Print by Louis Raemaekers
German held by English, Italian (?) and French soldiers.
Information Written on Back: No. 124 / 116 white / 52 toned / The German: I made three prisoners but they will not let me go.
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: The German claim—not the Austrian nor the Turk, for the alliance following Germany is to be allowed little force—is that, the civilization of Europe now being defeated, a Roman pride may be generous to the fallen. Before modern Germany is routed, as may be seen in the features of its citizens, the nobility of its public works, and the admirable, restrained, and classic sense of its literature, this generosity to a humbled world will take the form of letting nations, of right independent, enjoy some measure of freedom under a German suzerainty. In the matter of property the magnanimous descendants of Frederick and William the Great will restore the machines which cannot be wrenched from their concrete beds, and the walls of the manufactories. More liquid property, such as jewellery, furniture, pictures—and coin—it will be more difficult to trace. In any case, Europe may breathe again, though with a shorter breath than it did before Germany conquered at the Marne.... This is the majestic vision which the subtle diplomats of Berlin present to the admiration of the neutral Powers, happily free from wicked passions of war, and not blinded, as are the British, French, Russians, Italians, Belgians, and the Serbians, by petty spite. Their audience, their triple audience, is part of Greece, some of the public of Spain, and sections of that of the United States. To the French and the British armies in the West, to the Russians in the East, and to the Italians upon their frontiers, the terms appear insufficient. Therein would seem to lie the gravity of Prussia's case. These belligerent Powers will go so far as to demand more than the mere restoration of stolen property, from cottage furniture to freedom. And their anger has risen so high that they even propose to make the acquirer of these goods suffer very bitterly indeed. What plea he will then raise under discomforts more serious than those he has caused to the peasants of Flanders and of Poland, and how those pleas will affect his neutral audience, will have no effect whatever on the result of the war, or on his own unpleasing fate. Those appeals will have a certain interest, however, because we know from the past that the German mind is unstable. Within fifteen short months it proposed the annihilation of the French armies and the occupation of Paris. It failed. It next offered terms upon suffering defeat. It withdrew them. It next made certain at least of a conquest of Russia, failed again, offered terms again, withdrew them again; was directed to the blockading of England, failed; thought Egypt better, and then changed its mind. It was but yesterday in the mood that this cartoon suggests; to-morrow its mood will have utterly changed again, probably to a whine, perhaps to a scream. Such instability is rare in the history of nations which purpose a conquest of others, and it is a very poor furniture for the mind.
NOTE AUTHOR: Hilaire Belloc
CARTOON CAPTION: The German: "If you will let me keep what I have, I will let you go."
World War 1
Prisoners of war
|Title||The German Offer|
|Image size||38 x 25.7 cm|