Map of Europe in 1914

The memory of the First World War, its events and consequences, its victims and victors, remains very much alive today. It has become part of the individual and collective memory of Europe and of countries across the world – the stories of soldiers and their families continue to be told and published from generation to generation. To mark the centenary of its outbreak in 2014, a consortium of national libraries and other partners from eight European countries that found themselves on different sides of the historic conflict will make an unparalleled collection of more than 400,000 digitised items relating to the First World War freely available to the public for the first time through the Europeana online portal.

As part of the Europeana Collections 1914-1918 project, the consortium members will be adding a new blog post every month that looks at some of the stories behind just a few of these 400,000 images. This month, our colleagues at the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer have uncovered a menacing, anthropomorphised map, as they explain below.

A satirical map of Europe, 1914.
By the team from the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

The Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz is proud to present a remarkable piece from its World War One collection: a satirical map of the nations of Europe as seen in 1914.

Map: © Estate of Walter Trier, Vancouver, Canada
Karte: © Estate of Walter Trier, Vancouver, Canada

While buck-toothed England looks grumpy – with Ireland growling at its back -, she still hesitates to mobilise its fleet. France is being put to flight by a single swift kick, while Italy watches the scene

rejoicing, its hands in its pockets; whereas a giant Russian soldier is trying to swallow the European antagonists whole. The Germans and Austrians, however, are firing in all directions, their bayonet getting up the Russian’s nose, or aimed his throat.
All this and more can be seen on the satirical map of Europe in 1914 drawn by the German graphic artist Walter Trier (1890-1951), mainly known for his illustrations of Erich Kästner’s famous story Emil and the Detectives (1929). A Jew, and a collaborator on left-wing satirical journals, he had to flee Berlin for London in 1936. During the Second World War, he provided the British Ministry of Information with anti-Nazi drawings for political propaganda leaflets.

Eine satirische Karte Europas im Jahr 1914
Aus der Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz

England schaut grimmig mit der Dogge Irland im Rücken, zögert aber noch mit Hasenzähnen, seine Flotte einzusetzen. Frankreich ergreift schon von einem einzigen Fußtritt erschrocken die Flucht, Italien schaut fröhlich und mit den Händen in den Taschen zu, während ein riesiger russischer Soldat sich bemüht, die europäischen Streithähne samt und sonders zu verschlingen. Die Deutschen und Österreicher teilen hingegen „Hiebe“ in etliche Richtungen aus, pieken dem Russen in die Nase oder richten ihr Gewehr in den russischen Schlund.

Dies und mehr ist auf der satirischen Europakarte von 1914 des deutschen Zeichners Walter Trier (1890-1951) zu entdecken, der heute vor allem durch seine Illustrationen von Erich Kästners Kinderbüchern (Emil und die Detektive, 1929) bekannt ist. Im Jahr 1936 musste Walter Trier aufgrund seiner jüdischen Abstammung und seiner Tätigkeit für satirische Zeitschriften aus Deutschland fliehen. Er arbeitete während des Zweiten Weltkrieges in London u.a. für das britische „Ministery of Information“ und entwarf anti-nationalsozialistische Karikaturen für Flugblätter.

8 thoughts on “Map of Europe in 1914

  1. Very interesting…but a link to the map in a higher resolution would be great, to be able to actually see the map.

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