Picture Postcards from the Great War


Louis Raemaekers postcards

Tony Allen


The propaganda cartoons of the Dutch artist Louis Raemaekers are sometimes shown or mentioned in publications about the First World War ‑ but usually only briefly. In 1915, a Mr. Clutton‑ Brock said, "it is an idea he attacks and not a nation, and although he is bitter against the idea for which Germany stands, you can find no personal bitterness against Germans in his cartoons." A quiet and modest man, Raemaekers propaganda drawings did much to help the war effort and later the grateful Allies bestowed him with honours and decorations. Many of Raemaekers cartoons were featured on picture postcards and a number of them are shown here.

 Some of the artists' drawings needed just a simple caption. A cartoon of this type, coloured in red and black, depicted the lower part of a railway truck, from which pools of blood were seeping onto the track. The caption was simply "FROM LIEGE TO AIX‑LA‑CHAPELLE"

Louis Raemaekers ww1 postcard

"FROM LIEGE TO AIX-LA-CHAPELLE." Many of Raemaekers postcard cartoons were titled in languages other than English - such was his world-wide fame. This one was in French and Spanish.

In 1916, Francis Stopford thought this picture was "the most terrible which Raemaekers has ever done and the simplest...each of us knows what is in the goods‑van and we shudder at its hideous hidden freight."


Raemaekers at work in his studio