“The Way Things Stand” (ca. 1940s)
by William “Bill” Crawford (1913-1982)
19 x 22 in., ink and crayon on Glarco Illustration Board
Crawford worked as a sports cartoonist from 1936-39 for the Washington Daily News and the Washington Post. He joined the Newark News a chief editorial cartoonist, where he spent the bulk of his career.
Crawford defended powerful cartoons that took strong positions.
One of the most provocative questions about WWII is “what did the German people know and when did they know it?” This cartoon gives a poignant and contemporary commentary on this question, as the broken, stumbling state of Germany is propped up by the German people.
In his 2015 book (The German War: A Nation Under Arms, 1939-1945), Nicholas Stargardt draws on first-person accounts (diaries, court records, and military correspondence) and asserts that awareness was widespread. What drove the Germans to fight for a lost cause…a strong propaganda campaign of false equivalents that justified actions as retaliation and self-defense. Steve Forbes’ review of Stargardt: “an extremely interesting yet disheartening tale of a civilized people’s descent into barbarism.”