Die brennende Wunde Frankreichs
- Publisher: Militärische Stelle des Auswärtigen Amtes [MAA] [Military Dept of the Office of Foreign Affairs] (Publisher) / Dietrich Reimer, Berlin (Printer)
- Date: 1918
- Dimensions: Map: 43 x 53 cms / Sheet: 47 x 60 cms
A striking German propaganda poster probably published in early 1918, depicting Northern France as a blood-red conflagration
About this piece:
DIE BRENNENDE WUNDE FRANKREICHS [THE BURNING WOUND OF FRANCE]
A striking and unusual German poster, issued by the MAA in the final months of the War, probably during the German Spring Offensive, the so-called Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser’s Battle), of March-July 1918.
The poster may have been issued to divert attention away from the massive casualties that the Germans sustained during the course of the Offensive – some 230,000 casualties in March & April alone – or equally to offer justification for their sacrifice in this blood-red vision of the burning war-torn wasteland that was Northern France. “Rather here than your own home & “Heimat”” is the clear message. The map graphically depicts the impact of the War on Northern France. From Verdun to the coast, Northern France is a jagged, open, blood-red wound or perhaps a flickering flaming inferno in which all of her major towns & cities are consumed. Even Paris is not immune, a blood red flicker of flame or splash of blood rising up beside the Eiffel Tower. This may be a reference to the recent bombardment of Paris, some 120 kms from the front, by three massive Krupp cannons, that first began in late March 1918. Paris remained within the range of these guns until August. Over 300 shells landed on the City during this period, resulting in several hundred casualties & causing many Parisians to flee the City.
The accompanying text translates roughly as follows:
A broad strip of destroyed territory extends like an enormous wound across Northeast France. Widespread collections of ruins formerly flowering cities and villages, dead industrial plants, fields riven with iron, in which the plough can no longer make a furrow! The Wound grows ever bigger by the day, greedily the fire devours ever more, stirred up of by those warmongers Clemenceau and Lloyd George. Germans, thank our Boys (Feldgrauen) that they protect you and your homes from the same fate.