Saturday, August 27, 2016

August, 1916: Putting a Smile in the War

Sashayback Saturday returns yet once more to the cartoon pages of World War I a century ago this month. Having no particular urge this week to devote a great deal of time to my usual research, I was delighted to discover that the August 28, 1916 issue of The Independent magazine included a whole page of European cartoons under this banner:

So here are all six of them with a minimum of explanation. Embiggen at will. This one is from an uncredited cartoonist in neutral Netherlands, characterizing the war as a sort of dance of nations:
"The European Quadrille" by an unnamed cartoonist in Die Amsterdamer, Amsterdam, August, 1916
Calling the dance in the cartoon is Marshal Joseph Jacques C├ęsaire "Papa" Joffre, Commander-in-Chief of French forces on the western front.

I'd characterize the remaining cartoons as less editorial and more topical.
Mauryce Motet in Le Pele-Mele, Paris, August, 1916
Nowadays, we call the wall "distressed," and consider it quaint and picturesque.

"Prepared" by A.E. Horne in Today, London, August, 1916
If you were closer to the front lines, you might not think chemical warfare was quite so funny. Better to poke fun at the food shortages reputed to be rife on the other side of the trenches:
"The Obliging Mirror" by E. Brod in Le Pele-Mele, Paris, August, 1916
German food shortages likewise surely seemed the safe topic for this Polish/Russian cartoonist -- although, as I've noted before, Russian cartoons just ain't funny.
"A Dire Dilemma," by Mucha, "Moscow, late of Warsaw," August, 1916
But the Allies had shortages too; the difference being that the British could have a sense of humor about it (as long as they could apply some national stereotype to the joke):
"In These Hard Times" by A.E. Horne in The Passing Show, London, August, 1916

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