Letter from the Kaiser Propaganda Postcard

Tonight we have a propaganda postcard from the Great War that takes the form of a supposed letter from the Kaiser to his cousin George V. The piece is written in a joke English to make the stereotypical sounds of a German trying to speak English and takes the form of a comic list of things the Kaiser is alleged to want from Great Britain:SKM_C284e17120515440 - Copy (8)The propaganda starts in the first paragraph with the Kaiser asking for the ships of the Royal Navy to be removed so he can come to the UK:SKM_C284e17120515440 - Copy (8) - CopyThis, not very subtly, implies that Britain is safe because of her navy and the Germans are too frightened of it to make a move against the country. Further on the piece explains that the Kaiser wants the Bank of England, suggesting that his main interest in the country is in her wealth:SKM_C284e17120515440 - Copy (9) - CopyThe third paragraph hints at Germany’s imperial ambitions, which certainly existed, and that the Kaiser wants the British Empire to give to his children:SKM_C284e17120515440 - Copy (10) - CopyThe final paragraph is rather interesting in that it acknowledges the ongoing problems with Irish Independence movements at the time, as the Kaiser says he is not interested in taking on that country!SKM_C284e17120515440 - Copy (11) - CopyThis is clearly a propaganda piece and the text is played for laughs, although it reflects many of the thoughts and feelings of people in 1914 and how they perceived Germany’s war aims and ambitions as well as the reliance Great Britain placed on her navy to keep her safe. This card is just one example of many hundreds of propaganda designs postcard manufacturers produced throughout the war. Popular topics were poking fun at the Kaiser and his military and the cards range from the broadly humorous like this one, to much darker topics such as alleged atrocities in Belgium. The cards seem to have been popular, but it is hard to say how much this sort of propaganda influenced public opinion and how much it was just a reflection of people’s existing beliefs and ideas.

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