Appeal to Polish mothers
This Polish poster has a motif that had already been used by the Danish side in the 1910 plebiscite in Schleswig, but the interesting thing is that it has been changed. The Danish poster shows a boy, but in this case it is a girl, and she has been given a necklace bearing the inscription IHS. This is a monogram of the name of Jesus in Greek, sometimes interpreted in Latin as ‘Jesus Hominum Salvator’ (Jesus, saviour of mankind), and very commonly used in the Catholic Church. In her right hand, the girl is holding a matchbox as a toy and in her left hand she holds the Polish national flag with the state eagle, a symbol of the newly-formed Polish state. The text’s moving appeal, ‘Mother, think of me, vote for Poland’, is addressed to the woman as a mother: she must not frivolously fritter away her children’s future by voting for Germany.
Polish plebiscite poster. Poznań 1920. Based on a design by Thor Bøgelund. No. of copies unknown. 100 x 68 cm.
Do not be ensnared
A skeleton in folk costume, wearing a hatband in the Hungarian red-green-white national colours sways gently over the town of Ödenburg/Sopron, playing the violin – a symbol of Hungarian folk culture. The text at the bottom of the poster in Gothic script sends its warning: ‘Trust not in the flattering songs! Vote German!’.
Death playing the violin is thus linked to the Hungarian attempt to tempt the population in this little plebiscite area to vote for Hungary, even though this country, too, was one of the losers of the war and would therefore, like Austria, be forced to contribute to war damages.
Just as in Upper Silesia, the population here is being warned that things will go badly for them if Austria should lose the plebiscite. However, this is what actually happened: there was a majority for Hungary.
Austrian plebiscite poster, Vienna 1921. Based on a design by Ernst Kutzer (1895-1965). Printed at the behest of the Ödenburger Heimatdienst. 92 x 61 cm.