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  • 1919

I vote German


In the three years during which Upper Silesia had to prepare for the required Plebiscite, propagandists on both sides had a field day. Just to show that not only Germans had recourse to rather simplistic posters in order to make their point, I have included here three anti-German, that is pro-Polish posters.

The first is the easiest. It simply shows an ass, dressed in military uniform with the iron-cross prominantly displayed, braying out his message.

The implication is that anyone who voted in favor of remaining with Germany was acting in an assinine fashion.

Significantly, of course, almost all of the people living in Upper Silesia spoke German. The area had been a part of the Austrian Empire until captured by Frederick the Great in 1743. At the start of the Industrial Revolution (c. 1855-1880), large quantities of coal deposits were discovered in this rather isolated area, and as a result large numbers of Polish-speakers had migrated into the area. Attending German schools, this original Polish population was fully bi-lingual by 1919.

Thus, posters advocating the Polish case could appear in German and be read by both sympathetic Germans as well as Poles.

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