République Francaise. 3e Emprunt de la Défense Nationale
Translation: "French Republic. The 3rd National Defense Loan"
Alfonse Lelong, Paris, 1917

Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia activated a series of alliances that brought Russia, Germany, and France into the conflict. With the German invasion of neutral Belgium on August 4th, Britain too entered the war. What began in the Balkans had transformed Europe into a battleground.

The Allied Powers portrayed the war as a struggle against dictatorship. To illustrate this concept, artists often infused symbols of democracy into their work. Here, artist Alfonse Lelong depicts Marianne, a personification of liberty and symbol of the French Republic.

Standing atop a globe and surrounded by flags, Marianne leads her nation toward victory. Before her, a lion and torch represent courage and enlightenment. Lelong’s work is an illustrated adaptation of Jules Dalou’s The Triumph of the Republic statue (1889), located in Paris.