 war and Great War the German armies could quite fast reached France. The reason for a demilitarised Rhineland was, that it would form a buffer between France and Germany in case of any future conflicts. Also France could pressure Germany to be obedient to the treaty's rules. Thus the occupation of the Rhineland occured in 1920, and this is one of the (many) reasons a certain Hitler would be mad at the Versailles Treaty for in many years to come.


When Germany couldn't pay the yearly amount of money for damage caused by World War I (another point from the Versailles Treaty), the French occupied also the important industrial Ruhr-area (This also lays in the Rhineland area). The French then placed on purpose a lot of their coloured African colonial troops in the Rhineland, to defy the German population. Many German women were intrigued by these coloured men they had never seen before...you can imagine what would happen nine months later...

A result of this all was a commemorative medal designed by famous medal designer Karl Goetz. Whitht he above in mind it is obvious what it depicts: the German dissatisfaction with the events happening at the time! There is a lot more symbolism to the medal when examened it a bit further. So here we go icon_wink.gif

Some facts of the medal and it's design first:

- Designer: Karl Goetz
- Weight : 61,1 grams
- Diameter: 57 mm
- Material: Bronze
- Other versions: Yes, two other versions exist (see further down this topic)
- Maker: Bayerishes Munzamt
- Why made: Anti French propaganda


The front of the medal:
 

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Famous designer Karl Goetz is among medal collectors well known for his satirical designs, often in relation with at the time actual events taking place. this medal is no exception. On the obverse of the medal we see (through the eyes of a German perspective):

- A French colonial and coloured soldier. This was for showing the German people that these soldiers would try to offence (sexually) the domestic population. Also it would mean that the French occupation would bring uncivilised people that would only cause problems to the German people. Thus trying to point out the french occupation was a very bad thing happening.
- The words "Wacht Am Rhein", this is of course sarcasm and is a reaction to the French "protective actions" in the Rhine area.
- 1920 : The year the Versailles Treaty started and the Rhine land occupation began
- Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite. Of course the French slogan of the French revolution. Here again sarcastically pointed out to show that the French were forcing the German's and NOT bringing this slogan in reality.
- On the helmet is also an aiming point, the meaning is pretty obvious

 


 

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The details on the reverse of the medal:


- The words "Die schwarze Schande" (the black shame): This is aimed at the French African colonial soldiers, and of course the result of their coming to the Rhineland -> the children they made with women of the occupied area. Those would be a shame for the German population (imagine this in Hitlers later Aryan purity speeches...)
- The pyramid with an allseeing eye in a triangle, this is an old christian symbol for the three-unit God, but was also used by the free masons.
A selection of possible interpretations for this all:
1) God sees all and the on the medal depicted outrages will not be unpunished.
2) The free masons are behind it all
- The lyre is the sign of the God Apollon and applies as a symbol to music and poetry. It's broken condition should probably once again point out the desecration of the people of the "poet and thinker" (god), being here the German people of course. (and also be a symbol for a possible infringement on the friendly position of the German woman and mother? - gaston)
- The penis with helmet stands of course symbol for the Afrikan soldiers who were thought to be dangerous and a temptation for the German women.
- The women with her hands tied is of course the German woman who would be helpless against the foreign evil soldiers.
- On the bottom are the initials K.G. These of course stand for Karl Goetz. The designer of the medal.


 

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A few years ago when i saw this medal for the first time i first laughed because i was surprised and thought it was a joke. Later when seeing it every now and again on ebay, i started to look it up and try to learn about it. After seeing the (historical) symbolism behind the medal i think it's agreat period item, and in a way much more serious as one would expect at first glance.

 

A warning for future medal collectors enthousiasts: 99% of all the available "schwarze Schande" medals for sale or trade are fake! Be warned and try to compare any for sale ones to known originals. Some reproductions are very very good. Also be aware of so called "restrikes", some of these are definately made only very recently!

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Interesting medals which I have not seen before and if I had not seen them here, I would assume they were a fantasy design.

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Hi Gaston,

 

Thank you for showing a medal I have never seen before, and with a fine description.

 

Any dates for those medals, year of issue ?

 

Best regards

 

Eric-Jan

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Gaston, mentioned the size and weight in the first post - did you match it? Doesn't like a fake but hey, everything is faked these days. 

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