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Humoristische Landkarte

  • Publisher: Verlag Hermann Becker, München (Publishers)
  • Date: c1914-15
  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 cms


German satirical propaganda map postcard of Europe, one of two published by the Munich firm of Verlag Hermann Becker, c1914-15

About this piece:

Humoristische Landkarte [Humoristische Völker-Kriegskarte Nr.15]

Colour printed postcard, used. Message and address details of infantry soldier written in pencil on verso, dated 24th December 1915 and postmarked 1st Jan 1916. Lower left and upper right corners slightly bumped and worn with miniscule areas of recto surface wear.

A second comic map of Europe published in Munich by Verlag Becker in the first months of the war, certainly whilst Italy still remained a neutral (as shown here). Again the countries of Europe are presented in symbolic or satirical form. Britain is a steaming dreadnought and a Scotsman, beside whom a comment criticises “the great blaggard Mister Grey” (“Grosser Maulheld Mister Grey”) and his double-standards of talking and fighting. France is a French general seated on a Champagne bottle, ready to pull the cork, vainly hoping that he will be propelled directly to Berlin. In Spain, a matador’s only fight is with a bull. In Scandinavia, a seated terrier threatens to bite any potential aggressor. In Finland, “freedom’s sun is setting”, a reference to the period oppressive Russification in Finland which characterized the decade up to 1917. Germany’s aerial and military power is represented by a Zeppelin and collection of Krupp artillery shells, the duo that, so the commentary reads, causes Germany’s enemies to flee in utter disarray. The German leader, Paul von Hindenburg, commander of German forces in East Prussia receives mention in relation to his activities on the Eastern front. Rumania, in human profile, still remains neutral. In Serbia, the comment reads “Serbien muss sterbien” (Serbia must die), a reference to an oft-used anti-Serbian catchphrase of the time. In Russia, the military heroes retreat eastwards on the backs of terrified bears “to report their victory to the Tsar”. In Turkey, the turbaned sultan, Mehmet V, smokes a hookah pipe and comments that “German intellect and Turkish weapons will secure our future”. In the Black Sea, a note references the area as the “field of action of the Göben and Breslau”, a topical reference to the two German naval ships, the battle cruiser SMS Goeben and the light cruiser SMS Breslau, which evaded British capture in the Mediterranean in the first days of the war, eventually passing through the Dardanelles with the permission of the Turkish authorities, to reach Constantinople. The arrival of the German vessels played a crucial role in Turkey’s subsequent declaration of war against the Entente powers. Within days of their arrival in Constantinople the two German vessels had been transferred, as gifts, to the Turkish navy, changing their names to the Yavuz Sultan Selim and the Midilli, though retaining their German crew and their commander Souchon. An enormous propaganda coup and morale boost for Turkey, the two ships would play a significant part in the successful Turkish naval attacks on Russian Black Sea ports, including Sebastapol in the Crimea, and on the Russian Black Sea Fleet itself in October and November 1914, which perhaps indicates a probable first publication date for this postcard. A fascinating & scarce German propaganda map postcard.