Propaganda
Posters
1919-1920

 

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  • 1919
Protest
against the Robbery of the
German
Saarland!

Two final aspects of the Versailles Treaty of 1919 became popuarly presented in posters during 1919-1920 and thereafter. The first involved reparations. In fact, the Treaty essentially demanded Germany sign a "blank check" for it required Germany's approval to pay whatever final sum a committee of the Allies would come up with. This sum was not arrived at until the London Conference of 1921, so there are no posters from this earlier period about reparations.

One territorial clause of the Versailles Treaty, however, was seen as particularly unjust. The Saarland, a 100% German-speaking area which had traditionally been a part of Bavaria, contained large coal deposits. As part of its demands, France sought to annex the Saarland directly. Lloyd-George and Wilson, however, refused to accept this and a compromise was worked out. France would occupy the Saarland for 15 years, during which time it could confiscate (nationalize!) all the coal mines. After 15 years, the Versailles Treaty provided for a plebiscite in which the Saarlanders would decide on their future.

The cyncial way in which this purely German area was handed over to France enraged German patriots, and especially Bavarians. This poster is typical of the growing vehemence with which the Versailles Treaty was being portrayed. Here a scruffy French soldier throtles the disarmed German. The caption calls this whole procedure a "robbery."

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