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En 1788 Mirabeau disait déjà: “La Guerre est L’Industrie Nationale de la Prusse” / Le Rêve Allemand

  • Author: NEUMONT, Maurice
  • Publisher: La Conference au Village contre la Propagande ennemie en France, Paris (Publishers)
  • Date: 1917-18
  • Dimensions: Sheet: 30 x 23.8 cms


Rare 1917-18 French propaganda leaflet, with a reduced version of Maurice Neumont’s striking poster of the Prussian Octopus.

About this piece:

En 1788 Mirabeau disait déjà: “La Guerre est l’Industrie Nationale de la Prusse” – Le Rêve Allemand [In 1788, Mirabeau could already say: “War is the National Industry of Prussia” – [Verso text :]  The German Dream.]

Printed colour to recto. Printed text to verso. Trace of central vertical fold. Overall very fresh and fine condition, given the ephemeral nature of the medium.

The symbolic power of the all-enveloping cephalopod, receives a striking French make-over at the hands of Parisian artist and illustrator, Maurice Neumont, who completed this powerful design for the accompanying poster in December 1917. This associated leaflet reproduces Neumont’s “Octopus” map once again, reiterating the acquisitive expansionist tendencies of Prussia and Germany over the previous 200 years. It once more draws special attention to Germany’s acquisition of Alsace & Lorraine after the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 and makes close comparison between these & territorial conquests made in France since the outbreak of war in 1914. These are all denoted by red dots which, unlike the poster, are now also extended to include Germany’s territorial war gains in the Balkans and along the Eastern Front in the previous three years as well.

Like the poster it also includes a quotation from the pangermanist Alldeutscher Verband, which, on the eve of war, proffers the message that: The German People should arise as a Master Race above the inferior peoples of Europe. Along the bottom of the poster, national hero, General Petain’s words of June 1917 defiantly declare that, “being attacked, we can do no more than defend ourselves in the name of Liberty and to ensure our own survival”.

The issue of expansionist pangermanism is further explored in the text on the reverse of the map, entitled “Le Reve Allemand” (The German Dream).

The text translates roughly as follows:


“Since when has one been called to defend Capitalist property in modern wars? If you say to the proletariat that they are going to get killed for the sake of defending Capitalism, then you are lying.”

Jules Guesde, Congress of Limoges, 1906.

“Germany is an ambitious industrial power, producing a lot of what she doesn’t consume.

She thus finds herself obliged to place with others the excess of products that she cannot use herself.

Her economic development and power have filled her with pride: “Deutschland über alles!” – Germany above all – has become the motto of the entire German people.

Her ambition to be the owner of all the principal materials necessary for both her business & industry have driven her to covetWorld domination.

German publications that appeared before the war contain numerous proofs of this:

In “Gross Deutschland und Mitteleuropa um 1950”, that is “Greater Germany & Central Europe by around 1950”, a work that appeared in Berlin in 1893, you find, on page 48, this description of the “German Dream”:

In a relatively short space of time, we must see this: the German flag sheltering 86 million Germans, who will govern territory inhabited by 130 million Europeans. On this vast Territory, only the Germans will exercise political rights, only they will serve in the Navy & Army, only they will be allowed to acquire land. So it will be just like the Middle Ages, a Master race who simply condescend to have the lowest tasks undertaken by the peoples who have submitted to their domination.

Never has a people been as focused on war as the German people:  Germany makes war to obtain economic supremacy.”

Given the ephemeral nature of such wartime propaganda leaflets, few have survived and rarely in good condition. Unusually this is a particularly fresh, crisp and well-preserved example