Saturday, March 17, 2018

Back to the Irish

With St. Patrick's Day falling on a Sathairnback Saturday this year, how could I not take a moment to catch up on events of the Emerald Isle in World War I?
"The Non-Stop Car" by Bernard Partridge in Punch, London, probably 1917
When last we checked in on Irish events, the British had executed Sir Roger Casement for his involvement in running weapons from Germany in support of the Easter Rising of 1916. Over the next couple of years, Britain released hundreds of other prisoners convicted for participating in that revolt, as a concession toward resumption of talks for Irish Home Rule.

On April 9, 1918, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George announced that his government was willing to grant Home Rule to Ireland, provided that the Irish institute universal male conscription (we call it "the draft" nowadays), sending its soldiers to fight alongside Entente forces. The Irish independence party, Sinn Fein, its ranks swelled by those released prisoners, rejected Lloyd George's terms and called for a general strike on April 22.

"A Bad Time for a Family Row" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, April 12, 1918
Rioting ensued with Sinn Fein and Irish Volunteer activists battling the Royal Irish Constabulary and British Army. Again, hundreds of republicans were arrested over the next several months, charged with conspiring with Germany. Still more were detained under legislation banning public parades.
"Germany's Last Reserves" by George E. Studdy in Passing Show, London, April, 1918
Indeed, Germany was all too happy to cheer on rebellion against England in Ireland, as well as in any other quarters of the empire upon which the sun had yet to set. One presumes that German-American cartoonist Arthur Johnson believed the colonized peoples of Burundi, Cameroon, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo had submitted freely to their German overlords.
Wenn... die Völker Selbstbestimmen Könnten" by Arthur Johnson in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, March 3, 1918
From the Berlin liberal magazine Jugend, there is this first panel of a seven-panel cartoon depicting Entente leaders disappointed in their Easter eggs.
Detail from "Ostereier" by Arpad Schmidhammer in Jugend, Munich, March 25, 1918
I did try to find some Irish point of view to include among today's cartoons, but I imagine the British censors weren't particularly keen to have Them Damn Pictures further stirring up Republican sentiment. This American cartoon by Daniel Fitzpatrick will have to do.
"The Mirage" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, probably 1917
Or perhaps this uncredited cartoon from Punch. I've commented before on how some cartoons don't translate well, and this time the foreign language is British. Either this cartoon is sympathetic to the Irish people, or it's an example of incredibly dry British wit desiccated beyond all hope of rehydration.
"In Suspense" in Punch, London, March or April, 1918

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Parade Downgrade

The LGBTQAIXYZ community's fight to be included in St. Patrick's Day parades goes back longer than that unwieldy acronym does. For the most part, we seem to have worn down the resistance.

But not everywhere. Organizers of the Staten Island march barred the island's Pride Center from their parade last week, reportedly adding that even the Prime Minister of Ireland, Leo Varadkar (who is openly gay) would not be allowed in their event if he displayed any "visual association with LGBT identity."

So let's just posit that the Staten Island parade is not among "all of the best St. Patrick's Day parades."
In Dublin, Galway, Cork and other Irish cities, gay and lesbian groups march in St. Patrick’s Day events without incident. Chicago, which has a large Irish Catholic population, has allowed gay groups since the mid-1990s. “Our city realized a long time ago that we have so much more in common than apart,” says Tom Tunney, Chicago’s first openly gay alderman. “We’re a city of cultures, and the LGBT community is a part of it.”
Boston's St. Pat's organizers allowed an LGBTQ group to parade with them in 2014, 2015, and 2016, only to ban them again last year. But after the resulting backlash, they are letting the LGBTQ marchers back in this year.

New York's Fifth Street parade banned LGBTQ participation until 2015, when they granted a permit to Out@NBCUniversal, the LGBTQ resource group of the network televising their parade. They were joined by the Lavender and Green Alliance the following year, thanks to pressure from Guinness, Sam Adams and Heineken. (And from Mayor DiBlasio, too, but I don't need to tell you whether beer or a politician is more important to St. Patrick's Day festivities.)

Now, I don't know for sure that, if mercurial American President Trump's dream of tanks and missiles parading down Pennsylvania Avenue comes to fruition, there won't be some group of LGBTQ soldiers or veterans demanding a float of their own.

I wasn't really privy to the last Homosexual Agenda Steering Cabal meeting. And if I were, I couldn't tell you.

Monday, March 12, 2018

This Week's Sneak Peek

I could show you the rest of the cartoon, but then it wouldn't be top secret, would it?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

My Lack of God! It's Trotsky!

