Caricature map of Middle-Europe at the outbreak of the First World War

By KUKOSIAN, G.H., 1914 

Kaiser Map of Europe

Europe Continent of Europe
  • Author: KUKOSIAN, G.H.
  • Publication place: London
  • Publication date: 1914.
  • Physical description: Engraved postcard map
  • Dimensions: 115 by 85mm. (4.5 by 3.25 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 11542

Notes

A propaganda postcard with a map of Europe. Most of eastern Europe is covered by the figure of the heavily moustachioed Kaiser, wearing a shako with the Totenkopf (death’s head) insignia used by the German Hussars and sprouting a pair of devilish wings from his back. His body covers Germany and Austria-Hungary, with his arm stretching down the Italian peninsula, signifying the Triple Alliance signed between those three countries in 1882. The caption is taken from the first verse of a poem by Horace Annesley Vachell, This Day’, published in the Daily Mail in 1914 after the outbreak of war:

Sons of our sea-girt isle!
The battle-tide’s at flood!
With mad appeal to the Lord
A Tyrant draws his sword
A monarch of discord,
A king of iron and Blood!

The tyrant is the Kaiser; the phrase iron and Blood’ refers to his Chancellor Otto von Bismarck’s famous speech of 1862, which proclaimed that Germany’s aims could be achieved only though Blute und Eisen’. In early August 1914, Germany had declared war on Russia and France; after Germany invaded neutral Belgium, Great Britain declared war on Germany, and both Britain and France declared war on Austria-Hungary later that month. The left wing of the Kaiser extends into Belgium, signifying the invasion; the right wing extends into Poland, which was divided between Austria-Hungary, Germany and Britain’s ally Russia.