This ˝ liter pottery stein is a fascinating piece of WWI history. The raised design with
dark blue background depicts armed sailors standing amid floating mines, artillery projectiles,
an anchor and other accoutrements. In the background sits a submarine or Unterseeboote.
Under the stein's handle we see a large gun turret with two cannons. Two flags flying in
the wind complete the scene. Across the top front
of the stein reads, “Lieb Vaterland magst ruhig sein” (Dear fatherland, put your mind at rest).
This is a line from a German patriotic anthem "Die Wacht am Rhein." This song has its
origins in the historical conflicts with France and was particularly popular in Germany during the
First World War.
There are life rings surrounding 1914 Iron Crosses on either side
of the stein. The left ring is inscribed “Gott war mit uns” while the
one on the right is inscribed “Ihm sei die Ehre”. Read together, they
translate as "God was all around us, to Him be the glory". The stein’s lid also displays an
Iron Cross surrounded by a floral theme. The three crosses seem to be copied from the German War Medal of
the Franco Prussian War of 1870. The medal shown below, has the same cross, same
quotation, and also shows
the Imperial crown and Kaiser Wilhelm's initial.
This stein was purchased on eBay a number of years ago. No maker’s identification can be found on the stein, but a mold number
2402 is clearly displayed under the stein’s handle. Although the stein looked
authentic, I sought the help of Master Steinologist
Art Maethner to confirm the authenticity of this unusual stein. Art confirmed that the stein was
indeed a post-WWI stein honoring those brave souls who served in the Imperial German
submarine service during the war. Not many of these undersea sailors survived those early
days of undersea warfare.
At the start of World War I, Germany had twenty-nine U-boats in service. When
became effective on 11 November 1918 all surviving German submarines were surrendered.
Of the 360 submarines built, 178 were lost, but not before sinking more
than 11 million tons of allied shipping. From this it is clearly seen that
in those early days of submarine warfare, it took brave souls to serve both on
and under the sea. This is why this simple pottery stein is so fascinating;
it is truly a piece of history!