The Public Paperfolding History Project

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Last updated 1/4/2024


The Fifth Pig and similar propaganda fold-ins
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of the Fold-In usually known as The Fifth Pig but which has also occurred in other forms. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.



See entry for 1939 below which mentions a version featuring Napoleon of this date. Unfortunately, at present, such a print has not been located.


1870 / 71

See entry for 1917 which mentions a version of this date featuring 'Guillaume and Bismarck'.

The catalogue of the BNF records a print 'Ou est Bismarck?' here, described as 'The unfolded sheet depicts four pigs, which once the sheet is folded turn into a portrait of Chancellor Bismarck', but the print itself is not available to view online.



This example of a fold-in creating a fifth image is not printed on paper but on a 650 x 550 mm cotton handkerchief. It shows images of Prince Gortschakoff, a Russian hero of the Crimean war, Gyula Andrassy, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, Saffet Pasha, the Turkish Foreign Minister and Otto Von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, and, when correctly folded, reveals a picture of Benjamin Disraeli, then the British Prime Minister. It is clearly dated 1878. (Information from



The February 1917 issue of 'Le Musee et L'Encyclopedie de la Guerre', available online here, contains a description of fifth pig prints dating to 1870/71 and featuring Bismarck and Guillaume II. (Information from Michel Grand.) Roughly translated it says:

'The papers that are folded to form a figure.

These kinds of images are not new, as we know, since already under the first Restoration, Louis XVIII folded up gave a Napoleon, but it is only a question here of images of war and not a retrospective study.

The most widespread of these popular sheets, picking up the idea already popularised in 1870 and 1871, when Guillaume and Bismarck were transformed in this way, is the image of four pigs, which today invariably produces the figure of William II.

Of this widespread image, especially during the first months of the war, we know three different versions ... but the difference is only in the caption and the format.

Are there any other versions?'


c1914 / 18

In this essentially similar Dutch propaganda fold-in, dating from around the time of the first world war, a picture of four pigs folds in to reveal a fifth, who, in this case, is Kaiser William 2, Emperor of Germany, who can be identified from the shape of his mustache.. (Information from Juan Gimeno)


In his article 'The Vilification of Enemy Leadership in WWII' (available at Herbert A. Friedman states 'For many years prior to WWII various venders made and sold puzzles to children. These puzzles had a number of different pictures on the front, and when folded in a special complex way depicted a hidden picture of an old man, or sometimes a political leader, sports figure or movie star.' I have been unable to verify this statement from other sources.



Friedman (see above) also states that the British SOE (Special Operations Executive) printed and distributed a number, at least four, versions of the Adolph Hitler Fifth Pig design. 'It is believed that besides being used in Allied countries as a morale booster, they were also shipped to partisans in Nazi-occupied nations to attack and belittle the German Fuhrer.'

The illustration below is included in Friedman's article. Unfortunately he does not give an origin or date for this advertisement.


However, in Wladyslaw Szpilman’s memoir 'The Pianist', translated by Andrea Bell and published by Victor Gollancz Ltd in 1999 the following passage appears: (Information from Daphne Parkin)

The description of how the design works is slightly incorrect but the reference to the nature of the design is clear enough. This passage appears in the second chapter, 'War' and is dated to the early days of September 1939. According to the introduction by Wladyslaw's son Andrezj, the memoir was originally written in 1945. It was first published in Polish as 'Smierc miasta' (The Death of a City) by Wiedza in Warsaw in 1946.


In a similar vein, the Oct 16th 1939 issue of Life magazine published a letter from a Londoner which included 'The Biggest Swine of All', which the writer says are 'selling like hot cakes here in London at a penny each'. Information from Michel Grand.


The 6th November issue of Life Magazine printed a letter responding to this article which read:

It is, of course, by no means impossible that the writer is correct and that there was a version of this design featuring Napoleon printed in 1807. Unfortunately, at present, such a print has not been located. Information from Michel Grand.


Friedmann also illustrates a second Fifth Pig propaganda sheet, bearing words in Greek script, in which the pigs fold up into a picture of Mussolini.



'Jackals and Pigs: British Government Propaganda in WW2 Iraq' by Louis Allday, available at ( focuses on the use of similar fold-ins in Iraq in 1940/1. He states that 'A Foreign Office file from 1941 (FO 371/27101) held at the UK National Archives in Kew reveals a fascinating and surprising example of the type of propaganda material that the British Embassy disseminated during this period. The file contains two original copies of hand-outs that were distributed by the Embassy that initially appear to simply be two cartoons, one depicting four jackals and the other four pigs. However, once folded in a certain way, the animals come together to form caricature-like images of the faces of the Italian and German fascist leaders, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler'

The fold-in of Hitler is the familiar Fifth Pig design, that of Mussolini a variant where the final face is composed of parts of jackals rather than pigs.



According to the website of the Imperial War Museum ( a redrawn Fifth Pig fold-in was in circulation in February 1991 during the first Gulf War. In this case the subject was Saddam Hussein. I obtained one of these at the time, though I cannot now recall how I came by it. The writing is in Dutch and the Netherlands appears to have been the source of this version.