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Poster - As Wilhelm Busch would say

As Wilhelm Busch would say

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Austria (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1942 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Schafler (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph, printed in black and white with some red

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of the American Friends of the V&A; Gift to the American Friends by Leslie, Judith and Gabri Schreyer and Alice Schreyer Batko

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This mocking image of Winston Churchill would have been immediately understood by all German-speaking people who saw it. Wilhelm Busch is a much-loved author of children's books and his verses are known to every German-speaking child. Busch's most famous story is that of Max and Moritz, two naughty boys who play tricks on others. Ultimately, the pair have to pay for their misdeeds by being ground into flour. Their actions brought about their own downfall. Likewise, this image shows a self-sabotaging child-like Churchill whose fleet of ships is sinking and who will soon fall from his tree-top perch.

This poster was issued at a time when the German-led Axis forces were winning the war. Following the series of successful battles, the Germans are sending the message that Britain's bad luck will continue, ultimately leading to the destruction of the British Empire.

Physical description

Cartoon caricature of Winston Churchill dressed as a schoolboy sitting on a tree branch. With one hand, the boy saws the branch on which he is seated. He wears a "medal" bearing the Jewish Star of David. An acorn falls on his head from a branch above. Below are the British Isles where the British fleet is depicted as sinking toy sailing ships.

Place of Origin

Austria (made)


ca. 1942 (made)


Schafler (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph, printed in black and white with some red

Marks and inscriptions

'Frei nach Wilhelm Busch:/'Hinkebein der Unglücksrabe'/Unglück kommt allein sehr selten, und es vergehen große Welten./NSDAP, Gauleitung Wien Propagandamt
As Wilhelm Busch says [or writes]:/'Gammy leg, the unlucky one'/'Bad luck seldom comes alone, and so, great worlds will vanish'/NSDAP, Gauleitung Vienna Office for Propaganda


Height: 36.9 cm, Width: 16.8 cm

Descriptive line

"Frei Nach Wilhelm Busch" (NSDAP, Gauleitung Wien Propagandamt). Anti-English World War II propaganda poster by Schafler. Austria, ca. 1942.


Paper; Ink



Subjects depicted

War; Propaganda; Ship; Tree; Caricature; Star of David; Boy


Prints; Caricatures & Cartoons; Posters


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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