Catalog Archive
Auction 146, Lot 394

"[World War I Arabic/Farsi Propaganda Pamphlet]", Anon.

Subject: Europe

Period: 1915 (circa)


Color: Printed Color

8.7 x 8.8 inches
22.1 x 22.4 cm
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This unique WWI propaganda pamphlet is one we haven't come across before, and gives a fascinating Arabic perspective on the war and the two competing powers. The pamphlet is titled "Injustice and Righteousness" and is dual-language throughout in Arabic and Farsi. The pamphlet was written from the perspective of countries under the rule of the Triple Entente powers (Britain, France and Russia) within Africa and Asia. The purpose of the pamphlet was to unify the people of these different nations under the single mission of breaking the "shackles of slavery" by helping to defeat the Triple Entente. An essay at the beginning of the pamphlet explains that "God has given them this deadly war" and that they have "sided with Germany because they saw in them an old friend, never a tyrant." Their hope is that "they can all control the English and their allies with strong shackles, and impose on them the mistreatment they themselves imposed." The essay goes further to reassure readers that Germany was strong and powerful enough to protect and support them in the hopes of disputing the rumors spread by the English and their allies that "the Germans were helpless, poor in money and in men, and are unable to support themselves let alone others."

The essay is followed by 14 pages of maps and vignettes intended to prove the tyranny of the English and their allies and the superiority of the Germans. Several maps show the countries in Africa and Asia under the rule of the English, French, Russians and Italians, most accompanied by vignettes depicting the oppression of those in Africa and the East by the western powers. One page shows side-by-side vignettes of the English presence in India, with the right-hand vignette depicting the situation 250 years ago in which "the English went to India and begged its greatest prince for permission to trade there," compared with the scene at left showing the present day with the English "becoming rulers of that vast country and taking all its wealth and fruit while the people of the country suffer from famine." There are also several charts demonstrating the difference in population of the natives within various colonies compared with the relatively few westerners ruling within those colonies. One such chart is accompanied by a quote from the English Governor-General of India from 1899-1905, George Nathaniel Curzon, who reportedly said, "In India, we can only be described as a speck of white foam upon a dark ocean with a very deep floor."

Towards the end of the pamphlet are charts showing Germany's dominance over Britain and France in several areas: the literacy of their soldiers; the number of books printed each year; the wealth of their nations; their foreign trade; the length of the railway track; and the amount of post sent. On the final page is a chart showing the hopeful outcome of the war: 2.5 million English, French and Russian prisoners of war.

A complete English translation of the text in the pamphlet will accompany this lot.


Condition: A

Crisp and clean, with just a minor amount of soiling on outside covers and a couple of light fingerprints in blank margins on a few pages.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,800

Closed on 9/4/2013