Peace on the Enemy's Terms


This World War I poster from France shows Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany pointing a dagger at a woman (representing Romania), while he shows her the Traité de Paix (peace treaty) and simultaneously steps on a man (representing Russia). In late 1917, after the Russian army had all but collapsed and the communists had taken power, the new Russian government signed an armistice favorable to Germany. Defeated and isolated on the eastern front, Russia’s erstwhile ally Romania had no choice but to conclude a similar armistice with the Germans. The text on the poster describes the German imposition of a peace of “annexations and indemnities” that left Russia humiliated and ruined, with great loss of territory, and forced Romania to become a vassal of Germany to avoid partition by Germany’s allies, Bulgaria and Austria-Hungary. The message to the war-weary population of France is unmistakable: they must fight on to victory to avoid a fate similar to that suffered by Romania and Russia. This poster is by Victor Emile Prouvé (1858–1943), a French painter, sculptor, and engraver who was active in the art nouveau movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Berger-Levrault, Paris


Title in Original Language

La paix de l'ennemi

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print (poster) : lithograph (green ink) ; 64 x 50 centimeters



  1. Jeanne Giacomotti, “Prouvé, Victor (1858-1943),” Encyclopædia Universalis,

Last updated: November 14, 2017