Dating a pickelhaube

Notable cultural centres were bombarded in northern France, too; at Reims and Amiens, the great gothic cathedrals were bombarded and badly damaged.

In the wake of these actions, the Allied propaganda machine moved into gear.

Its alien appearance also made it the target of Allied propaganda, and the helmet appeared in images intended to invoke national hatred: the spiked headgear was worn by snarling beasts, inhuman ravishers of women and despoilers of Europe's cultural heritage.

It was destined to be replaced in 1916 by the steel helmet, and with it, fatalities from head wounds declined dramatically.

The crimes perpetrated by the Germans were presented as inhuman acts of savagery against the innocent.

Lurid tales of murder, mutilation and sexual depravity were commonplace, and the invasion of Belgium was transformed into the "Rape of Belgium".

A real example of a military necessity with a direct impact on modern life.

Propaganda Cross Country of origin: United Kingdom Date of manufacture: c.1914–15In 1914, as the invading German Army swept through Belgium and northern France en route to encircle Paris, any suspected acts of "terrorism" were dealt with severely.

Stylish and unisex, it has been seen in all cuts and colours.

Not surprisingly, its military antecedents were more commonly light khaki in shade – attempting to blend into the background of the battlefield – and were born out of the practical necessity of providing protection to the wearer who, more often than not, would be occupying a hole in the ground open to the elements.

Gone were the shiny brass fittings, a metal much in demand to serve the munitions industry.

In their place were oxidised steel fittings – cheaper to produce and less visible. On the front line, the pickelhaube was the natural target of souvenir hunters, and there are countless photographs of British soldiers "larking about" in "Hunnish" headgear.

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