Poster »Never Again War«, 1924

Crayon and brush lithograph (transfer), Kn 205 III b

Käthe Kollwitz, Poster »Never Again War«, 1924, crayon and brush lithograph (transfer), Kn 205 III b, Cologne Kollwitz Collection © Käthe Kollwitz Museum Köln

The poster »Never Again War« was created at the behest of the Socialist Working-Class Youth for the Central German Youth Day in Leipzig on 2-4 August 1924. On 3 August 1923 – exactly 10 years after
the German declaration of war on France – this poster was used in a demonstration in Augustusplatz in Leipzig. The aim of this demonstration was not just to remind people of the »horrific events during the bloody war years«, but also to speak out against any new wars.

This is one of Käthe Kollwitz’ internationally most popular and impressive posters. A young man, his left hand placed on his heart, his right hand raised for an oath appears to shout – as his wide-open mouth suggests – only these three boldly underlined words: Never Again War.

It is possible that the motif of the hand raised to make an oath refers to a concrete event: In 1920, at the first national youth day of the Socialist Working-Class Youth of Germany in Weimar, the Working-Class Youth official Max Westphal raised the arm he had not lost during the war and shouted in his captivating, high and clear voice: »Never again war!«

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