‘The Hun’ & German Empire Love Tokens

What are ‘The Hun’?


How the Hun Hates - British Propaganda poster
How the Hun Hates – British Propaganda poster

Hun (or The Hun) is a term used in reference to the medieval Hunnic Empire of Attila the Hun. This term was used heavily during World War I and was often seen on Allied war posters.

The origin of the term was Attila The Hun, the notorious Hunnenrede (Hun speech) of Emperor Wilhelm II on 27 July 1900, when he bade farewell to the German expeditionary corps sailing from Bremerhaven to defeat the Boxer Uprising.

Kaiser Wilhelm II instructed them in a speech to behave like the Huns of old and to wreak vengeance (“let the Germans strike fear into the hearts, so he’ll be feared like the Hun”).

German soldiers also had Gott mit uns inscribed on their helmets and on their belt buckles during the First World War. This meant ‘God with us’ and to the Germans it was a rallying cry, “a Protestant as well as an Imperial motto. When British troops saw these inscriptions on their enemy, they mistook ‘Uns’ for ‘Huns’ – This confirmed their fears that the men from Germany were just like the Hun led by Attila the Hun!


German Empire Love Token:


German Empire Love token
German Empire Love token

This a German Empire love token coin. It is based on an old silver ‘mark’ coin. The silver mark is painstakingly smoothed on one side with the hand carved with initials of the object of one’s affection.

A lost art-form, love tokens have been made from coins for centuries. The commoner’s engagement ring, a man would scrimp and save for the best coin he could afford, sand down one side and then etch his lover’s name on the blank half. Presented to his betrothed, she would wear it as jewellery or sew it to the inner lining of her bodice, close to her heart.

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