At the end of the war many countries lay in ruins as there was a lot of damage done. The many returning soldiers were also in need of support. However, financial resources became increasingly scarce in many countries. There was no public welfare network in place to financially support veterans. Yet many people saw it as their duty to support 'their heroes' and many charity initiatives were established, forcing governments to introduce legislation to regulate social security along lines that are familiar today.
Ludendorff-Spende / Ludendorff Donation
An article from the Hamburger Anzeiger newspaper, May 28,1918
Original: ''Wohl leiden wir unter dem Kriege, aber der Krieg hat keine Gewalt über uns und unser Land. (...)
Wie anders da draußen, wo unsere Geschütze dröhnen. Denht daran und danket denen, die den Krieg von der Heimat fern hielten und ihn in Feindesland hineintrugen. (...)
Jeder Kriegsbeschädigte muß, wenn irgend möglich, einem Beruf wieder zugeführt werden, denn Deutschland braucht Männer auch nach dem Frieden. Aus forgenvollen Opfern des Krieges freudige Lebenskämpfer zu machen, das ist die Aufgabe der Ludendorff-Spende.''
English Translation: "We are deeply involved in war, but war has no power over us and our country. (...)
How differently out there where our guns are booming. Remember and thank those who kept the war away from home and brought it into enemy territory. (...)
Any warfighter must, if possible, be brought back to work, for Germany also needs men after peace. To make joyful life-fighters from the most profound victims of the war is the task of the Ludendorff donation.''
In Germany the Ludendorff Spende für Kriegsgeschädigte - the Ludendorff Fund for War victims - was set up in May 1918 to assist war-disabled soldiers with their transition back to civilian life. The fund was continued until 1923, when it was finally dissolved probably due to inflation.
General Erich Ludendorff was the Honorary Chairman of the fund. A number of postcards were printed and the proceeds from the sale of these cards went to the fund. The depiction of a crippled soldier holding a set of tools (above) was painted by Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949), and is one of the most wellknown propaganda postcards. The picture is in sharp contrast to the euphoric mood of the 1914 posters, which focused on feats of heroism and the honor of war.
Donators of the Ludendorff fund raising program were presented with this receipt: "The owner of this certificate has donated 5 Marks for the Ludendorff Fund for Disabled War Veterans. I thank the donator on behalf of their war-disabled comrade. The Honorary Chairman Ludendorff".
Charity stamps were a good way of raising money and awareness for causes. This Californian stamp showed that, despite the war having been over for a year and more, clothing and other supplies were still needed. Although California may have been half a world away from Europe, it was still concerned enough to help.
A British postcard soliciting support for the Blinded Soldiers' Children Fund. Printed on the back of the postcard is the St Dunstan’s torch logo, and the following text: ‘The Government makes an allowance to blinded soldiers and sailors for their children born before or not later than nine months after the discharge of a man from the Army. A fund is being raised to make an allowance of 5s. a week for the children born afterwards. Here surely is a fund to which all of us should try and give support."
The Sønderjyske fund was established in Denmark in 1918/19 to provide economic and humanitarian aid for the Danish community in Southern Jutland, then part of Germany. Support was given to Danish cultural initiatives in the border region, including financial support for orphanages, schools and students.