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Catalog Number 1983.120.41
Object Name Print
Accession number 1983.120
Description Print by Louis Raemaekers

Soldier in trench writing home.

Information Written on Back: No. 28 / 222 / Letter home. Dear Mother, our graveyards have now reached the Sea.

Additional Information from "Raemaekers' Cartoons: With Accompanying Notes by Well-known English Writers" by Louis Raemaekers Copyright 1916 (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19126/19126-h/19126-h.htm)

NOTE: In this cartoon Raemaekers has contrived to indicate powerfully what is after all the dominant and peculiar note of the German people. No European nation has ever taken war—as people say so "seriously," that is, with so much concentration of attention and elaborate preparation, as has the German Empire. No people has ever had it so thoroughly drilled into its collective mind as have the German subjects of that Empire that war is not only, as all Christian people have always believed, an expedient lawful and necessary upon occasion, but a thing highly desirable in itself, nay, the principal function of a "superior" race and the main end of its being.

And yet after all the actual German is never, like the Frenchman, a natural and instinctive warrior—any more than he is, like the Englishman, a natural and instinctive adventurer. The whole business of Prussian militarism, with the half-witted philosophy by which it is justified, has to be imposed upon him from without by his masters. He fights just as he works, just as he tortures, violates, and murders, because he is told to do so by persons in a superior position, holding themselves stiffly, dressed in uniform, and able to hit him in the face with a whip.

Long before the war the absurd Koepenick incident gave us a glimpse of this astonishing docility on its farcical side. Its tragic side is well illustrated by the droves of helpless and inarticulate barbarians driven into the shambles daily (as at Verdun) for the sole purpose of covering up the blunders of their very "efficient" superiors. One could pity the wretches if there were not so considerable a leaven of wickedness in their stupidity.

NOTE AUTHOR: Cecil Chesterton

CARTOON CAPTION: A Letter from the German Trenches / "We have gained a good bit, our cemeteries now extend as far as the sea."
People Raemaekers, Louis
Subjects World War 1
Political cartoons
Letters (Home)
Trench warfare
Artist Raemaekers, Louis
Title A Letter from the German Trenches
Image size 37.9 x 29.1 cm