The Last Man
Once in a while it pays to prowl Wisconsin’s north woods antique shops. Many years ago I found this WWI pro-German propaganda post card which is a reproduction of Hans Bohrdt’s famous painting titled Der Letzte Mann (The Last Man) circa 1916. The card is post marked Jan., 11, 1916 slightly more than one year before the United States entered WWI against Germany and was sent to a Chicago address.
Recently I have found a brass version of that postcard. It is the same size as the post card, slightly curved and suspended from a chain with the following inscription starting at the top left, “DEUT. MARINEBUND v. N.A., OG. CHICAGO, ILL.” which translates German Navy Association of North America, City chapter Chicago, Illinois.
On the bottom is the title “Der Letzte Mann” and the ship name “SMS LEIPZIG”. The Leipzig was a light cruiser that joined Graf Spee’s East Asia Squadron by Easter Island in October 1914 in an attempt to get back to Germany. Leipzig was then sunk by the British Cruisers Cornwall and Glasgow off the Falkland Islands with the loss of 315 men (all hands?)
Below that is “Z. AND AN DIE SEESCHLACHTEN v. FALKLANDSINSELN & CORONEL 1914” translates as, To and on the sea battles of the Falkland and Coronel Islands. At the Coronel Islands the German squadron sank two smaller British ships in a surprise encounter. At the following battle at the Falkland Islands a superior British force was ready and sank all the German ships but the SMS Dresden.