Anything to Boost the Morale: Comparison of British and Ameriean Cartoonists, 1936-1945
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This survey will look at political cartoons in the especially rich and volatile years between 1936 and 1945. This period has been split into three different sections, separated because of the widely varying responses to different situations illustrated by the cartoons themselves. The first section is the pre-war stage which offers an opportunity to view how cartoonists perceived the set-up of the actors during the war; in 1936, Americans began to tum their focus to Europe, when the Spanish Civil War began and fascist power grew at an alarming rate. The majority of Americans were still experiencing the hardships of the Depression and were weary. They did not want to become involved in overseas conflict. Cartoonists attempted to portray the prospective dangers in Europe. The second, 1939 to 1941, is perhaps the most interesting and will be the main focus of this study. This era will give us the most contrast between the British, who are actively in the war, and the Americans, who are still officially neutral. The two countries had long shared a powerful relationship, starting when America was a British colony. History had changed many of the dynamics yet this study will show how old sentiments still remained. Finally there are the rest of the war years, 1941 to 1945, when the Americans joined the fight. These are viewed by scholars as not important years in the history of political cartoons, merely because there was such a negligible number of dissenters. However, cartoonists played a role in propagandistic persuasion and their work can further illuminate the sentiments of the time, including prejudice against the Japanese.