Countdown to Peace – an exhibition for WW1

27 days until Armistice

Art and propaganda

Today we feature: The Great War: a neutral’s indictment. By Louis Raemaekers. London, Fine Art Society, 1916.

Why fight the War? The invasion and atrocities committed in Belgium by German forces were widely reported and denied.  The Netherlands was neutral, so refugees streamed across the border. With them, they carried stories of German atrocities against the Belgian people. Dutchman Raemaekers secretly crossed the border into Belgium to see for himself if the stories were true and returned outraged at what he had witnessed. He began to produce fiercely Anti-German political cartoons that burned with the passion of personal conviction. Raemaekers’ cartoons were picked up for distribution by the British government in a series of propaganda pamphlets. The campaign was so effective, the Germans used their influence in the Netherlands to have Raemaekers tried for “endangering Dutch neutrality”. The charges were eventually dropped, but Kaiser Wilhelm II put a bounty of 12,000 marks on his head. The cartoon collection

The cartoons of Louis Raemaekers constitute the most powerful of the honorable contributions made by neutrals to the cause of civilization in the World War.” -Theodore Roosevelt, 1917.

Raemaekers. The harvest ripe. August 1914