Propaganda map: the war is the national industry of Prussia



This map was used for propaganda, to appease the French people who were upset after the mutinies of summer 1917. It was meant to justify a lingering war that claimed many lives. It denounces the ambitions of the enemy, pointing out the historical power of Prussia over German land since the early 18th century. The reference in the top left-hand corner to Mirabeau, an 18th-century French revolutionary, writer and diplomat, introduces this historical aspect. Mentioning the declarations of a pan-Germanist association gives a contemporary twist to the Prussian threat. The purpose of this map was to give the impression on the French side that this war was a fight for freedom against Prussian ambitions, that it would liberate the French territories ‘seized’ by the treaty of 1871, which gave Alsace-Moselle to the Germans. The image of the octopus, popular at the time in this kind of document, suggests a threatening power that spreads its tentacles all over Europe.

A copy of this map is also available at the British Library. Please explore our catalogue for more details.


Outil de propagande réalisé suite aux mutineries de l'été 1917, cette carte a pour fonction de justifier aux yeux d'une population accablée la poursuite d'une guerre qui s'éternise et le sacrifice humain qui l'accompagne. Elle dénonce les ambitions hégémoniques de l'ennemi en s'ancrant dans un contexte à la fois historique référence à Mirabeau, visualisation de la progression de l'emprise prussienne sur les territoires germaniques depuis le début du XVIIIe siècle) et contemporain (mise en exergue de la déclaration de l'Alldeutscher Verband). Elle tend ainsi à justifier ce qui s'apparente côté français à une guerre de résistance et de libération des territoires   arrachés  , terme emprunté au revanchisme ancré en France depuis le traité de Francfort de 1871 qui cède l'Alsace-Moselle à l'Empire allemand. L'affichiste a recours à l'image de la pieuvre très courante à l'époque dans ce type de document pour évoquer l'idée d'un pouvoir menaçant qui s'étend et enserre dans ses tentacules toute l'Europe. Lien vers la carte sur Gallica : cotes BNU : AFF.EUR.72 et M.AFFICHE.1.346

Full title
Propaganda map: the war is the national industry of Prussia
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Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire de Strasbourg
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Public Domain

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