Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark!


Magnificent serio-comic map of Europe portraying the warring Entente and Central Powers as quibbling canines.

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In the months following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, there were few on the continent or in Britain who could have predicted the immensity of the forthcoming global conflict. In general, the French and German public were supportive of the war and the idea of settling questions left unanswered since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Austrians were outraged at the offense of the Serbian assassin Gavrilo Princip and excited to exploit the opportunity for more territory in the Balkans. Russia, as the unwritten protector of Slavic and Eastern Orthodox Christians, saw the need to protect Serbia and prevent further Austro-Hungarian encroachment. The English were concerned with maintaining their empire and ensuring an appropriate balance of power on the continent – German aggression, especially in Belgium, had to be stopped. Other belligerents, like Turkey and Italy, were opportunists, hoping to join the winning side at the right moment for the most gain. These broad generalizations provide a glimpse of the competing motivations of the various powers, and hindsight shows us clearly that a protracted conflict was likely, although still not inevitable.

When this map was issued, the audience did not have the benefit of such hindsight. Many thought that the war would be short, decisive, and glorious. Germany had just advanced through Belgium and the Battle of the Frontiers was ongoing. The British Expeditionary Force was once again fighting on the soil of Europe, and in conjunction with powerful allies in the form of France and Russia. The cartoonish image on this map reflects the pugnacious attitude of the English public, emblemized by the regal English bulldog. Elsewhere in Europe, other powerful nations are also represented by a canine personification.

Germany is shown as a Dachshund chained to an Austrian Mongrel, who is howling with pain as it’s bitten by the little Serbian mosquito. Both dogs in their humorous headgear are squaring off against the combined efforts of the bulldog, French Poodle, and small Belgian Griffon. In the east, the references are somewhat more literal. Tsar Nicholas II can be seen driving the slow, but powerful, steamroller across an image of the Russian Bear, used as a symbol for the country since as early as the 16th century. The Ottomans are crouching over the Dardanelles and caring for a small German pup, in addition to the ships Goeben and Breslau. The accompanying text identifies the “dogs of Constantinople” as the only friend of the Dachshund; the bitterness reflects the Turk’s decision to open the strait for the German battlecruisers.

While initially designed by the firm of Johnson, Riddle & Co. and published in London for an English audience, this example was re-issued in Hamburg by Walter Nolting, likely only a few months after the original. The image is the same as the original, but it includes a German translation of the accompanying bellicose article by Walter Emanuel. In essence, Germany was leveraging Britain’s own propaganda against them by highlighting the map as an example of offensive contemporary English opinions.

Emanuel’s concluding remarks note that ‘Peace has gone to the dogs for the present – until a satisfactory muzzle has been found for that Dachshund.’ Nolting’s response, printed at the end, reads in part;

“This article has been translated to tease the Germans about the hopes they held in proud England, and how our glorious victories have dashed those hopes. From this twisted account, it would seem if the bulldog needed the muzzle more than the Dachshund.”  

It’s interesting that Nolting focuses on German opinion on the homefront as well as British warmongering. It seems almost to chastise those individuals who were concerned about Germany being considered the aggressor in the opening months of the conflict. Ultimate victory, it was hoped, would drastically change the portrayal of Europe.

The map was originally designed and printed in London by Johnson, Riddle & Co. and published by G.W. Bacon & Co. Ltd, likely in the fall of 1914. This example was translated and re-published by Walter Nolting in Hamburg, Germany – probably in early 1915. A rare example of pictorial political propagandization with interesting contemporary repairs on the verso.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1915

Author: Walter Nolting

Sheet Width (in): 30.00

Sheet Height (in): 22.00

Condition: B+

Condition Description: Heavy repairs on the verso - separation along fold lines and a jagged tear in the center left - though they display a curious mix of early 20th century German linen tape and modern archival material. Some of the paper has curled along these repairs in the margins, which also show scattered soiling and toning. A very faint damp stain is present in the lower left center. Despite the several defects, the image remains intact and the text is entirely legible. The overall wear provides an aged patina and pleasing aesthetic.


1 in stock