If there is any one single biggest loser to be found in the Brest-Litovsk treaty ending Russian involvement in World War I, it is the Bolsheviks' chief negotiator, Leon Trotsky.
"Heute rot..." by P.H. in Ulk, Berlin, March 1, 1918
During negotiations, Germany's peace terms had included creating German-allied independent states in Poland and the Baltics, up to then parts of the Russian empire. Trotsky responded by suspending negotiations and recommending to Vladimir Lenin that Russia withdraw its forces from the fighting without signing a peace treaty: an approach he labeled "neither war nor peace"— "Ни война, ни мир." He fully expected that if he waited long enough, the German and Austrian working class and soldiers, weary of war, would rise up against their rulers just as the Russian people had.
"Brest-Litovsk" by Zislin in Le Rire, Paris, February 2, 1918
But Ukraine signed its Brest-Litovsk treaty with the Central Powers on February 9, 1918, and Germany renewed military action against Russia nine days later, ramping up the pressure on Russia to accept German terms for peace.
"Der Trotzkibengel und die Wandernde Glocke" by Arthur Johnson in Kladderadatch, Berlin, February 24, 1918 
German-American cartoonist Arthur Johnson's cartoon in Kladderadatch is based on a Goethe poem, "The Wandering Bell," about a boy who fails to heed his mother's admonition to go to church when the steeple bell rings, only to have the bell literally follow him everywhere until he changes his ways.
"Die Heimkehr vom Markt im Osten" by Richter in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, March 17, 1918
Russia signed the treaty on March 3, and ratified it on March 15. In addition to its Baltic losses, Russia recognized the independence of Ukraine, Georgia, and Finland and ceded territories to the Ottoman Empire that are now in easternmost Turkey— all told, ceding away some 1 million square miles of Russia's former territory; a third of its population or around 55 million people; a majority of its coal, oil and iron stores; and much of its industry.
"Trotsky Advances..." by Louis Raemaekers for Bell Syndicate, by March 13, 1918
As vilified in the Entente press as he had been in Germany's, Trotsky was spared the wrath of Russian cartoonists only because Russian cartoonists were not in the habit of drawing real, living domestic politicians in their cartoons. Dead people were fair game, but real people could send your ass off to the gulag. Russian cartoons throughout the Soviet era tended to limit themselves to archetypes and characters from folk tales.
"They Looked at the Little Bird" by Cy Hungerford in Pittsburgh Sun, March, 1918
Abroad, the most charitable view of Trotsky and, in Cy Hungerford's cartoon, Vladimir Lenin, was that they were unwitting, inexperienced buffoons, easily taken advantage of by the wily, expansionist Kaiser.

"Bear Steaks" by Bob Satterfield, by March 2, 1918
With his negotiating strategy thoroughly discredited, Trotsky resigned as People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs.
"Trotsky's Good-Bye" by Percy H. "Poy" Fearon in London Evening News, March, 1918
Whether they thought of Trotsky as villain or fool, the general consensus of Entente cartoonists was that Russia had suffered an existential disaster of biblical proportions.
"Judas Bolchevik" by Nob in Le Rire, Paris, March 30, 1918

"Undertaken in the Name of Humanity" by C.R. McAuley in New York World, by March 7, 1918
The one outlier in its views on Russia's fate that I've come across is this drawing in the left-wing L'Asino of Rome, which appears to cast the Bolsheviks as David to Germany's Goliath. Since I haven't been able to locate the issue of L'Asino in which this cartoon first appeared, it is possible that it was drawn before the outcome of the Brest-Litovsk negotiations had been settled.

"Il Duello Tedesco-Bolscevico" (by Gabrieli "Rata Langa" Galanta?) in L'Asino, Rome, February or March, 1918
Certainly the editors of the Chicago Tribune, by the time they ran this cartoon on March 9, knew that David was not emerging from this duel with his (and Goliath's) head held high.

Yet even on the drawing boards of Munich's Simplicissimus there could be found some sympathy for Germany's vanquished foe. "Old metal bought [here]" reads the sign.

