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Australia and World War I

Prelude to War


Iconography - A Picture Tells a Thousand Words
Satirical maps are a form of artistic social and political commentary of important historical events. Historians can glean much information from these primary sources which demonstrate varying perspectives and opinions from different sides of the conflict. At the same time, Historians also have to be wary of bias from these sources which were at times used for propaganda.

Kill That Eagle

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European Revue - Kill That Eagle (by J. Amschewitz; London, Pub. by "Geographica", 1914)

All of Europe is watching Germany and Austria-Hungary in central Europe. France and Germany are staring each other down.

France is represented as Marianne avec Le Coq Gaulois, two emblematic symbols of France. Marianne is an allegory of Liberty and Reason. Le Coq Gaulois (Gallic rooster) represents France as a nation with its history, land and culture.

Germany is depicted as an eagle - Germany's national emblem.

Curiously, Austria-Hungary is depicted as the tragic and buffoonish Pierrot character of European pantomime who eternally pines for an unrequited love. It is Germany's love that they pine for?

Austria-Hungary is pulling Holland (represented as donkey or mule) into the conflict by the ear.

Montenegro is depicted as a Bee stinging the reaching hand of Austria-Hungary. Serbia is depicted as a dog who, whilst dressed in the colours of Austria-Hungary, is also biting the hand which is reaching into the Balkans.

The Russian Bear is clawing at the feet of Germany and Austria-Hungary, while the Mongols are at the heels of Russia.

The Ottomans are pushed, unwillingly it seems, towards the conflict by German interests.

Italy is singing to Germany and Austria-Hungary 'You made me love you, I didn't wanna do it' (Italy later backed out of the Triple Alliance).

Bulgaria is preparing to defend themselves from the The Ottomans while Greece is also looking defensive. Romania, too, is looking cautiously towards Austria-Hungary.

Belgium, although neutral, is looking nervous. Switzerland is also neutral and keeping its head down with the maelstrom surrounding it.

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'.

The countries of Norway and Sweden as well as Portugal, Spain, Corsica and Sardinia watch intently from a distance.


Click on the images below to explore more satirical maps of World War I

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