Don't Be Fooled, Stay with Germany!


This poster, published in Berlin in 1919, shows a Polish man sitting on a Polish border gate and gesturing to a couple to go to Poland. Behind him are clouds forming an image of a man with plenty to eat. The couple on the German side of the border walks by; the arm of the German man is raised as if to shield the couple from the image, and the text warns, “Don't be fooled, stay with Germany!” Following the defeat of Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I, the victorious Allies re-established an independent Polish state. Disputes arose between Germany and Poland about the demarcation of borders and the ownership of regions populated by both Poles and Germans. To resolve these disputes, the Allies mandated several popular referenda in which voters were asked to decide whether they wanted to be part of Germany or of Poland. Many ethnic Germans also relocated from previously German territories that had been transferred to Poland. This poster was part of the official campaign to convince ethnic Germans to “stay with Germany.” Food was scarce in Germany immediately after the war, and this poster shows that authorities in Berlin feared that the promise of ample supplies of sausages and other foods in Poland might affect the loyalties of some ethnic Germans.

Last updated: February 10, 2014