Cultural Exchange in a Time of Global Conflict: Colonials, Neutrals and Belligerents during the First World War

Slideshow Images

First Slide


© IWM The Empire Needs Men! First World War Commonwealth and British Empire recruitment poster. Art.IWM PST 5110. (go to image)

Middle left

Paul Jouve (1878-1973) : A Spahi near Ypes, June 1915 (In Flanders Fields Museum)

Middle right

Chinese  labourer 18693 Song Xiufeng posing together with Maurice, the son of photographer René Matton in Proven (Belgium). The central board also displays the date ‘1917 in the Republican era’. (In Flanders Fields Museum – Heirs René Matton, Proven)


Propaganda postcard promoting Dutch neutrality whilst being under foreign pressure to join the war, drawn by the Dutch painter Theo Molkenboer. In the picture, a Dutch woman wearing a traditional Dutch costume says ‘Hij zeit wat!’ (in English: ‘He said something!’), referring to the German soldier standing behind her. Postcard is published by Scheltens & Giltay in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, date unknown.


Second Slide

Top left

© IWM Soldaten-Frühlings-Fest [Soldiers’ Spring Fête], 1915, Austria-Hungary. Art.IWM PST 7155. (go to image)

Bottom left

Paul Hoffmann & Co: West-African Prisoners-of-War in Flanders, 1917-18. Paul Hoffmann ‘s Berlin photo-agency published many propaganda photos. This image bears the title « Characteristic prisoner types of the last battles in Flanders » (In Flanders Fields Museum)


© IWM Gujarati text [Have you bought war bonds or not?]. Art.IWM PST 12562. (go to image)

Far right

Propaganda postcard promoting Dutch neutrality by the Dutch painter Theo Molkenboer. The postcard depicts a Dutch man and woman wearing traditional Dutch costumes, sitting on a pile of typical Dutch goods as sugar, tobacco, cheese, coffee and tea, partly coming from the Dutch colonies. By showing the Dutch ships in the back, Molkenboer refers to the economic blockades from Great-Britain and the pressure from Germany, hoping to force the Dutch to allow the trade of goods, despite their neutrality. The Dutch man and woman shout to Germany and Great-Britain: ‘Hadt je me maar!’ (translated in English: ‘If you had me!’. The postcard is published by Scheltens & Giltay in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, date unknown.


Third Slide


© IWM. A Maori lumber worker talking to a Frenchwoman. Forest de Nieppe, March 1917. Q 4740. (go to image)


Mosque in the `Halfmoon` Camp in Wünsdorf (near Berlin). Copyright: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Museum Europäischer Kulturen, Collection Otto Stiehl, VIII EU 27547 b.


© IWM. An Indian soldier exchanging coins with a man of the Greek Labour Corps at Salonika. Q 13716. (go to image)


Fourth Slide


“It’s not easy to stay neutral”: found in in two locations:

(1) Go to image location. Description reads: Cartoon on Dutch neutrality during World War One. A Dutch sailor is approached by a number of pretty ladies (the belligerent countries). Date unknown. Photo HH/Spaarnestad Photo.

(2), a catalogue from Legermuseum Delft, 2004, accompanying the exhibition “Verre van vredig”. The picture appears on page 18, as a reprint from a book by R.L. Schuursma (ed), 14-18: de Eerste Wereldoorlog. Amsterdam 1975/1976, p. 750. Legermuseum relocated and renamed.


J.Simont, ‘It’s good’: Keletike Taraoré, who gave his blood for France, receives his present. From L’Illustration, 9 January, 1915.


Fifth Slide


Cover Image of Abhi Le Baghdad (On to Baghdad) By Sisir Prasad Sarbadhikari (Calcutta: 1957), the only Indian memoir known so far about captivity in Turkey.

Left middle

Cover Image of Frederik Van Eeden’s (Dutch) translation of One Hundred Poems by Kabir (London: Macmillan, 1915), translated by Rabindranath Tagore with the assistance of Evelyn Underhill

Middle right

Front cover of Albert Verwey’s Gedichte 


Leo Frobenius : Der Völker-Zirkus unserer Feinde (Berlin: Eckart Verlag, s.d.). Frobenius (1873-1938) was a famous German anthropoligist who was and is still admired in Africa. However, during the First World War he published this pamphlet with the telling title: “The peoples’ circus of our enemies”, in which he mocked the deployment of colonial troops, describing non-European troops as performing animals in a circus (In Flanders Fields Museum)