Fun and Military Games: The War in German Picturebooks, 1914-1915

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksContributions to collected editions/anthologiesResearchpeer-review


Leading up to the First World War, German children’s books, in line with the general militarisation of culture, were published in the service of patriotic education and to prepare children for the war. During the war years, enthusiasm for the conflict was encouraged by books which celebrated military action and justified ‘necessary’ sacrifices. This chapter examines how the special emotional appeal of picturebooks, which work with both word and images, and the way in which they lend themselves to travesty and caricature were exploited to make military matters and war exciting and entertaining. It looks at a variety of predominantly comic representations of children playacting soldiers and war in picturebooks and illustrated material with a war theme issued in Germany and Austria in 1914 and 1915, with a special focus on the double address. In these books, war is offered to child readers as an arena in which their desire to emulate adults, and especially their fantasies of omnipotence, can be satisfied; at the same time children playacting war in these picturebooks is clearly aimed to entertain and delight adult readers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChildren's Literature and Culture of the First World War
EditorsLissa Paul, Rosemary R. Johnston, Emma Short
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group (GB)
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-94783-2
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-315-66862-8
Publication statusPublished - 2016