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Satyrische Europa Karte Weltkrieg 1914

  • Author: E Zimmermann (Artist & designer)
  • Publisher: NOLTING, W. Hamburg, Germany
  • Date: 1914
  • Dimensions: sheet: 59 x 46 cms


Rare German satirical propaganda map of Europe designed by E Zimmermann & published by the Hamburg firm of W Nölting in late 1914

About this piece:

Satyrische Europa Karte Weltkrieg 1914 [Satirical Map of Europe – World War 1914]

Separately issued monochrome map printed on thin slightly glossy newspaper-type paper. Wide margins. Traces of multiple folds. A little light foxing to verso, showing through in a couple of light spots in centre of recto image. Small almost invisible pinhole at central fold juncture. Overall a well-preserved example in untouched original condition.

Unusual and uncommon German satirical map published in Hamburg shortly after the outbreak of World War One in August 1914.

The Hamburg publishing firm of Walter Nölting was instrumental in the design and publication of several such  maps in the early months of World War One. These appear to have been private commercial initiatives marketed for the German Home Front. Notable amongst these were reprintings of two recently published British satirical propaganda maps – Hark! Hark! The Dogs do Bark! (with note by Walter Emanuel) & European Revue – Kill that Eagle (designed by Jewish artist, J H Amschewitz)  – originally published in London by Johnson Riddle & Co and Geographia Ltd in November and December 1914 respectively.  The two Nölting reprintings (also by the same artist as designed this map, E Zimmermann) were probably first published in early 1915. The explicit propagandist aim behind these German editions was seemingly to reinforce the traditional stereotype of a self-interested, warmongering & deeply untrustworthy Britain – the “Perfidious Albion” so often berated by her European neighbours & occasional Continental allies.

This map would appear to pre-date the two Emanuel & Amschewitz reprintings, being published shortly after the outbreak of war in late 1914.

A detailed descriptive letterpress, typical of the genre, and describing the satirical imagery, appears in two panels below the map. The much-used stereotype of the louse-infested vodka-swilling Russian drunk is reprised once again. A translation of the text reads roughly as follows, and elucidates many of the finer details depicted on the map :

The Russian bear sprays insect repellant on the Russian and holds out his empty wallet while roaring “hunger.” Finland, chained to Russia, tries to cut himself free. The Russian is under fire from Austria and Germany. His chamber pot is full of “victories”. His uniform shows a tear in East Prussia and Lithuania [scene of early Russian defeats in late 1914]. The Austrian duly scratches the Serb. Rumania is at the ready. Bulgaria is still wounded from the Balkan War. The Turk awakes and looks across at the woman in his hareem. Norway and Sweden are neutral, Denmark supplies butter. Italy has both feet in one boot and remains neutral. The German pushes Belgium out of the way with the elbow and hits France on the head. Bordeaux becomes an asylum for the homeless. The victories of the English and French are false, like the snakes (=lies) that they preach. The Englishman will also soon know what 42ers are, etc. etc.

The “42ers” were 42cm M-Gerät Krupp howitzers, giant German artillery guns, known as “Big Berthas”, two of which were employed on the Eastern and Western fronts from the outset of World War One. They had the ability to fire as many as ten one-ton shells per hour over a range of about 10 kilometers (just over 6 miles). They could cause  widespread destruction, as witnessed in the bombardment of Ypres in April 1915.

The map appears to predate the usual approval of the wartime censor, though an interesting inscription lower left indicates that the “Flächenmuster” (two dimensional design/ template) for the map has been registered with the local Court (presumably for copyright purposes) in Hamburg.

An uncommon & unusual war map, one of the first of this highly popular satirical genre to be published by the Hamburg firm of W Nölting after the outbreak of hostilities in 1914.

Refs: Imperial War Museum Collections; Library of Congress; Yale University Library; University of Amsterdam Collections; Bibliodyssey Blog post 2008