A Different Perspective on World War I

Sometime in the early 1940s a pair of scrapbooks were anonymously donated to the Maine State Library. They contained postcards published in Germany during World War I or as it was known then the European War, 1914-1918. There are close to 500 individual postcards in the collection: some are reproductions of photo-graphs: others water colored or pen and ink drawings of battles scenes.

In 2017, in preparation for the Centennial of the entry of the United States into the War the library recruited a volunteer, Heide Munro, to help with the collection. Munro, a native German speaker translated the text from a selection of the postcards. Those examples were digitized and made available.

The postcards give a view of the European Conflict, as it was originally called, from the perspective of the Germans. The images and descriptions speak to the inevitability of the German victory. Its superiority over France, Britain and Russia. Its confidence that God supports them.The images on the postcards are in a variety of formats including watercolor renderings of battle scenes, photographs, maps, and portraits. Most of the items in the collection were never mailed. The few that were sent were postmarked as being from the front. Other examples in the collection show soldiers in Africa and the middle east supporting the German cause.


The entire collection is housed at the Maine State library and can be viewed by appointment with the reference desk reference.desk@maine.gov


On a technical note, it is important to show both sides of postcards in a digital file. To display both in the same file we used photoshop to build a single item by layering the front and back together. If you would like to know the exact steps to achieve this contact me or leave a message in the comments.


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