Kamerade!


The Poulbot drawing of the week is obviously linked to the one published one week ago. My friend Mike Brubaker suggested in a comment that the use of this word may come from the Socialist and Labor Union movements that were a powerful political element in all countries before the war. Since propaganda always made the enemy out to be vengeful for alleged atrocities, working class soldiers would surely plead for solidarity with their captors.

In any case, the French soldier complains that he’s being disturbed!

poulbot0021

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One thought on “Kamerade!

  1. This is a fun cartoon. I looked up the German word Kamerade or camarade in French and it does have its roots as an egalitarian term from the French revolution to replace the traditional terms of address which denote class, i.e. My Lord, Mein Herr, Monsieur. Later it was adopted by the early socialist movements.

    But the word was also used in German culture as a term for a close companion or friend in schools and the military. There is a famous German song from 1825, “Der gute Kamerad” or “Ich hatt’ einen Kameraden” which became popular with soldiers for its sentiment about the fallen comrade who takes the bullet. It is still sung as a memorial song on the German version of Remembrance Day.

    Perhaps the word was used during the war as a phrase synonymous with “I surrender” because it was considered a universal term for “friend” not “foe. Nonetheless, words used in the Pan-European labor and socialist movements of the 1900s would also be universally understood between working class men across borders. Are there German cartoons from WW1 which have the words used by French and British soldiers when captured.?

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