World War I

British Images of Germany: Admiration, Antagonism & by Richard Scully (auth.)

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By Richard Scully (auth.)

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Additional info for British Images of Germany: Admiration, Antagonism & Ambivalence, 1860–1914

Example text

In the former instance, an insight into what precisely constituted a ‘German’ state for the Britons reading this atlas may be gained by referring to a short note in the key. 39 Viewing Map 19, the Johnston atlas reserves colouration exclusively for the areas under Prussian control, and yet what would be regarded as logical conventions are applied – as in the Danish map – rather flexibly. 42 Of particular interest to the historian must be the British atlases which appeared after 1871, the date at which ‘Germany’ ceased to be a mere geographical expression and began to connote something more concrete.

And just as other visual sources can further inform the historian as to the prevailing attitudes of Britons towards Germany and the Germans, it is possible also to read maps in this way. 2 The quotation at the head of this section exemplifies well the starting-point from which many Britons approached an understanding of their German cousins; although as we shall see, it presents a somewhat simplistic interpretation of the available cartographic evidence for dramatic, literary effect. The world maps and atlases produced throughout the late nineteenth century were popular items which brought a basic understanding of geography to the schoolrooms and private residences of the prosperous middle classes of Victorian and Edwardian Britain.

45 Such a reorganisation would most likely have dictated the scrapping of all the work done up to that time and the preparation – at great financial cost – of new plates for Germany and the central European states by W. & A. K. Johnston and many other atlas- and map-makers. As it transpired, with the demolition of the French armies and capture of Napoleon at Sedan in September, and the subsequent siege of Paris, such a change was not required. 48 However well this later colouration has been disguised as an afterthought is betrayed by the presence of the curiously outdated expression ‘NORTH GERMAN CONFEDERATION’ printed in heavily outlined block lettering across its northern segment.

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