Kaiser Wilhelm II was the subject of many cartoons in Britain during the Great War (along with his son, dubbed “Little Willy”). One cartoon showed him as an overlord in Westminster with the title ‘The Kaiser’s Dream of Peace’.
The cartoon was originally published in the New York Herald and was reprinted in the Daily Express in March 1915. It shows the Kaiser with a death’s-head helmet and enormous sword, lounging on the Palace of Westminster.
Notable features include:
- Big Ben (or rather the Clock Tower) renamed as ‘Big Bill’.
- The ‘House of Parliament’, rather than plural Houses (although this may be an error).
- An armoured, spiky Zeppelin overhead.
- The figures of the King, Lloyd George, Sir Edward Grey and (I think) prime minister H.H. Asquith, prostrate on the floor in front of the conquering emperor.
Not a realistic image at all – the Kaiser was nowhere near that large, for a start! – but a reminder of the perceived threat of invasion and the image that Britons, and many Americans, had of the Germans and a ‘German peace’ in the First World War.