GERMANY 1915, 58mm, bronze medal “The wooing of the Balkan Kings” medal by Karl Goetz; DER BITTGANG AM BALKAN around edge, date below, figures at center in caricature, from left to right – President Poincaré, kneeling facing left, his hands joined as if in prayer; British kilted soldier, kneeling facing left, wearing cap and puttees, his hands clasped in front of him in an imploring attitude; King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, standing facing, holding sword, point grounded; Tsar Nicholas II, half-kneeling facing left, his right arm raised and holding knout under left arm // CONSTANTIN GRIECHLAND, King Constantine of Greece, head, full face, centrally positioned between, on the left, FERDINAND RUMAENIEN, King Ferdinand of Romania, right profile and, on the right, FERDINAND BULGARIEN, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, left profile; the three heads, surrounded by oval panels bearing their names, are positioned in the upper half of the design and behind an ornate grill-like structure from which hangs, from left to right, a dolphin, attached by its tail, bearing the word GROSS around its middle and vomiting coins, an apple, embossed “J”, a heart, embossed “RF” and, at extreme right, a clenched fist, embossed RUSS; in exergue: HILFE! BALKAN! / STREIT FÜR UNS! embossed in Gothic characters, EF. This complex pre-October 1915 piece by Goetz derides the Allied Powers’ (Britain, Russia, France and Italy) clumsy attempts to suborn the Balkan nations in support of their war effort against Germany in 1915. The obverse text is translated as ‘Supplication to the Balkans’. G.F.Hill (Keeper of Coins and Medals at the British Museum during the First World War) described the items hanging from the grill on the reverse design as ’emblems of the four Powers of the Alliance: an apple for Italy…heart for the French Republic, dolphin …for England and clenched fist for Russia’. Bulgaria in fact declared war against Serbia on 14 October 1915, becoming in effect a German ally. On 8 November 1915 Greece declared herself a ‘Benevolent neutral’, with parties in the country split between support for the Allies and the Central Powers. Romania, after much delay, decided to join the Allies by declaring war against Austria-Hungary on 27 August 1916.
Condition : UNC (red brown naturally toned!)