Thursday, 5 February 2015

Wartime Propaganda - Germans, Turks and Austrians as seen by the Auckland Weekly News

This year Auckland Libraries remembers it is 100 years since New Zealand’s first major baptism of fire during the First World War when our troops landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. To commemorate that event Sir George Grey Special Collections staff are working to make the Auckland Weekly News Supplement photographs from 1915 more searchable for researchers, librarians and readers who look at the Heritage Images in our Digital Library. These photographs feature events and people from all major war fronts but also include New Zealand personalities and scenes.

How our attitudes to the people who were then our enemies have changed during the past 100 years! But back then Auckland Weekly News caption-writers jingoistically stirred up public hatred for the Germans, contempt of the Turks and mockery of the Austrians.

The depths of German depravity were unfathomable as this propaganda cartoon of German troops massacring Belgian citizens in Louvain shows.


The next two photographs feature the aftermath of a German bombing raid on the innocent civilians of Colchester in England:



Germany’s ambitions for world domination knew no bounds, but of course that madman Kaiser Wilhelm would finally come a cropper with his motley crew of Turkish and Austrian allies.


And of course one couldn’t do much with reluctant allies like the Turks.


There were no limits to German ingenuity and downright deviousness. They just didn't have a sense of fair play.  Here they have created a false forest where they could skulk, instead of coming out to be shot down like brave Brits.


But of course when the chips were down Germans were, in the final analysis, a nation of cowards, lacking British backbone.  Here regular German soldiers are encouraging wary reserve troops to advance.


The Austrians were no better. Their artillerymen could not even stand a good bombardment.  The next photograph shows Austrian ‘funk-holes’ in the fortifications around Przemysl in Galicia (now in Poland).


Finally, back to the Germans. Here are two of them revealing their human frailties (in this case lazily riding donkeys instead of marching). Note the sting in the caption’s tail; the true German might be a buffoon, but he’s still a thieving one!


For more images from the Auckland Weekly News, follow our Twitter account which posts an image each day from the corresponding issue 100 years ago.

Author: Chris Paxton

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