Saturday, May 4, 2019

Settling Scores

Last Saturday's post started (sort of) with Poland, so let's begin there today.
"Inconsiderate" by Gilbert Wilkinson (?) in The World, London, ca. April, 1919
I'm not absolutely positive of the identity of the cartoonist of "Inconsiderate," but I can make out enough of his signature to consider Gilbert Wilkinson its likely author.
"Die Schlächtergilde von Paris" by uncredited cartoonist in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, April 13, 1919
Our topic this Spoilsback Saturday is the settling of scores in the Paris peace negotiations at the end of World War I. In the above parody of Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, the cartoonist predicts an unpleasant outcome for the surgeons planning to slice off Danzig (present-day Gdansk, Poland) and the Saar region (now in France) from the German patient.

To the extent that Europe would fall back into World War II over German attempts to reclaim those territories, I suppose the cartoonist was not terribly far off the mark.
"Just a Guess at the Terms for Turkey" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, May 5, 1919
The victors at the Paris peace negotiations also considered how to carve up the Ottoman Empire, and their solutions have given rise to a whole century of wars, refugees and terrorist attacks since then.
"Anything He Would Do Is an Improvement" by William Hanny in St. Joseph (MO) News-Press, April 23, 1919
Bill Sykes and William Hanny here draw a rare pair of cartoons that do not hinge on depicting Turkey or its leader as a meliagris gallopavo.

Of course, Hanny had used that pun less than a week before.
"Vor der Proklamierund des Völkerbundes" by Werner Hahmann in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, April 26, 1919
When it came to carving up the Austro-Hungarian Empire, members of the Entente had competing claims.

"More!" by John Cassel in New York World, April 20, 1919
Both Italy and the newly formed Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes laid claim to Fiume (the present-day port city of Rijeka, Croatia) at the north end of Kvarner Gulf. As shown in John Cassel's cartoon, the allies awarded the former Austrian territories of Trentino and Trieste to Italy, but Italian irredentists claimed Fiume and environs by virtue of the fact that Italians made up nearly half of its residents. Not quite a third of the remainder were Croatian; Italians made up a majority of urban dwellers while Croats were the majority of rural folk.
"Mi sento Come se Fossi di Nuovo sul Piave" by "Luccio" in Il 420, Firenze, Italy, ca. April, 1919
Students of history and followers of this blog will recall that the Piave is the river where the Italian army was finally able to push back against Austrian and German advances into their country.

I have no explanation of why the Yugo-slav in this Italian cartoon has a supersized tampon dangling from his teeth.
"Get Your Cart Out from the Middle of the Street" by Leo Thiele in Sioux City Tribune, ca. April, 1919
Fiume/Rijeka is a significant seaport for Croatia, situated as it is at a deep, sheltered harbor near the narrowest stretch of the Dinaric Alps. Roads and railways from inland Croatia naturally converge there. But being so far removed from the boot of Italy, its importance to Italy was more a matter of prestige than commerce.
"I Due 'Wilson' alla Conferenza de la Pace" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galantara in L'Asino, Rome, May 11, 1919
The Italian government viewed President Woodrow Wilson's failure to side with Italy on the Fiume Question as a betrayal of his idealistic lectures about self-determination of peoples. Their cartoonists quickly switched from depicting him as Santo Woodrow to drawing him as a duplicitous moralizer. Above, "The Two 'Wilsons' at the Peace Conference" brandish an umbrella labeled "Direction toward self-determination" and a whip labeled "Interests of Capitalism."
"Woodrow in der Klamme" by Arthur Johnson in Kladderadatch, Berlin, May 11, 1919
German cartoonists were happy to join in ridiculing the American president. Arthur Johnson's Italian, on the left, points to the British promises of territory that had prompted Italy to abrogate its treaty with Germany and to declare on the side of the Entente. His Serbo-Croatian, on the right, points to similar British promises. I would note that Serbia was in the war at the outset, relying on Russian promises of support rather than any promises from the British who weren't even in the war yet.
"It Happens in the Best Regulated Families" by Jay "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, May 9, 1919
Wilson's proposed compromise — which was the short-lived solution — was to establish Fiume/Rijeka as a free city, perhaps even the home of his League of Nations. Italy's Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando stormed out of the peace negotiations, protesting that he was personally insulted by the allies' failure to uphold British promises. "Ding" Darling correctly predicted that Italy would eventually return to the table.
"Their Vision" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, May 2, 1919

Peace negotiations faced a similar dilemma of conflicting promises in the Far East. Japan and China had both declared war against Germany, betting on the Entente to be the eventual and more magnanimous victors. Japanese forces ousted Germany from the Kiautschou Bay Leased Territory on China's Shandong peninsula early in the war. China wanted the territory back, but was repeatedly pressured to accept Japanese sovereignty there. Wilson sided with the Chinese, but Britain and France had given their assurances to Japan, and the Paris Treaty gave Shandong to Japan.
"The Penalty of Pacifism" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, May 6, 1919
Student-led protests against foreign imperialism and the Beijing government's fecklessness broke out in China on May 4 and spread across the country. The university students demanded the resignation of three government officials they blamed for selling out the country; they even burned down one of the officials' houses and assaulted his hapless servants.
"Mrs. Japan and Her Infant at the Peace Table" by R.O. Evans in Baltimore American, March, 1919
After some protesters were beaten and thrown in jail, a general strike in support of the students succeeded in gaining their release. China refused to sign the Versailles treaty, eventually negotiating a separate peace with Germany in 1921 and regaining possession of Shandong province a year later. But the May Fourth movement would lead to the development of the Chinese Communist Party. And another protest one month and seventy years later.
"You Can't Blame Japan for Feeling It an Insult" by Jay "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, March 23, 1919
I was going to end this post on the topic of China (just like last Saturday's episode), but I ought to bring up one more issue that Japan brought to the negotiating table. Japan wanted the League of Nations charter to require that member countries grant "equal and just treatment" to all aliens in their borders who are nationals of other member states.

The Japanese proposal did not make it into the League charter, thanks to opposition from the Europeans and the American Congress, but it did inspire an unusually sympathetic response for the time from "Ding" Darling.

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