In English the text on the above handkerchief reads, "Souvenir of the Great War." Unlike battlefield objects, this handkerchief was produced by the victors with the intention of promoting certain aspects of the war. Some of the Allies' most influential people and weapons are featured in its lithographed images.
At the top of the handkerchief are portraits of five Allied political figures whose influence was felt throughout the war. Their longevity was somewhat unusual in that, by war's end in 1918, many of the initial monarchs and ministers no longer held office. In the center is Raymond Poincare, President of France from 1913 to 1920. Flanking Poincare's right is the George V, King of Great Britain from 1910 to1936. George was the grandson of Queen Victoria, and cousin to both Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, both of whom had abdicated by the end of the war. To Poincare's left is Albert I, King of Belgium from 1909 to 1934. Below Albert is Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States from 1913 to 1921. To the right of Wilson is Victor Emmanuel III, who was King of Italy from 1900 to 1946. The length of the latter's reign allowed him to be a part of both world wars.
Featured in smaller portraits at the bottom of the handkerchief are the two Allied commanders of the French and British armies. On the left is Joseph Joffre, appointed Chief of Staff of the French Army in 1911. He often is credited for having saved France during Germany's early march toward Paris in 1914. After failing to break through the trenches of the Western Front, though, Joffre was removed from his post and promoted to the ceremonial position as Marshal of France in 1916. Pictured on the right is John French, who also was appointed to the Chief of Staff but of the British Army in 1911, and commanded the British Expeditionary Force on the continent against Germany's initial advance. French resigned from this post in 1915, only one year into the Great War.
Flanking the seven portraits are images of a French Farman bomber and a French 75 mm artillery cannon, two objects of military technology that greatly influenced the outcome of the first world war. Though the airplane had been invented only in 1903, by the end of World War I it had become a critical tool of battlefield observation. Artillery had been in use for decades, but during the first world war the volume of artillery fire reached unprecedented levels in an effort to break the stagnant Western Front. The plane and cannon pictured on the handkerchief were of French design but were utilized and manufactured by all the Allied countries.
Title: Gloire Aux Américains: Souvenir de France
Political Party: Federalist
Date Made: ca. 1915-1920
Measurement: 11 x 11 1/2 in.; 27.94 x 29.21 cm
(Below) WW1 Embroidered silk handkerchief: Notts & Derby or Sherwood Foresters Regiment showing the Maltese cross badge of the The Sherwood Foresters Regiment