'Mais Monsieur!' medallion

Accession Number RELAWM13841
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Medallion
Physical description Bronze
Location Main Bld: First World War Gallery: Sinai Palestine 1918: Final Battles
Maker Goetz, Karl
Place made Germany
Date made 1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Satirical medallion designed by German artist Karl Goetz to comment on the self-imposed exile of Emperor Wilhem II to Amerrongen in Holland in 1918, after his forced abdication in the face of the mutiny of the German Imperial Navy and the uprisings throughout Germany following Germany’s defeat in the First World War. Obverse shows Frederick the Great holding the abdicating Kaiser Wilhelm II by the ear, a helmet falling from his head on the left. A windmill is in the background and in raised lettering around the top of the medallion is 'MAIS MONSIEUR!' or 'But Sir!'. The artist's initials 'K.G' are in raised detail beneath Frederick the Great's feet. Reverse shows Kaiser Wilhelm II's empty uniform as a scarecrow in a field with a sign around the neck which has in raised lettering 'WILHELM / DER DESERTEUR' or 'Wilhelm the Deserter'. In raised lettering around the top of the medallion is '9. NOVEMBER 1918'. A gallows in raised detail is on the right of the scarecrow. At the bottom of the scarecrow are two dogs, one of which is urinating on the uniform.

History / Summary

This medallion is representative of the ill-feeling engended in Germany by Emperor Wilhelm II's flight to Holland in 1918. Once Chancellor Prince Max of Baden announced Wilhelm's abdication of both imperial and Prussian kingships titles on 9 November 1918, and Germany was pronounced a republic, there was little Wilhelm could do; he entered Holland from Belgium the following day, but didn’t issue his personal abdication until 28 November. This proclamation was sent from Amerrongen, where he was then staying.

In the obverse design, Wilhelm’s grandfather, Frederick the Great, is chastising him for losing his honour by deserting to Holland, represented by the windmills (which also refer to the windmill of Sansouci, at the castle of Frederick the Great in Potsdam). On the reverse, Wilhelm is specifically described as a ‘deserteur’, his abandoned military uniform a mere scarecrow only fit for dogs to urinate on.

Related information