In 1904, France and Great Britain drew the line under the long-term colonial rivalry between the two great powers by signing a series of documents on the establishment of spheres of influence in Africa and Asia. The importance of these treaties can be evaluated by the name of the agreement, known as the «Cordial Agreement» (fr. L'Entente Cordiale). It was this agreement that became one of the cornerstones of the future Entente.
After the outbreak of the First World War, events on its Western Front did not develop in the best way for the British and French allies for a long time — the initiative belonged to the Germans, who had to be constantly stopped. An attempt to take the offensive in the spring of 1915 was unsuccessful for the Entente, and the German propaganda tried to use this fact to their advantage.
The alliance between Great Britain and France has been the subject of jokes and mockery since the signing of the agreement by both enemies and future jealous friends. It was not difficult, since the symbols of the countries — a fat man in a red waistcoat and jockey boots John Bull and a light-o'-love beauty in frivolous skirts Marianne — caused a lot of visual associations.
The German artist Eugen von Baumgarten (1865–1919) was not a professional propagandist, but his 1915 caricature of Cordial Agreement became one of the author's most famous works. It has been replicated in many posters and postcards.
This time, the allies were shown in a different way. Under the calm gaze of an eagle wearing the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the spider of the British Empire is crawling across the English Channel, devouring its French ally, well recognized by its blue uniform and red poilu trousers. The monster's web is stretched between the overseas props — the colonies of the Empire and its unofficial ally, the United States. The cobweb covers Gibraltar, Malta and Egypt, but near the Black Sea straits the spider's leg was nailed to the ground by the Turks. The ambitions of 1915, shown in the form of a post with a sign, are broken, and German submarines are successfully cutting British snares in the seas. The flags of Norway and the Netherlands on the spider's legs symbolize the pro-British neutrality of these states.
Unfortunately for the Germans, relations between the French and the British were not so bad. Despite all the ineradicable contradictions between the two old allies-opponents, Germany could only indulge in wishful thinking.