Gott strafe England

This stereoview shows a group of German prisoners of war guarded by French soldiers on horses. They’re walking past a house with the text Gott strafe England! 1914/15. The photo was taken in the village of Bucy-le-Long in Northern France.

320 - Prisonniers - “Dieu punisse l’Angleterre"
45x107 glass stereoview by Brentano's
320 – Prisonniers – “Dieu punisse l’Angleterre”
45x107mm glass stereoview by Brentano’s

Gott strafe England (“May God punish England”) was a slogan used by the German army during the First World War. The slogan comes from the German poet Ernst Lissauer [1] who was also the writer of the poem Hassgesang gegen England (“Hate song against England”). The text on the facade dates from the time that Bucy-le-Long was occupied by German troops and reflects the nationalistic sentiments at the beginning of the war.

Gott strafe England

Great Britain had promised to support the Belgians if their neutrality was violated. On August 4, 1914, the German armies crossed Belgium territory to launch their attack on France. The same day Great Britain declared war on Germany. The involvement of the British would ultimately hit the Germans hard. The mighty British Royal Navy blocked the sea routes to Germany, causing food and raw material shortages during the war. The German navy tried to break through the blockade during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. It was one of the greatest naval battles in history. Although the Germans managed to sink more British ships, the British naval blockade remained intact and was one of the reasons Germany had to surrender in 1918.

The text on the facade inspired more photographers. The image of the same house is also shown in the book The First World War in Colour [2]. The autochrome is made in 1917 by the French war photographer Fernand Cuville of the Section Photographique de l’Armée.


  1. Wikipedia, Ernst Lissauer
  2. The First World War in Colour, Peter Walther, Taschen 2014
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