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Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
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Entertainment
Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives.
Posted by
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Helmet Pyramid

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Where:
New York City, New York
When:
1918
Summary:
Thousands of German WWI helmets were stacked to form a pyramid, representing the victory over the Triple Alliance.
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Helmet Pyramid


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  Where:
New York City, New York

  When:
1918

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or read more about below

After engaging in a long and arduous war, many military members of their respective countries like to keep commemorative items of their victory. This is something that has dated back thousands of years to the times of ancient Europe and are typically referred to as war trophies. Since the practice of collecting these trophies was still in play in the 20th century, that meant countries on the victorious Allied side had their share of trophies. Among them is the United States, who has a considerable amount of memorials from World War I.

The first World War had broken out during the mid 1910s, with several countries becoming involved early. At the time, then-President Woodrow Wilson had urged citizens that the country would remain neutral. At the time, it was a popular opinion amongst Americans as many didn’t want to get involved in overseas combat. However, when Germany had flirted with the idea of allying with the United States’ southern neighbor Mexico, the United States decided to get involved.

The United States became a big part of World War I after arriving in 1917 with the first military enlistees seeing the battlefield. All in all, the United States had sent nearly 4.5 million troops to fight in World War I in a conflict where both sides had suffered some heavy casualties. The other Allied countries that had been involved were the British Empire, as well as France, Russia and even Italy and Japan who would eventually fight against the Allies in World War II.

About a year into America’s involvement with the war, things started to come to a close. The Allied forces were advancing heavily and Germany was losing troops and suffering a string of defeats. Battles such as the one Cambrai signaled the beginning of the end for Germany and its allies. Upset with the way that the war was playing out in their country, many Germans teamed up to overthrow the government, replacing them with new leaders while the Kaiser was abdicated.

The new leaders that were put into place in Germany were ready to talk about their surrender to the Allies. The countries that were on their side had started to collapse which signaled that it was time to pull out. In the first few days of 1920, Germany had formally closed their involvement in the war while other countries such as Austria and Turkey would actually wait much longer. In the end, Germany had suffered the most casualties of any country with more than 2 million estimated to have been killed.

As a result of the war, the United States had cemented its status as a global power, especially with the amount of money they were able to spend in the war. On the home front for the Americans, there was a high level of propaganda that was being used to support the war, as well as many monuments that were established afterward. This included the one that you see here. Though it might look like something out of Egypt, it actually comes from the country’s largest city, New York City.

What’s shown here is a pyramid of helmets that were collected from German soldiers on the battlefield. As you can probably guess, there are certainly a lot of them there as the pyramid was made up of a whopping 12,000 helmets. The United States wanted to show off its victory in a big matter, and they certainly did that in New York City. An entire outdoor museum type of monument was established to celebrate the war’s conclusion, calling it “Victory Way.”

There was a lot of foot traffic that made its way through the memorial to see the decisive American victory. That’s because this road was set up at the Grand Central Terminal, a 48 acre railroad station that had been built in the years leading up to World War I. Now it’s one of the most recognizable places in the world, often being featured in pop culture. It’s estimated that these days, over 66 million people make their way through Grand Central Terminal each year.

Victory Way also featured other pieces of memorabilia that had been collected from the Germans in World War I, and this pyramid actually wasn’t the only one. On the other end, an identical pyramid was raised with the same amount of helmets. That means there was nearly 25,000 being put on display. It might be hard to imagine something happening like this again after engaging in a war, especially as some considered it a major insult to Germany. Now, you’re more likely to simply see a standard parade honoring those that fought.

Germany likely took the American’s celebration very personally as it led to a lot of unrest within the country. Following their loss, the country was known as the Weimar Republic in a tumultuous time for them. The loss in World War I had caused the economy to suffer heavily, with hyperinflation making it so that nearly every German citizen had money that was almost worthless. People such as Adolf Hitler used the unrest within Germany to convince the citizens to allow him to rise to power. He’d get his wish as Hitler led what became known as Nazi Germany as World War II started. Once again, the Allies had come out victorious after a long battle.

It’s unlikely that German helmets were used to create a pyramid again following World War II, but there have been both permanent and temporary monuments that were constructed. There’s now over 50 established World War I memorials in the United States alone. This includes some of the more famous ones such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.

These are all stern reminders about just how massive the losses in a war can be, especially if it goes global. You don’t see the type of blatant propaganda from conflicts these days like you did back then, but there are certainly ones still around. The hope, for pretty much everyone, is that a war like the two in the earlier part of the 20th century don’t happen again.