Saturday, July 17, 2021

Eire Apparent

"If" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch  July, 1921

I get to start this week's history tour off with a cartoon about Ireland by Ireland — Billy Ireland, that is.

"The Twelfth" celebrations in Northern Ireland in the early part of July feature twelve days of parades and bonfires in celebration of the anniversary of Protestant King William of Orange's victory over Catholic King James II on July 12, 1691 (Julian calendar). For centuries, these festivities deliberately provoked Irish Catholics, marching through their neighborhoods and burning Irish flags.

"Too Hot" by Rollin Kirby in New York Evening World, July 22, 1921

So it may have been a happy coincidence that British forces and the Irish Republican Army declared a truce in the two-year-old Irish War of Independence on July 11, 1921.

"The Next Stop" by Roy H. James in St. Louis Star, July, 1921
American newspaper reports told of the news being greeted with celebrations and parades, although I have to wonder how many of those celebrations had more to do with "The Twelfth" than the announcement of the truce.
Untitled, by Bill Satterfield for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., by July 11, 1921

American cartoonists certainly received the news with enthusiasm...

Untitled, by Wm. C. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, July, 1921

... even if they didn't quite agree upon who was inviting whom to the peace table.

"They'll Both Enjoy a Refreshing Plunge..." by Leo Bushnell for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., by July 13, 1921

Declaring a truce was one thing. Agreeing to a peace settlement was another thing entirely. The proposal from British Prime Minister David Lloyd George offered only limited autonomy to Ireland within the British Empire, analogous to England's dominion over Canada at the time. Irish Republic President Eamonn de Valera demanded complete independence for a united Ireland. Ulster Premier Sir James Craig insisted Northern Ireland would not be governed by Dublin.

"Getting Together to Drive the Snakes Out" by Wm. Morris for George Matthew Adams Service, July, 1921

Nor did hostilities stop completely. Sinn Fein founder Arthur Griffith was convinced that the violence alone had no chance of achieving victory over the British army, but irregulars in the IRA continued to recruit fighters and to stage guerilla attacks against royalist targets. Peace negotiations, mediated by South African Premier Jan Smuts, kept plugging away nevertheless.
"Bearding the Lion in His Den" by Leo Bushnell for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., by July 20, 1921

Bushnell's second cartoon here hangs on a relatively obscure story from the Old Testament; cartoonists could get away with a greater store of biblical references a century ago than we can today.
"Getting Together..." by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, July 25, 1921
Whereas virtually everybody can understand the challenge of getting a bulldog and a cat into the same basket.

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