"HE-IA, HEIA SAFARI!"
Faithful reproduction of a wartime Imperial German propaganda print, scanned directly from a mint condition original that commemorated Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck's legendary Askaris.
General Von Lettow-Vorbeck campaigned for the entirety of the First World War in German East Africa with a meagre force of 14,000 troops, comprised predominantly of African Askaris. He molded his African "Schutztruppe" colonial troops into a legendary guerilla unit that held out against a massive 300,000 British, Indian, Belgian and Portuguese combined force. They would have to fight a war as nomads with limited ammunition, rations and other critical equipment. By the war's end in 1918, the unit had been almost decimated with only 155 Germans,1168 African Askaris and 3,500 Porters remained. However, they would make the Entente powers pay the price of over 40,000 dead, missing or captured.
Despite the protests of his African Askari, Von Lettow-Vorbeck surrendered to British forces on 14 November 1918, 3 days after Armistice. The "Lion of Africa" as he came to be known marched his surviving men in their tattered uniforms through the Brandenburg Gate in 1919 as the only German unit to have successfully invaded the British Empire.
Lettow-Vorbeck and his Askaris would take part again in the German Revolution, assisting the Weimar Republic in crushing communist insurrectionists. A lifelong monarchist, he was deeply distrustful of the Nazi Party and is reputed to have told Hitler to "f*ck off" when offered a cushy government position in 1935. It is said that his actual words were actually far more offensive. He remained under Nazi surveillance for the remainder of the war, but no action was ever taken against him due to his public popularity.
Lettow-Vorbeck saw his beloved Askaris one last time in 1953 during a visit to Tanganyika, men who greeted him with the legendary marching song "Heia Safari!" and greeting the old legend as "father". By now, he was a destitute, having lost his home and all his sons in the war. However among his brother Askaris, he sprang to life as he greeted old comrades. When Paul Von Lettow-Vorbeck died in 1964 aged 93, at the expense of the Bundeswehr, two veteran African Askaris were flown in paid to last respects.
The name Lettow-Vorbeck and his legendary black Askaris will live on forever, with a reputation unmatched as guerillas on the African continent. Pay tribute to this legendary unit, with an excellent high quality poster based off a wartime propaganda print!
Measures 11 inches x 17 inches, printed as a full bleed colour on extra thick 1.5mm glossy stock. Please note, the Fireforce Ventures watermark is only on the preview image, and not on the poster you will receive.
All prices are in Canadian Dollars (CAD). We ship internationally!