Saturday, November 17, 2018

It Ain't Over Till It's Over Over There

As promised, Siegback Saturday focuses this week on European cartoonists' response to the end of World War I.
"Zwischen Krieg und Frieden" by Wilhelm Schulz in Simplicissimus, November 19, 1918
Most of these cartoons appeared in weekly publications, and since I don't know the dating conventions of each of the journals, there might be some cartoons that were drawn before the armistice was signed and others drawn well afterward. "Zwischen Krieg und Frieden" illustrates the point noted last week that the killing continued right up to 10:59:59.99 a.m. Paris Time on the last day of hostilities.
"Aufwärts" by J.D. (?) in Ulk, Berlin, November 15, 1918
"Völkersehnsucht" by Otto Lendecke in Simplicissimus, November 26, 1918
I was a little surprised to find so few cartoons that expressed relief at the war finally being over. As the † next to Otto Lendecke's name above the Simplicissimus cover illustration indicates, the Austrian painter had died a month before the end of the war, so "Völkersehnsucht" is obviously not a response to the armistice except on the part of the magazine editors.
"Die Waffenstilstandsbedingungen" by Thomas Theodor Heine in Simplicissimus, November 26, 1918
Judging from the rest of the cartoons I've seen, the end of hostilities on the battlefield clearly did not extend to an end of hostilities on the drawing boards — on either side of the conflict.
"The 'Victorious' Hun" by David Wilson in The Passing Show, November, 1918
From Great Britain, David Wilson gloats over Supreme Allied Commander General Ferdinand Foch forcing Chief of the German General Staff Paul von Hindenburg to sign an unconditional surrender.
"Il Trionfo della Giustizia" by "Tonv" in Il 420, Florence, November 24, 1918
What the triumph of justice looked like depended upon which side you were on.
"So Also Sieht ein Gerechtigkeitsfriede Aus" by Gustave Brandt in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, November 24, 1918
The pediment in Gustav Brandt's cartoon reads "The Justice Peace Group of the Entente Sculptors."
"Le Kaiser" by C. Léandre in Le Rire, Paris, November 16, 1918
From the Allies, there was no shortage of scorn to heap upon the abdicated Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert Hohenzollern. And since I'm not going to write a separate post about Australian cartoons, here's one from the Sydney Bulletin.
"Take My Seat" (perhaps by one of the Lindsay brothers?) in Sydney Bulletin, November, 1918
Returning to Europe, neither was the Kaiser's fall mourned in neutral Spain:
"Su Debida Recompensa" in Esquella, Barcelona, ca. November, 1918
Another Catalan cartoonist observes that Armistice Day fell on the Feast Day of St. Martin, traditionally a day for slaughtering pigs. The caption is a common saying which is pretty much the flip side of "every dog has its day."
"A Cada Porc Li Arriba el seu Sant Martí" by Josep «Picarol» Costa Ferrer in Campana de Gràcia, Barcelona, November 16, 1918
Of course, Mr. Hohenzollern was not the only guy suddenly unemployed at the end of the war:
"La Salle des Trônes de la Quadruplice" by L.M. in Le Rire, November 16, 1918
The other members of the Quadruplice were Austrian Emperor Karl, the Ottoman Sultan and the Bulgarian Tsar. In fact, the Entente allowed Ottoman Sultan Mehmet VI (who had acceded to the throne in July after the death of his brother, Mehmet V) to retain his title and position; but he would be overthrown four years later. Bulgaria's Tsar Ferdinand I abdicated in October as one of the terms of his country's surrender; he was succeeded by his son, Boris III, whose reign — in name — lasted into World War II. (Mainly in the plain.)
"La Fine degli Imperatori" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galanta in L'Asino, Rome, November 24, 1918
If cartoonists living on the winning side of the war could joke about how the Kaisers had fallen, German cartoonists had to find someone among the allies that they could poke fun at. They chose the king of Italy, whose government had forsaken the country's erstwhile alliance with the Central Powers in a gamble for attaining Italian territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
"Der Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte" by Arthur Johnson in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, November 17, 1918

My translation of the Arthur Johnson's German is rather inexact and requires a little explanation.  "Treppenwitz" is a literal translation of the French "l'esprit d'escalier," referring to that perfect rejoinder one thinks of only after it's too late (on the way down the staircase while leaving the party). In German, however, the word has come to mean a joke that ends up with unintended unfortunate consequences — those Baraboo high school seniors taking a group photo doing a Nazi salute, for example.

In this case, Johnson pushes the idea that Italy's King Victor Emmanuel III is the joke, and the unfortunate consequence is the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I'm curious why Johnson, whose father was American but who was born and raised in Germany, wrote "Austria" on the shield instead of "Österreich"; perhaps he just didn't have enough room.
"Der Unersättliche" by Olav Gulbrandsson in Simplicissimus, Munich, November 26, 1918

Olav Gulbrandsson portrays Victor Emmanuel's victory parade boasting the names of Italy's 1917 defeats in battle. Twitting the 5' tall Italian king seems to have been the last resort of Germany's cartoonists wishing to find someone among the conquerors of the Central Powers who could be portrayed as a buffoon; I assume that punning the name Vittorio with the German sieg was purely intentional.
"S. Wilson" by "Tonv" in Il 420, Florence, November 17, 1918
I've been given conflicting translations of the dialogue in this little cartoon by the Italian cartoonist who signed his work "Tonv"; I believe the mother is telling her son that she is hanging a hagiographic portrait of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in place of whatever saint it is that she's taking down, on account of his having performed a true miracle. This blog gets hundreds of visits from people in Italy, so if any of you cittadini would care to leave a good translation in the comments, I'd be happy to replace this paragraph with it. (Having used several of his cartoons in this series, I've also been repeatedly frustrated in my efforts to find out who "Tonv" was; qualcuno può aiutarmi?)
"Da Beim Tod" by Fritz Boscovits in Nebelspalter, Zurich, November, 1918
Not everyone shared that Italian mother's adoration of Mr. Wilson. At the German-sympathetic Swiss journal Nebelspalter, cartoonist JFB holds Wilson responsible for the slaying of the Central Powers (Mittelmächte), while his allies are depicted as dogs barking over the sad remains of such a handsome, noble creature.
"John Bull's Fourteen Points" by Frank Holland in John Bull, London, ca. Oct./Nov., 1918
America's allies had their differences with Wilson as well. As far as Britain and France were concerned, his 14 Points may have been a useful propaganda ploy against Germany while hostilities raged, but now that it was time to implement the peace, exacting punishment upon the vanquished was going to take precedence over the namby-pamby head-in-the-clouds idealism of that egghead professor from Princeton.
"Gli Effetti di un' Indigestione" by "GiToppi" in Il 420, Florence, November 17, 1918
As I mentioned earlier, Italy had also joined the Entente eager to claim territory from Austria. Caporetto is the present-day Slovenian city of Kobarid on the Italian border; Hemmingway recounted the disastrous 1917 rout of the Italian army at the then-Austrian village in A Farewell to Arms. At the end of the war, the Italian army occupied the town, and it was annexed to Italy from 1919 until being turned over to Yugoslavia under the Paris Treaties of 1947.
"La Resa dei Conti" by RIV in Il 420, Florence, November 17, 1918
As depicted in "The Rendering of Accounts," none of Germany and Austria's neighbors were about to let bygones be bygones. And we know how that turned out.

...Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.
No soldier's paid to kick against his powers.
We laughed, knowing that better men would come,
And greater wars...
(From Wilfred Owen's "The Next War")

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