Emil Dupuis (2)


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The interpretive text for the individual cards displayed below is by Jerry M. Kosanovich.


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114. Denmark: "Looking for civilization in the culture"
The meaning of this card is not so much to criticize Denmark as to lampoon Germany. The German word for culture is "Kultur", and it was a staple of German propaganda (and chauvinism) that they represented the high culture of Europe. The war was in some circles portrayed as sure to result in the "inevitable" advancement of German culture on the continent. Secondly note the map on the wall. The Dane as scientist is therefore engaged in the troublesome task of trying to find traces of civilized behavior in the culture so touted by the Germans. The laboratory setting is of course a pun on the word as biological cultures are studied in a lab.

 To further prove the point of Germany's barbarity, and lend it historical weight, notice the map on the wall. The northern  two-thirds of the peninsula is marked "Royaume de Danemark" - Kingdom of Denmark. The bottom third is labeled "Schleswig 1863". In 1863 after a back-and-forth dispute lasting almost twenty years, Prussia went to war with Denmark that resulted in the occupation of the province of Schleswig. This was followed by its annexation by Prussia in 1868 after conclusion of the Austro-Prussian Seven Weeks War. One can also perhaps sense that the heavily academic setting for portraying Denmark might be Dupuis' criticism of that country for timidity. Denmark has a territorial grievance, an irredentist wrong as France in Alsace and Lorraine, but does not pursue the righting of the wrong through force of arms. Instead they remain behind their Prussian imposed border like academics in an ivory tower and debate the legal merits of a case some fifty years decided.


115. Greece: "Alas! With whom shall I dance?"
Amidst the statues representing the antiquity of its greatness, the Greek soldier stands with a German helmet in one hand and a French army cap in the other. This card is, in its subtle symbolism, extremely critical of Greece and accuses the country of dishonor and abandonment of the greatness that was its past. Headed in 1915, when this drawing was made, by a German born King (Constantine) and a Greek born nationalist prime minister, Greece was courted vigorously by both the Entente Allies and the Central Powers. While popular
sentiment was in favor of entering the war on the side of Serbia and the Allies, the King favored at least neutrality. 

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The nation's indecision was severely criticized in both France and Great Britain. Britain had been a guarantor of Greek souvereignty and independence since the 1820's, and France had also diplomatically intervened (with Britain) after the Balkan war of 1913 to preserve Greek territorial integrity against the Bulgarians and the Turks. What makes this card pointedly anti-Greek however is revealed by what the Greek soldier is standing upon. He is standing upon a piece of paper under which two small figures lie crushed. The paper is the treaty of mutual alliance between Greece and the Kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro - Greece's staunch allies in the Balkan War of 1912 and the Balkan War of 1913. At the contemporaneous point, 1915, Greece continued to straddle the fence and remain neutral while Austria-Hungary and Germany warred with relentless savagery against both the army and the civilians of the Serbian and Montenegrin Balkan nations. Greece was eventually to move towards the Centrals but British and French forces entered the country to prevend such a mobilization.


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116. Romania: "Prudence is the mother of security"
In 1915, at the time this card was produced, Romania still maintained neutrality in the war. The symbolism in this card indicates that the country had fenced herself off and was protecting her bounty of agriculture and oil from the Central Powers. The title of the card refers to the reality that Romania was bordered by Ottoman Turkey, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary, three of the four Central Powers. She lays inland far separated from any assistance from any of the Allied Nations except Russia, which in 1915 was in a state of
significant weakness as a result of Germany's offenses in the north. At the head of the train in the lower left corner we see an Ottoman Turkish hat. 

In the uper third of the card we see peeking from behind the hills heads with hats representing Austria-Hungary (left) and Bulgaria (right). They cast covetous glances at Romania's bounty. No where is to be seen the presence of an Allied Nation symbol - again reinforcing the reality that in relation to the Allied Nations, Romania stood alone surrounded by the Centrals. The message of prudence as the only guarantee of safety proved to be correct. When Romania finally did enter the war on the side of the Allies on August 27, 1916, the country was overrun within four months. By the end of 1916 the Romanian government was reduced to control of a small strip of land contiguous with Russia. 


