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Postcard of the Painting The Last Man by Hans Bohrdt (1915)

On December 8, 1914, the German East Asia squadron and British naval forces battled in South American waters near the Falkland Islands. After five hours, the defeat of the German side was complete. Four vessels sank, and 1,985 members of the 2,200-man crew and officer corps were killed. With this victory, Great Britain proved her superiority on the high seas.

Hans Bohrdt (1857-1945) was one of the best-known German military artists of his time. The Last Man, possibly his most famous painting, is believed to have been lost and exists only as a reprint. Featuring a flag-waving German sailor, presumably on the brink of drowning, The Last Man was one of the most widely recognized propaganda images produced during the war. According to legend, the sailor belonged to the crew of the Nürnberg, whose members preferred to go down with their ship, flags in hand, rather than surrender to British forces.

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Postcard of the Painting <I>The Last Man</i> by Hans Bohrdt (1915)

© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz