A huge nutcracker wearing a uniform bares its teeth, presumably against its enemies, not all of which are nuts. This is the cover of The Field Grey Nutcracker, a booklet full of puzzles related to the war. The reader is for example asked to work out: ‘As coin it has less worth, but it crosses proudly through the waves’. The right answer is Kreuzer, German for an old small coin or a vessel.
The booklet was created to energise the troops. In the introduction, for example, it tells them to crack the riddles while waiting to spank the Cossacks, the Belgians, the British or the French again, as they’ve done already. Soldiers often had to spend several weeks or months in the field, sometimes waiting for the next offensive with few opportunities to relax. Pastimes such as riddle booklets helped take their mind off things. This was welcomed from official quarters as a way to pacify overwrought nerves.
TranscriptThe field-grey nutcracker!
All kinds of puzzles, riddles and funny stories from the World War 1914-15
Published by: Priebatsch publishing house, Breslau I.
- Article by:
- Paul Cornish
- Life as a soldier, The war machine, Race, empire and colonial troops
With focus on the routines of work, rest and recreation, Senior Curator Paul Cornish describes the typical daily life experienced by soldiers in World War One.