"Russischer Abendfriede" by C.O. Petersen in Simplicissimus, March 26, 1918
Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune finds the silver lining limning the "Russian catastrophe," now that the price of peace with Germany was on display for all to see.
"A Bad Jolt" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, March 19, 1918
Wow, cars must've been a whole lot sturdier then. None of that namby pamby carbon fiber polymer crap, just good old American steel.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Q Toon: Spirit of St. Louis

The government of Israel has decided to deport some LGBT asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda, where they face likely persecution.
Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
✍Mar 8, 2018

In Uganda, it’s illegal – “against the law of nature” – to be LGBT, and this may put the deported migrants in harm’s way.
In Rwanda, the legal situation is murkier but there are recorded instances of harassment, physical abuse and arbitrary arrests, said Shira Kupfer, adjunct professor and head of a program for LGBT refugees and asylum seekers coordinator by The Aguda – LGBT Task Force. 
“If you deport LGBT refugees to one of these countries, you’re putting them at danger to them, to their lives,” Kupfer told the Jerusalem Post. ...
 In an asylum application from 2016, an LGBT migrant said he was raped and assaulted in his country of origin because of his sexual orientation, Haaretz reported. 
In that case, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees recommended asylum, however, the Interior Ministry refused to grant refugee status.
This is not a case of antigay bias on Israel's part. Indeed, Israel's record on LGBT rights is head and shoulders above any of its neighbors. Moreover, Israel rejects 99% of asylum requests overall. In these cases, which actually involve refugees from Eritrea and Sudan rather than the countries to which Israel is sending them, the Israeli government claims that the asylum seekers are fleeing poverty and war, not antigay persecution.

Which just makes shipping them to countries where they will face antigay persecution all the more reprehensible.

Drawing this week's cartoon, I wrestled with the problem of how much explanation of the MS St. Louis I needed to include. I can't include links to reference material in my cartoons (well, I could do that here on line, but hyperlinks don't work as well in print).

In some quarters, the story of the ship on which 900 German Jews attempted to flee Nazi persecution in 1939, only to be turned away from Havana, then Miami, forcing their return to Europe, is well known. But most Americans have never seen "Voyage of the Damned," let alone been taught about one of the darkest stains on U.S. immigration policy, pre-Trump.
Sailing so close to Florida that they could see the lights of Miami, some passengers on the St. Louis cabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for refuge. Roosevelt never responded. The State Department and the White House had decided not to take extraordinary measures to permit the refugees to enter the United States. A State Department telegram sent to a passenger stated that the passengers must "await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible into the United States." ... 
Roosevelt was not alone in his reluctance to challenge the mood of the nation on the immigration issue. Three months before the St. Louis sailed, Congressional leaders in both US houses allowed to die in committee a bill sponsored by Senator Robert Wagner (D-N.Y.) and Representative Edith Rogers (R-Mass.). This bill would have admitted 20,000 Jewish children from Germany above the existing quota.
Happily, most of the St. Louis's passengers were able to disembark in England, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, but World War II would soon envelop most of the continent. Of the 532 passengers trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe, 254 would not survive the war.

Monday, March 5, 2018

This Week's Sneak Peek

No, they're not audience members in the balcony of the TCL Chinese Theater annoyed with the A-list celebrities interrupting "A Wrinkle in Time."

Saturday, March 3, 2018

European Cartoonists on World War I

Sulfurback Saturday turns our attention to some political cartoons from continental Europe during World War I. I've normally been trying to bring up the cartoons in this series at roughly the same point in the year now as they appeared 100 years ago, but that isn't always possible with European cartoons published in the United States. There would often be months of delay between their continental and American appearances.

This first cartoon, for example, which appeared in Cartoons magazine in 1918, appears to be dated 1916. 
"Their Arms" by Pierre Falke in Le Rire,Paris. 1916?
You'll find right away that not all humor necessarily translates well to English. I took seven years of French in school and college, and I don't know of anything inherently funny in "Je vous donnerai ma bouteille de vitriol." Use of vitriol, a.k.a. sulfuric acid, as a weapon has always been the territory of vengeful ex-lovers and radical Luddites; but despite the widespread use of mustard gas (another acidic sulfur compound) in World War I, I can't find any reference to vitriol being standard issue to soldiers in the trenches. The 3rd-Century Persian-Roman War maybe, but not World War I.

I've posted a lot of Simplicissimus cartoons in this series to include a German point of view about the war, so in the interest of getting to some other countries, I'll limit myself to one German cartoon today. Gustav Brandt, drawing for the staid Kladderadatch of Berlin, assays to base a pun on his country's U-boat blockade of Great Britain. (At least, I assume the original German caption has a pun in it somewhere; there is no beginning "U" in "Ich bin verbraucht.")
"The Ruler of the Waves" by Gustav Brandt in Kadderadatch, Berlin.
Beatty, by the way, was Admiral of the British Fleet, First Earl David Richard Beatty. Brandt's cartoon is not a particularly good likeness; there is a bust of Beatty at Trafalgar Square.

