"Times Are Hard Your Majesty - You Leave Us Nothing to Do"


This U.S. World War I propaganda poster shows a devil, accompanied by two smaller devils, telling Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany that he was leaving them with no work to do. On the left is shown the home of the devils, a cave with its opening covered with cobwebs, over which hangs a sign, “To Let.” Using a word from the Hebrew Bible identified with Hell, the cave is called the “Gehenna Apartments.” The Kaiser has a bloody sword extending from beneath his cape. Also shown is the Kaiser’s left arm, which was withered from a birth defect that he often tried to conceal by carrying white gloves to make the arm seem longer. The idea that the Kaiser was a figurative devil, a man who had caused the war and was responsible for alleged atrocities committed by the German military, played a big role in British, French, and later American propaganda aimed at stirring up popular enthusiasm for the war. The poster was part of a series produced by Barron Gift Collier (1873–1939), an American advertising entrepreneur who also played an important part in the development of the U.S. state of Florida in the 1920s and 1930s.

Last updated: October 16, 2012