Saturday, July 27, 2019

Gamely Opposing Peace

"Startling News" by Albert Reid in Rutland (VT) Herald (?), July, 1919
I had meant to post these cartoons from July, 1919 a few weeks ago, but more current events got in the way. So here we go with Settleback Saturday.

President Woodrow Wilson returned from Europe to the U.S. to persuade Congress to ratify the Treaty of Versailles and officially end World War I. He ran into stiff opposition from the Republican majority in the Senate; the GOP had begun agitating against the treaty almost as soon as the guns fell silent.

Cartoons Magazine credited the above cartoon to Vermont's Rutland Herald, but according to Kansaspedia, cartoonist Albert T. Reid established his career at the Kansas City Journal, leaving Kansas in 1919 to become Director of Pictorial Publicity for the 1920 Republican campaign. I suppose he could have done so while also drawing editorial cartoons for the Herald, but most cartoonists today would consider that a conflict of interest.
"No European Trip Is Quite Complete..." by Jay "Ding" Darling in New York Journal, July 8, 1919
Another staunch Republican cartoonist, "Ding" Darling, broke with his party over the peace treaty. Darling had many differences with the Wilson administration, but was fully behind the idea of a League of Nations so that nations could resolve disputes without resorting to force of arms.
"See America First" by R.O. Evans in Baltimore American, June/July, 1919
One of the main Republican criticisms of President Wilson is that he spent too much time preoccupied with foreign affairs, to the detriment of domestic tranquility. Railroad employee unions, denied the right to strike during the war, were now pressing to have their pent-up demands met; other industries experienced similar pressures. Evans included immigration in his cloud of smoke, although many of the people Real Americans wanted to send home back then are the ancestors of people who now chant "Send them back!" at Trump rallies.
"The President's Message Today" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, July 10, 1919
The Chicago Tribune's John McCutcheon was another reliable Republican voice. Here he poses three questions to President Wilson, who was to address Congress that day to urge ratification of the Paris treaty.
"The Lion Shall Lie Down with the Lamb" by John "Ding" Darling in New York Journal, July 12, 1919
If Darling's cartoon gently ribbing all sides earlier in the week didn't make clear where is sentiments lay, his characterization of the treaty and opposition to it as a lamb and a pride of lions make it obvious. He leaves the Democratic president looking a bit of a fool, but under these circumstances, how much good is one whip, really?
"Strange Bedfellows" by Edwin Marcus in New York Times, July, 1919
Once upon a time, dear reader, the New York Times did indeed run editorial cartoons, even in the domestic edition. Edwin Marcus didn't have to worry about this cartoon being condemned as anti-German or anti-Bolshevik, which it was, or antigay, which was a concept nobody had conceived of yet. Marcus would keep his job for another 30+ years.
"The Undesirable Offspring" by Ted Brown in Chicago Daily News, July, 1919
Opponents of ratification found some traction by highlighting its granting of much of China's Shantung (Shandong) peninsula to Japan. As mentioned here before, China and Japan both sided with the Entente Powers against the Central Powers in World War I; China had leased the Shandong territories to Germany in 1897. The Japanese army evicted the Germans, and Japan insisted upon retaining control of the territory as part of any peace treaty, Wilson's ideas of popular sovereignty be damned.
"Which, of Course..." by John "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, July 19, 1919
Treaty supporter "Ding" Darling had to admit that acceding to the Japanese demands was less than ideal, shrugging and drawing a "But What Can You Do?" cartoon. Not one of his better works.
"League-alizing a Felony" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, July 17, 1919
The issue was much better suited to treaty skeptics like John McCutcheon, regardless of whether they would ordinarily have had much interest in, let alone sympathy for, Chinese affairs.
Uncaptioned, by Elmer.A. Bushnell for Central Press Association, July, 1919
Much as the Versailles Treaty sowed the seeds of World War II in Europe, the U.S. and Japan were about to resume their pre-war rivalry for influence throughout the Pacific.
"Why Not Look at the Doughnut..." by W. Clyde Spencer in Omaha World Herald, July, 1919
A few cartoonists tried to argue that the Shandong issue was merely a distraction from the primary issue of assuring world peace. I suppose another cartoonist might have depicted the treaty not as a doughnut, but as Swiss cheese, or a tattered rag, depending how strenuously he opposed ratification.
"A Yellow Streak" by Grover Page in Louisville Courier-Journal, July, 1919
"Yellow streak" and "Yellow peril" were well-established but unrelated phrases in 1919; perhaps Grover Page had both of them in mind in captioning this cartoon. I bring that up only because Page didn't go with the also well-established trope of depicting an elephant frightened by a mouse. I would be surprised if the Courier-Journal splurged on some yellow streak lines for this cartoon, but I suppose it's not completely out of the realm of possibility.

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