117. Portugal: "I would like to, but I am so small"
A diminutive Portugal is talking to a huge "John Bull", symbolic of Great Britain. To the right, we see the shadow of a looming Germany as symbolized by the spike helmet and the distinctive moustache of Kaiser Wilhelm II. From the onset of WW1, Portugal had been anxious to enter the war on the side of the Entente Allies. Portugal was prompted in large measure by a desire of the new republic government to garner international support and domestic legitimacy, especially from Great Britain which as a (then) conservative constitutional monarchy had viewed the overthrow of Portugese King Dom Manuel II with a decided lack of enthusiasm. 

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(Dom Manuel II was related to the British royal family and in 1914 was an exile in London.) However, Great Britain was anxious that Portugal not enter the war for a number of reasons. The Porugese army was deemed unreliable and a potential liability due to its monarchist (and pro-German) officer corps, the poor state of its conscripts and its lack of modern military equipment. Another factor is that Portugal was engaged in putting down a series of rebellions in its African colonies and Britain was certain that the Portugese would not be able to defend those colonies in the face of German attacks. Britain (and her allies) would therefore be put in the probable position of having to prop up Portugal's war efforts both in the European and African theatres. Despite these factors, the republican government was adamant in its desire to enter the war and it became only a matter of time. 
The opportunity for Portugal to force its way into the Allied camp presented itself in the spring of 1916. At the outbreak of the war in August 1914, nineteen German merchant ships had taken refuge from the British navy in Portugese ports. For almost two years these ships had been essentially interned as they were blockaded in the Portugese ports by the physical presence of British war ships or by the Portugese bureaucratic maneuvers refusing them permission to leave. BY March 1916 there were some thirty-six German merchant ships which had fled the British navy and secured refuge in the ports of officially neutral Portugal. This was at a time when the British merchant fleet had been devastated by the German submarine offensive in the Atlantic. The result was that Britain was seriously short of transport craft. The Portugese government offered to seize the German ships and present them to Great Britain. Britain reluctantly accepted the offer, and the German response was as expected (and desired by the Portugese government). The German ships had sought refuge in neutral ports, and their seizure and release to a belligerent nation constituted a de facto act of war by Portugal against Germany. On March 9, 1916 Germany declared war on Portugal, exactly as the Portugese government had calculated they would. The subsequent actions by Great Britain however kept Portugese involvement to a minimum in a limited sector of the French front from January 1917. Subsequent events proved that the inadequacy of the Portugese Expeditionary Corps, which the British had perceived in 1914, were all too accurate and the Corps was eventually disbanded and its personnel absorbed into British and French units.

(We would like to ackowledge the kind assistance of Mr. Stewart Lloyd-Jones, Director of the Contemporary Portugese Political History Research Centre. The Centre is a university institute associated  with the Universities of Glasgow and Lisbon. Mr. Lloyd-Jones kindly provided the information above, which corrected several errors in our original commentary on this card.)


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118. South America: "What can they do without the tango?"
This is a rather obscure graphic, the symbolism of which is difficult to interpret. The South American stands in the midst of the great grasslands of the Argentine, the pampas, with a large musical instrument and what appears to be several pieces of luggage in preparation for travel. The oceanliner in the background reinforces this waiting to travel (to Europe) image. However according to Dupuis' text, the man cannot move without the tango. We believe that this is reference to the United States, the dominant power at that time in the Western Hemisphere. So long as the United States remained neutral, so had too the South American nations.

 This is somewhat born out by subsequent history. After America's entry into the war in April 1917 the following Latin American (primarily smaller Central American) nations declared war on Germany in 1917 and 1918: Cuba, Panama, Brazil, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Haiti.


119. Monaco: "Nothing doing"
The principality of Monaco, the small city state in France, remained neutral despite France's entry into the war against Germany in August 1914. 
This cards depicts the reality that Monaco, in 1914 as much a center of gambling as today, found its sole livelihood dead as a result of the war. 
This is depicted by the empty casino table.

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