Satirical map, 55.5 x 76 cm, printed in colours, folding into card covers; only the printed upper cover survives (the lower cover appears to be a replacement and both have been laid down).
Our map exemplifies the carefree approach with which Europe embarked on the Great War. The title is from a nursery rhyme and the anonymous artist presents the war as a scrap between dogs. The artist may have been an employee of the printer Johnson, Riddle & Co., who are credited with the design in the lower border of the map. This dog fight is not to be taken too seriously. Walter Emanuel, who supplied the text, was a contributor to ‘Punch’ and also known for a series of humorous anthropomorphic dog books illustrated by Cecil Aldin. ‘Accidents will happen in the best regulated families’ is his summary of events.
The symbolism on the map would have been instantly recognisable for contemporary readers. A British bulldog bites the nose of a German dachshund (given a Kaiser Bill moustache) while a French poodle barks defiance, and – depicting Austro-Hungary’s volatile ethnic fault line – an Austro-Hungarian mongrel yelps as his tail is run over by the Russian steamroller (a reference to the supposedly overwhelming manpower of the Russian Empire).
The Turk is one of the few human figures on the map. The Ottoman crescent is raised over Constantinople but the Imperial German tricolour flies from the battery protecting the Dardanelles and the battleships in the Black Sea. The artist acknowledges German military support for their Turkish ally, but the Turk is pulling the strings tied to the battleships (probably the Goeben and Breslau, transferred to the Ottoman Navy in the first days of the war) and he controls the water gate which closes the Dardanelles to the British ships milling nearby. A foolish German lapdog of indeterminate breed, wearing a token fez, is tied to the Turk’s waist.
The motif of battleships on strings is repeated by the British sailor looming over the other side of the map. We are invited to see them as iron dogs of war, straining to be unleashed, but it also gives them an unreal, toylike quality. The be-whiskered Jack Tar or John Bull has a Churchillian look, and at the time Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty. However, the features are those of an older man, the Churchill of 1940, not 1914. If a recognisable British naval figure was intended it may have been Admiral ‘Jackie’ Fisher: he was suitably stocky and was recalled from retirement on the outbreak of war to resume duties as First Sea Lord. He had been a tireless innovator and and the Royal Navy of 1914 was very much Fisher’s creation.