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Was von der Entente übrig bliebe

  • Author: KLIMESCH, F
  • Publisher: Militärische Stelle des Auswärtigen Amtes [MAA] [Military Dept of the Office of Foreign Affairs] (Publisher) / Dietrich Reimer, Berlin (Printer)
  • Date: 1918
  • Dimensions: Sheet: 95 x 60 cms / Image: 89 x 51 cms.


Striking 1918 German propaganda World map: Allied hypocrisy in preventing greater self-determination for their own colonies

About this piece:

Was von der Entente übrig bliebe, wenn sie Ernst machte mit der “Selbststimmungrecht” ihren eigenen Völker und die Zügel losliesse!

[This is what would remain of the Entente, if it took seriously the rights of self-determination of their own nations and let go of the reins!]

Printed colours. Traces of old folds. Small area of slight paper thinning upper left where original label is adhered to verso. Short short repaired tear on vertical fold just within image also upper left, expertly and invisibly closed and reinforced without loss. With all an attractive and well-preserved example.

The fifth of US President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, put forward in his speech to Congress in January 1918, examined the principle of “self-determination” for smaller nations and colonies in any post-war Peace settlement. He suggested that self-determination was not “a mere phrase” but “an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their peril”. He also acknowledged that there should be:

A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty, the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined.”

In early 1918, The MAA, perhaps in realization of the growing unlikelihood of a German military victory, appears to have opened a new poster campaign directed at the perceived hypocrisy of Wilson’s post-war idealism, as propounded in the Fourteen Points. German propagandists inferred that these simply did not square with the enduring imperialist legacies & agendas of the Allied Powers, particularly France and Great Britain, nor with the pragmatic realpolitik of the unfolding political and military endgame in these final months of the War.  This is the issue addressed in this striking propaganda World map in which the Allied circus ring masters of Russia, America, Great Britain & France are shown wrestling to retain control over the reins of their far-flung colonial possessions around the Globe, as symbolically represented by Polar Bear, Bison, Lion & Cockerel.

An example of this poster features in the British Library’s Exhibition, Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line (Nov 2016 – March 2017)