“Meditation at the Woodpile”


“Meditation at the Woodpile” (March 3, 1938)
by Gerald Aloysius (Jerry) Doyle, Jr. (1898-1986)
15.5 x 18 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Jerry Doyle spent most of his career at The Philadelphia Record, The Philadelphia Daily News(1951) and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He retired in 1973. Doyle’s support for the New Deal meant that his cartoons generally expressed support for President Roosevelt, whom he depicted as tall, imposing, powerful, and larger-than-life. Doyle’s early and continual criticism towards Hitler and Mussolini made him the only American cartoonist to be put on the Nazi hit list. He wrote the book “According to Doyle – A Cartoon History of World War II” (1943). His son, who carried his name, was also a part-time cartoonist (1926-2009).

After WW1, Kaiser Wilhelm exiled himself to Holland.  He settled in a country house in the municipality of Doorn, known as Huis Doorn, on May 15, 1920. And Hitler, a veteran of WW1, like other leading Nazis, felt nothing but contempt for the man they blamed for Germany’s greatest defeat.

On February 4, 1938, The Wehrmacht was established in Nazi Germany by decree, putting Hitler himself in complete control of the military. The new command structure abolished the position of War Minister, and twelve senior generals were sent into retirement.

On February 12, 1938, Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg went to see Hitler in Berchtesgaden. Schuschnigg tried to open the meeting with light conversation about the beauty of the view, but Hitler brushed such talk aside and began a tirade of shouting, threatening to invade unless his demands compromising Austria’s sovereignty were met.

On February 22, 1938, by a vote of 330-168, Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement policy was endorsed by the House of Commons. Winston Churchill was among about 20 Conservatives who abstained from voting.

On March 1, 1938, Hermann Goering was presented with a field marshal’s baton by Adolf Hitler, who made the gesture to placate Goering for not giving him a cabinet position.

In news reports on March 2, 1938, Field Marshal General Hermann Goering, warns that Adolf Hitler’s “protectorate” over Germans of Austria and Czechoslovakia will be backed up by Nazi bombing planes: “We are burning with zeal … to prove to Der Fuehrer and the German people that his air force is invincible.” The Field Marshal didn’t say how the Third Reich proposed to avoid hitting Germans as well as Austrians in Vienna, further saying that his air force would be “terrible in action.”

Burning with Zeal… Locked and Loaded… Fire and Fury…

Kaiser Wilhelm, in Holland, Wilhelm has grown to distrust Hitler: “We have ceased to live under the rule of law and everyone must be prepared for the possibility that the Nazis will push their way in and put them up against the wall!”

On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria to annex the German-speaking nation for the Third Reich.

Wilhelm was also appalled at the Kristallnacht of 9–10 November 1938: “For the first time, I am ashamed to be a German.”

From a published article by ex-Kaiser Wilhelm on Hitler, December 15, 1938:

“There’s a man alone, without family, without children, without God … He builds legions, but he doesn’t build a nation. A nation is created by families, a religion, traditions: it is made up out of the hearts of mothers, the wisdom of fathers, the joy and the exuberance of children … For a few months I was inclined to believe in National Socialism. I thought of it as a necessary fever. And I was gratified to see that there were, associated with it for a time, some of the wisest and most outstanding Germans. But these, one by one, he has got rid of or even killed … He has left nothing but a bunch of shirted gangsters! This man could bring home victories to our people each year, without bringing them either glory or danger. But of our Germany, which was a nation of poets and musicians, of artists and soldiers, he has made a nation of hysterics and hermits, engulfed in a mob and led by a thousand liars or fanatics.”

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