Alberto Martini (2)


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" The yellow victory"
This card depicts the victory of the Japanese for the 200 square kilometers German concession on China's Shantung Peninsula. This was the colony of Tsing Tao.
Japan is symbolized as a skeletal Death standing atop a grossly bloated and far larger Germany who holds a broken sword, bleeds profusely and can only respond with an iname "yes, yes."

No. 19


This card is heavy with ironic symbolism of a most cutting nature. Borrowing from one of the most sacred Christian events, the agony of Jesus Christ as He carried the cross to His crucifiction, it is entitled " The Calvary of the Prussian Army." The Prussian Army, in the form of a brutish demon, carries on its back a massive cannon. The demon's buttocks, bare, are being whipped by a giant scorpion with a human torso labeled as "Harden". Harden was a popular journalist and influential German nationalist most active in the 1880's and 1890's. He was crucial in the public exposure of a purported homosexual group, centered around Prince Eulenberg. 

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No. 20

Prince Eulenberg was Kaiser Wilhelm's closest friend and advisor from the time he was crown prince into the early years of his reign as Emperor. Eulenberg was ultimately tried in court for homosexual behavior, and the onus came very close to tainting the Kaiser. Martini is therefore lending a heavy overtone of sado-maso-
chistic sexual symbolism to the card with the presence of Harden and his position as the wielder of the whip. One will notice the little demon at the lower left labeled "Veronica". In the Bible, Veronica (who's name means "truth" in Latin !) was the woman who handed Christ a cloth with which to wipe His face. Upon her return home she discovered that it had upon it an imprint of His face. In Martini's graphic we see that the true face of the Prussian demon is that of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This completes the circle of the sado-masochistic reference, directly implicating the Kaiser as a sexual deviant.


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This card is entitled " The purification of the Prussian Army ". Again Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II is portrayed as a demon, a thoroughly inhuman creature made all the more horrific by the seemingly human form. Atop his head, reminiscent of the pre-Christian barbaric huns of 1500 years earlier, he wears an animal head as his helmet. In this case the black eagle, symbol of both the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire. The "purification" that the German Army brings is death (Wilhelm stands on corpses), destruction as symbolized by the burning cathedral for which Wilhelm awards high military honors (the iron crosses) and disease as symbolized by the ugly creature in his left hand representing tetanus. 

No. 21


This extremely disturbing card is entitled " Macellaio ", butcher shop. It utilizes the deep seeded taboo against cannibalism to portray the barbarity of both Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II, standing with bloody ax at the butcher's block, and Austria-Hungary's Kaiser Franz Josef who peers out of a window and feeds human body parts to the evil dog of war, which barks out the place names of Austro-Hungarian atrocities against the Italians - Trieste, Trento and Zara. Hanging in the doorway of the butcher's shop is Belgio (Belgium), represented as a thoroughly gutted human being.

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No. 22


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" The opportunity of the year 1914 "
This card attacks German Emperor Wilhelm II for his efforts to entice the Ottoman Empire into the war, and his cynical playing up to that Empire's leadership in order to use the Islamic majority to war against Christians in the Balkans. Wilhelm is portrayed as an effeminate peacock, reference to his fawning upon the corrupt Turkish Sultan who kept peacocks at his court.  Wilhelm holds a cup of blood as he stands upon the world with a skeleton's face. A wild haired Death stands with torch, ready to ignite the world.

No. 23


Anticipating the " Conference for Peace " that will follow Germany's defeat, the evil devil of war is symbolized as a skeleton with a long tail. The demon holds up his charge - German Emperor Wilhelm II portrayed as a claw footed pig. Gathered behind the peace table are European leaders who look rather terrified at the sight of the devil and his agent. Among the leaders can be identified Czar Nicholas II of Russia, King George V of Britain, President Poincaré of France, Japan's Emperor Toshihito and King Nicholas of Montenegro.

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No. 24




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