A SHORT EXCERPT
European countries banned the importation of American potatoes to keep the beetle out, but by World War I it was impossible to avoid the accidental importation of agricultural pests as American troops marched across the continent. Now the beetle ranges across Europe and throughout important agricultural areas across much of the rest of the world.
Some have accused Americans of deliberately spreading the pest: A German propaganda poster from World War II depicts red-white-and-blue-striped Colorado potato beetles advancing across a field like soldiers. The Germans believed that Americans were dropping the beetles from planes as a form of aerial agricultural warfare. They coined the term Amikäfer—a combination of the German words for “American” and “Beetle”—to describe this enemy insect. One poster reads “Halt Amikäfer,” and the other warns that the evil American beetle “threatens to destroy our harvests” and urges citizens to kampf für den frieden—fight for our peace.