Current Auction
Lot 457
Current Auction

Extremely Rare Matching Set of Pro-German Propaganda From WWI

"[Lot of 3] Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914 [and] 2. Humoristische Karte von Europa im Jahre 1914 [and] Humorist. Darstellung der Wappen underer Feinde 1914", Leutert & Schneiderwind

Subject: Europe, World War I

Period: 1914 (published)


Color: Printed Color

19.2 x 10.9 inches
48.8 x 27.7 cm
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This lot includes 3 incredible World War I pieces published by Leutert & Schneiderwind in Dresden. The first two are rare political caricature maps of Europe created by Karl Lehmann-Dumont, depicting the continent at the outbreak of the war. The maps portray the Germans' view of the alliance situation and territorial issues towards the end of the first year of the war in a fascinating and humorous manner. The key countries involved in the war are represented by human and animal caricatures with various props that help illustrate the situation. German text adjacent to each map describes each country's "character."

The first map (shown second in the images) depicts each county in human form. Germany is described as a Deutsche Michel (an ordinary or average German), stretching and extending himself with all his might, already grasping the Frenchman by his throat and punching the Russian bear. Germany's Imperial Eagle unleashes bees from their hive to attack its enemies, which appear on the map as both bees and missiles. France, already covered in bees, appears to retreat, and calls to England for help. Meanwhile, the French rooster crows about its victories in the battles from 1870-71 (Franco-Prussian War). The giant Russian bears an "Angel of Peace" symbol on his cap, with a bottle of Vodka in one hand and a whip of "revolution" in the other hand. The Russian opens his mouth wide in an attempt to swallow Germany and Austria whole, but is deterred by the German bees. England, who has caused Egypt to declare war, stands on bags of money while being punched in the face by an iron fist. The English bulldog finds it difficult to breathe with an Indian snake wrapped around its neck. The Englishman has also dragged Japan into the war, and holds a string that is attached to Japan, depicted in an inset at left.

The second map in the series (first image) shows only Germany and its key ally Austria-Hungary as humans, with all other countries depicted as animals. Germany and Austria-Hungary are in fact "animal tamers," using guns and whips to control a wild and dysfunctional European menagerie. Germany and Austria-Hungary's guns are firing towards Russia, illustrated by a pack of wolves and a threatening rhinoceros. France's traditional rooster is squawking at Germany, aided by a mythical basilisk that has just hatched from an egg. Belgium is a three-headed snake with two of its heads already severed, but still baring its fangs at Germany. A Serbian hyena attacks Austria-Hungary, who thwarts it with his whip while also holding back the Montenegro rat with his boot. Italy is shown as a "loyal" dog due to its Triple Alliance with the Central Powers, but is half asleep and not yet entering the war. The Ottoman Empire is depicted as a lumbering elephant, assisting its allies by squirting water at the Russian wolves. England is a menacing crocodile whose mouth is constricted from opening fully due to a strap from India. Romania is a fierce tiger who has not begun to fight but lies in wait. This second map makes the case for Germany and Austria-Hungary having been forced to enter the war to protect themselves from their wild and dangerous neighbors.

The third piece in this lot is a double-page sheet containing humorous, satirical interpretations of heraldic shields for several of the Allied nations, such as France, Russia, England, Montenegro, Belgium, Serbia and Japan. For instance, the "R.F." on France's shield is reinterpreted as "Revanche Futsch" (revenge vanished) instead of "Republic Francaise," and England's motto "Dieu et Mon Droit" (God and my Right) has been replaced with "Alles für den Geldsack" (Everything for the moneybag). For reference, the actual arms of each country are shown in the bottom row.

The second and third pieces in this lot include notations that they are made for "collectors of war souvenirs and curiosities." Despite these pieces being offered as collectibles at the time they were published, they are all now quite rare. To find all three together is quite remarkable. We are unaware of any other examples of this full set being offered on the market.

References: Curtis & Pedersen (War Map) pp. 32-39; cf. PJ Mode Collection #1174.01.

Condition: B+

Boldly colored examples with minor soiling and some extraneous creasing.

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,400

Current High Bid:

Reserve: Reserve Not Met
Next Bid: $1,000

Bid Increments
Under $50$1
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$100 - $250$10
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Above $5000$500