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Englands Not

  • Publisher: Admiralstab der Marine [German Imperial Admiralty Staff]
  • Date: 1917-18
  • Dimensions: Image: 63 x 97 cms / Sheet: 63.9 x 99.5 cms.


1917-18 propaganda poster denoting the losses inflicted on Allied shipping by German U-Boats in the North Sea & North Atlantic

About this piece:

Englands Not [England’s Misery]

A few minor and mainly marginal nicks and tears expertly and invisibly closed and reinforced on verso.

The second of a pair of striking German propaganda charts, produced & published by the German Admiralstab der Marine, which depict the successes of the German U-Boat offensive in the Mediterranean & North Sea theatres in 1917. This fascinating chart purports to depict the vast losses inflicted on Allied merchant shipping in the North Sea and Eastern Atlantic theatres during 11 months of “unrestricted” U-Boat warfare from January 1917 onwards.

Unrestricted warfare meant that enemy merchant vessels could now be targeted and sunk without warning. The premise for unrestricted submarine warfare had been explained by the head of the Admiralstab, Admiral von Holtzendorff, in his Memorandum to the German Kaiser, dated December 22nd 1916. One critical element omitted by German naval planners was the position of the neutral, though increasingly belligerent America, who would, of course, finally enter the War in April 1917.

The individual losses are represented symbolically by an Allied sinking ship, “sunk by our submarines & regardless of size”. The encircling limits of the German blockade zone around the British Isles are delineated by a black line, extending from the Belgian Coast northwards and around Northern Britain & Ireland into the Eastern Atlantic & down to the Bay of Biscay.

A quotation from Winston Churchill, Munitions Minister (since July 1917), from a speech at the American Breakfast Club in London in January 1918, appears in the lower left corner. Churchill refers to a reduction in munitions steel manufacture, down by some 100,000 tonnes, as a direct cause of merchant shipping losses, and notes its impact upon domestic factory output and its knock-on effects upon the war readiness of important munitions & their components.