Freedom of the Seas
- Freedom of the Seas
- Full Title:
- Freiheit der Meere [Freedom of the Seas]
- Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
- Date posted:
- ID Number:
World War I
- 38 x 48
- Collector's Notes:
- This German poster depicts Britain as an octopus threatening the "Freiheit der Meere," Freedom of the Seas. Its numerous tentacles reach out to some 27 places allegedly colonized or attacked by the Empire, from "Bermudas" in 1609 to "Archangelsk" and "Kronstadt" in 1917. In January 1918, President Wilson presented the famous "Fourteen Points," a statement of the U.S. views on principles essential for ending World War I and establishing enduring peace. The first Point was the well-known "Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at . . . ." The second Point reflected Germany's U-boat attacks on American shipping, one of the principal reasons for U.S. entry into the war: "Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war . . . ." The octopus here attacks Britain's own respect for Freedom of the Seas, part of the German effort to gain leverage in the eventual peace negotiations.
The octopus is a persistent trope in persuasive cartography. It first appeared in Frederick Rose's "Serio-Comic War Map For The Year 1877," ID #2272, about the Russo-Turkish War. "Once Fred W. Rose had created the 'Octopus' map of Europe, it proved difficult to rid propaganda maps of them." Barber 2010, 164. "The prevalence of the octopus motif in later maps suggests that the octopus also spoke to humanity's primeval fears, evoking a terrifying and mysterious creature from the depths (the dark outer places of the world) that convincingly conjured a sense of limitless evil." Baynton-Williams 2015, 180.
The collection includes numerous maps - from Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Latin America, the Netherlands and the U.S. - employing the octopus motif. (Search > “octopus”.) Many of these relate to imperialism and war, from 1877 to the Cold War. Others attack social and political targets, including a "reactionary" journalist, the Standard Oil monopoly, “Landlordism,” mail order houses, Jews and Mormons.
- For further information on the Collector’s Notes and a Feedback/Contact Link, see https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/about-collection-personal-statement and https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/feedback-and-contact
- For full details on references, see http://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/references.
- Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library
- Archival Collection:
- P.J. Mode collection of persuasive cartography
- For important information about copyright and use, see http://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/copyright.