When German Army Helmets Were Used To Sell War Bonds

Five avenues west of the United Nations is Park Avenue, home to Grand Central Terminal and a slew of corporate headquarters. For one week at the end of April in 1919, the stretch between 45th and 50th streets was the home of “Victory Way” — an art exhibit created by the U.S. government that included battle reenactments, simulated aerial displays, German war artillery, and two enormous pyramids made of 85,000 German army helmets. After the Allies won World War I, American soldiers captured the helmets in a supply depot in Coblenz, Germany, and brought them back to the United States. The American government displayed them outside Grand Central Terminal to convince New Yorkers to buy war bonds. German helmets were also awarded as prizes to government workers who successfully sold the bonds. The proceeds of the bonds paid for roughly 60% of the cost of the war.