O Tannenbaum! O Tannenbaum!

How bent are thy branches!

The yuletide carol, O Tannenbaum (Oh Christmas tree) was written in 1820 and based on a German folk melody. German anti-Fascist artist John Heartfield created the above photomontage in 1934 to deride the Nazis who had seized control of his country the year before. The artist titled his work O Christmas tree in German soil, how bent are thy branches! With Christmas only a few days away, it’s good to remember Heartfield’s searing commentary on how unrestrained militarism makes a mockery of the Christian message of peace.

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