European Revue: Kill that Eagle, 1914

Cartoon map of Europe at the beginning of World War I. The map is showing Austria-Hungary at the centre, depicted as the tragic and buffoonish Pierrot character of European pantomime, who eternally pines for an unrequited love. Is it Germany’s love that Austria pines for? While grasping itself to the German eagle, a brown bear (Russia) lashes out at both of them. A small dog (Serbia), dressed in the colours of Austria-Hungary, grasps him in his coat. Great Britain and France are ready to attack the eagle. France is represented as Marianne avec le Coq Galois, the two emblematic symbols of the French nation.

Great Britain is represented as a man with his arms already bloodied from physical conflict. The blood is not his own. He marches toward the conflict armed with a sword and has the armies of Ireland, India, New Foundland and the ANZACS (Australia and New Zealand) behind him as support. He views the situation as ‘Business as usual’. In the south, Italy is depicted as an opera singer singing the lyrics “You made me love you. I didn’t want to do it”. Italy later backed out of the Triple Alliance. The Ottoman Empire is pushed, unwillingly it seems, towards the conflict by German interests. The smaller (neutral) countries of Europe watch intently from a distance, looking cautiously and nervous, with the maelstrom of European affairs surrounding them.

Peace Palace Library | Poster collection