“The Man Who Asked for It”

“The Man Who Asked for It” (July 31, 1944)
by William (Bill) Crawford (1913-1982)
18.5 x 22.5 in., ink and crayon on heavy paper
Coppola Collection

Crawford worked as a sports cartoonist and for the Washington Daily Newsand the Washington Postfrom 1936-38. He joined the Newark Newsas an editorial cartoonist and his cartoons were distributed to more than 700 daily newspapers by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He was an active member of the National Cartoonists Society, serving as its president and vice-president. In 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1963 he was awarded “Best Editorial Cartoon” by the National Cartoonist Society, and in 1973 he received their Silver T-Square Award. Crawford retired in 1977.

Brazil was underdeveloped in the 1930s, with a mediocre military and poor infrastructure.

Yet, the tip of Brazil is one end of the shortest distance across the Atlantic from Nazi-occupied Africa, at 1600 miles. So the fear of Brazil being the beachhead for an invasion of the Americas was real.

By early 1944, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (BEF) had been formed, and local soldier were being trained by a combination of American and British advisors. On July 30, 1944, the first BEF troops embarked at Rio de Janeiro to cross the Atlantic and complete training in Africa, moving from there to join the US in Italy. From September 15 to October 30, 1944, the Brazilians relieved American troops in the Serchio Valley, near Pisa and Livorno on the coast, and have successive victories retaking small provinces in the area, capturing about a 30-mile swath.

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