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How the Germans became the Huns. Continuity and Discontinuity of the Hun Stereotype between the 19th Century and the British War Propaganda during the First World War

During the First World War, the British war propaganda machine massively promoted the stereotype of the German enemy as brutal, ruthless, and murderous Hun. The stereotype of the Huns as a barbaric people can be traced back to the historical Huns of
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  󰁭󰁡󰁲󰁴󰁩󰁮   󰁫󰁲󰁩󰁳󰁴󰁯􀁦􀁦󰁥󰁲   󰁨󰁡󰁭󰁲󰁥 How the Germans became the Huns Continuity and Discontinuity of the Hun Stereotype between the 19 th  Century and the British War Propaganda during the First World War Abstract During the First World War, the British war propaganda machine mas-sively promoted the stereotype of the German enemy as brutal, ruthless, and murderous Hun. The stereotype of the Huns as a barbaric people can be traced back to the historical Huns of the 5 th  century, but ironi-cally, the first to draw the analogy between the Huns and the Germans was the German emperor Wilhelm II. himself who used the comparison in a speech he delivered in Bremerhaven in 1900. In this paper, I argue that there were in fact two very di ff  erent Hun stereotypes: The older one from the 19 th  century, connected to the historical Huns, and a new one, only connected to the Germans as a means of propaganda. One aim of this paper is to explain how this new stereotype emerged: It was not only because of Kaiser Wilhelm’s speech but also because of Germany’s assault on neutral Belgium at the beginning of the war which lead to the image of the barbaric Germans and the ›Rape-of-Belgium‹ narrative. In addition, I will examine the functions of the new Hun stereotype based on historical stereotype research. This paper gives an overview of the continuity and discontinuity between the two Hun stereotypes which will be examined by analysing various examples, methodological-ly based on qualitative source analysis. This topic is particularly relevant due to the use of national stereotypes as a tool of propaganda, in this case illustrated by the Hun stereotype. IntroductionThesis, research objectives and method »Just as the Huns a thousand years ago under the leadership of Etzel gained
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