Learning objective

To analyse a range of original sources from one culture for evidence of the extent to which it changed its view of another.

Learning outcomes

  1. To have analysed a range of German sources dating from the First World War about Sikh (and other Indian) soldiers.
  2. To have identified any changes of attitude evident in German sources about Sikh (and other Indian) soldiers during and after the First World War.

START by showing Resource K: Slide 1, which shows the posed photograph of an ordinary German soldier of the First World War.

EXPLAIN that this soldier may have volunteered to fight or may have been forced into the army through conscription.

ASK pairs to write down on a slip of paper a thought that he might be thinking, e.g. ‘I’m so proud to go to war’ and a thought that one of his parents might be thinking, e.g. ‘I hope our son lives to see peace’.

STAND a volunteer in the pose of the soldier at the front of the class with two volunteers standing close by playing his parents. Collect in the sentences from pairs and ask volunteers to read these out in turn. Invite suggestions for adjectives that might describe the soldier, e.g. ordinary.

NEXT display this image which depicts German and Austrian soldiers (Austria-Hungary was a German ally) scaring off stereotypical figures representing their Allied enemies.

Note: scroll down the page to the postcard ‘We Teach You To Run’.

INVITE suggestions from pairs about similarities and differences between the photograph and the poster.

LEAD a discussion about how and why they differ (the photograph is a private family image like thousands taken of individual soldiers of the First World War while the propaganda image depicts a victorious German soldier in the same uniform designed to raise German morale).

EXPLAIN that ordinary German soldiers fighting on the Western Front had never seen Indian soldiers before.

DISPLAY Resource K: Slide 2 and read this out carefully to the class. Ask pairs to discuss what German pictures of Indian soldiers might look like and take suggestions from the class.

THEN display Resource K: Slide 3, which shows the bloodthirsty depiction of a Sikh soldier from a German children's picture book of 1914 entitled ‘Our Enemies’.

GIVE OUT copies of the same picture from Resource L and display the list of terms from Resource K: Slide 4 (these are the same list of terms used for analysing British propaganda representations of Sikh and other Indian soldiers used in Lesson 2).

ASK pairs (within a set time) to annotate the copy of the image, highlighting details which appear to support particular terms and lead a discussion taking suggestions from pupils.

GIVE OUT the images of British propaganda depicting Sikh and other Indian soldiers from Resource H used in Lesson 2.

ASK pairs to identify any British images of Sikh soldiers that might depict them in a similar way and, if so, why they think this might be. (Some of the British images depict Indian and Sikh soldiers as fierce and intimidating so there is some overlap with German depictions. It was in the interests of British propaganda that German troops unfamiliar with Allied colonial forces should fear them.)

DISPLAY Resource K: Slide 5 and explain that it shows a German postcard from early on in the war with an image of a German soldier holding a captured Indian soldier. Explain that the phrase ‘Der Gefangene Inder’ translates as ‘The Captured Indian’.

GIVE OUT a copy of the same image from Resource M and ask pairs to discuss which terms from the list on Resource K: Slide 4 might best describe the depiction of the Indian.

DISPLAY Resource K: Slide 6, the same photograph of the Sikh corporal used in Lesson 2.

GIVE OUT post-it notes of one colour to pairs. Within a set time limit ask pupils to write statements which summarise how Germans viewed Sikh soldiers in 1914 from the evidence that they have seen so far. Encourage them to use adjectives they have already encountered in teaching.

SELECT pairs to come up and stick their post-it notes to the image of the Sikh soldier, reading out statements as they do so.

DOWNLOAD AND ENLARGE copies of these portraits showing Sikh prisoners of war painted by German artists during the war:

Note: these are images 1- 5 of the ‘Portraits’ gallery slideshow.

PLACE these portraits at child eye-level around the room and ask children to rotate slowly around the portraits in silence, placing post-it notes on the images including either questions about them, adjectives that might describe them or statements of what they might be thinking (do not reveal at this stage that the portraits were completed by German artists).

ASK pairs (after a set time) to discuss their impressions of each painting and take suggestions for suitable words to describe soldiers.

DISPLAY Resource K: Slide 7 and lead a discussion about which terms would best describe the paintings of Sikh soldiers (pupils might suggest additional adjectives).

THEN reveal that the paintings were painted by German artists of Sikh prisoners of war.

DISPLAY Resource K: Slide 8, which shows a German commandant speaking to Indian prisoners of war.

EXPLAIN that the Germans captured thousands of Allied non-white colonial soldiers from Africa and Asia and set up a special prison camp called the Half Moon Camp in the town of Wunsdorf in Germany.

EXPLAIN that around one hundred Sikhs were held prisoner in the camp and that German scientists interviewed them, recorded their voices, measured them, tested their strength and had their portraits drawn or painted.

GIVE OUT Resource N and ask pairs to read it carefully.

LEAD a discussion about how much the text (part of which was included in Resource K: Slide 2) supports the list of attitudes in Resource K: Slide 9 and whether another bullet point could be added.

Note: for a summary of the historic background as to how the Germans treated Sikh and other Indian prisoners of war, see Resource O.