Saturday, March 25, 2017

We're On Our Way to War

"Pipe Dream" by Wm. C. Morris in Independent, March 19, 1917
SafeForDemocracyback Saturday has been keeping a sharp eye on events of 100 years ago, so here we ago again to the very last days before the United States entered World War I.

By this point, America's editorial cartoonists were gung-ho to go. With the exposure of the Zimmerman Telegram, Kaiser Wilhelm dreams of turning the southwestern United States over to Mexico and Japan in William Morris's cartoon above. Uncle Sam hops over the "Canadian Boundary Fence" which I suppose the Canadians would actually have had to to pay for.

Meanwhile, Harry Keys depicts any opponents of the war, such as Wisconsin Progressive Senator "Fighting Bob" LaFollette, as prized properties of the Kaiser. Former Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan is strangely missing from the collection.
"Berlin's New Hall of Fame" by Harry Keys in Columbus Citizen, March 11, 1917
At the Philadelphia Inquirer,  which added "Support Our President" to its flag on top of page 1, cartoonist Fred Morgan drew daily exhortations to muster support for the war. You may recall that when he thought Wilson had lost his bid for reelection, Morgan excitedly drew four celebratory cartoons for the next day's paper. In spite of the Inquirer's new motto, Morgan's pro-war cartoons this week drew on national symbols; Mr. Wilson did not make an appearance in them.
"Under Which Flag" by Fred Morgan in Philadelphia Inquirer, March 25, 1917
And the jingoism just kept coming. Morris, by the way, was another Republican cartoonist.
"For Humanity" by John C. Morris in Independent, April 2, 1917
Democratic partisan Sidney Greene went to the trouble to remind naturalized citizens of the country that he expected them to be all-American, through and through. And by naturalized citizens, I'm sure he meant German immigrants, although he doesn't go so far as to dress the guy in lederhosen.
"Warned" by Sidney Greene in New York Evening Telegram,  March 25, 1917
The Chicago Tribune had been all in for the belligerent Teddy Roosevelt and his klaxon call for preparedness in the previous year's election campaign. Yet this front page cartoon by Carey Orr hints at some misgivings about War, even as Uncle Sam cleans out his rifle.
"The Bogy Month" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune,  March 23, 1917
For genuine anti-war sentiment, you had to pick up a copy of The Masses. I recognize Randolph Hearst personifying "Conservative Press" (even though he had been accused of pro-German sympathies) and Teddy Roosevelt, labeled — in quotation marks — "'Americanism.'" "Big Business" may be J.P. Morgan, but I'm pretty sure that "Ignorance" is not Gomez Addams.
"Patrons of War" by Boardman Robinson in The Masses, May, 1917
Turning to views from abroad, this French cartoonist welcomed the U.S. to the fray, but not without gently ribbing the new ally over President Woodrow Wilson's many notes sent to Kaiser Wilhelm to complain about all those ships sunk since the beginning of the war.
"A New Kind of Message" by French cartoonist in Ruy Blas, Paris, March, 1917
I wish I had a better scan of this Louis Raemaekers cartoon welcoming Uncle Sam to the fight; a lot of the detail and shading has been lost. I do try to repair some of the damage sustained by these cartoons in transit from paper to wire service to newsprint to microfilm to digital scanner, but I doubt I could fix this one without going all Borja Ecce Homo on it. In spite of the lousy reproduction here, Raemaekers's point still comes through.
"It May Happen" by Louis Raemaekers, in De Telegraaf,Amsterdam, March, 1917
This Canadian cartoonist was hardly the only one to imagine President Wilson shopping for the "latest spring styles."
"To-Day's Hero" by Lawrence (?) in Montreal Daily Mail, March 29, 1917
If Englishman Edward Reed caricatured an American accent in the dialogue of this cartoon, as was his wont, the American editors of The Independent opted not to retain it.
"The Eleventh Hour Recruit" by Edward T. Reed in Passing Show, London, March, 1917
Reed's war may have been a jolly good romp at first glance, but don't miss the warning on the door.

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