"Uncovering of War Objects" in Nebelspalter, Zurich. 
Nebelspalter tended to support the Central Powers in World War I, but this cartoon includes a German and an Austrian in the foreground of the cartoon as well as French, Italian, British and Russian leaders, all hesitant to unveil their goals for the war. The absence of any American suggests this cartoon dates from before the U.S. declaration of war in 1917. It must have been drawn after Italy, here represented by little Victor Emmanuel III (right of center), entered the war in April, 1915.
"President Wilson, Peace Angel" in Hollandsche Revue, January or February, 1918?
Continuing with another cartoon from a neutral country, I suppose this cartoon from the Netherlands probably first appeared upon U.S. entry into the war in 1917, rather than the date I've put in the cut line.
"Fine alla ... Fine!" by Gabriele "Rata Langa" Galanta in L'Asino, Rome, October 21, 1917
From Italy come three strongly anti-German cartoons. Gabriele Galanta's anticolonialist sympathies had put him at odds with his fellow co-founder of L'Asino, Guido Podrecca, and with the Italian government during the Italo-Turkish war of 1911; but his liberal views led him to favor Italy's siding with democratic France over imperial Germany and Austria, and to produce one cartoon after another against "la barbarie teutonica."

L'Asino's opposition to fascism, however, meant that their magazine would not be around to comment on World War II.
"Il Risultato Finale Rimane Invariato" by Tonv (?) in Il 420, Florence, Italy, January, 1918
Il 420, on the other hand, fully supported Mussolini before and during WWII, but that's getting way ahead of the scope of this blog post. I haven't been able to find anything out about their cartoonist, who appears to have signed his work "Tonv"; googling "420" brings up a lot of material about stuff completely unrelated to the Italian weekly magazine.

The banners I can make out behind the Kaiser in the above cartoon read "Death to the Kaiser" and "Mutiny"; it was in January, 1918 that Entente media were reporting dissent and rebellion among the German people.
"Qui Glace il Re Dei Cuochi..." by Tonv in il 420, Florence, January, 1918
During a conference with the German press in January 1918, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was asked to address the fear that there would be no food in Germany by May of that year. Hindenburg reportedly dismissed those concerns, saying, "My reply is that by next April I shall be in Paris." His boast was met with scorn and ridicule in the Entente press; several American and British cartoonists dubbed it an April Fool's joke on Hindenburg.

Moving on to the situation in Russia, we first have this Polish cartoon, published in exile in Moscow:
"No, My Dear..." in Mucha, Moscow, January, 1918
Apparently, Turkish humor completely flouts the idea that brevity is the soul of wit. The Russian cossack is crushed under a rock labeled "Germany"; the Turk over the horizon explains in detail why he's laughing at the Entente powers trying to lift it. (Is the one in blackface supposed to be American?)
"Hey!..." in Karagnios, Constantinople (Istanbul), January or February 1918
The Russian cartoonists of Novy Satirikon were no less critical of their domestic situation, but considerably more succinct.

"Defenders of the Revolution" in Novy Satirikon, Petrograd (St. Petersburg), 1917
The Bolsheviks were in charge in St. Petersburg, but not without challenge from Mensheviks and liberals in the capital and tsarist loyalists in the steppes.
"Русская жопа" in Novy Satirikon, January, 1918
I'm told that in a Russian fable, a donkey can't decide between two masters and starves to death. It seems not to be one of Krilof's fables as far as I can find (be careful when googling "russian ass two masters"); but if there's a donkey in a Russian fable, it usually ends up dead. So let's just concede that the fable indeed exists, lest some Turkish pasha show up to expound upon his reaction to it.

The Red Guards were the commies, of course; the Savage Division (Дикая дивизия) of the Russian Cavalry consisted of Muslim horsemen from Chechenya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, Karachay, Circassia, Kabardinia and Azerbaijan under the command of Grand Duke Mikhail Romanov, brother of the deposed tsar. Their track record of backing the losers in the February Revolution, Kornilov Affair in August, and October Revolution led to their being disbanded in 1918.
"At Last" in Novy Satirikon, Petrograd (St. Petersburg), 1918
Meanwhile, back in the capitalist West, let's close with one cartoon from neutral Denmark, where Peace is an angel named Fred.

"Patriotiske Spekulant" in Ravnen, Copenhagen, in February or March of 1918.