“Peace at Any Price?” (undated, WW2 era)
by James Harrison (Hal) Donahey (1875-1949)
15 x 21 in., ink on board
James Harrison (Hal) Donahey was the chief editorial cartoonist for the Plain Dealer from 1900 to 1949. Before working for the Plain Dealer, Donahey worked for the Ohio Democrat in New Philadelphia and as an illustrator for the Cleveland World. According to A History of Cleveland (vol.1), “As a cartoonist Donahey wields an exceedingly clever pencil; his humor is never offensive and shows the man of heart. He is of a creative mind, studious, modest, and altogether a charming fellow, and a real artist.”
“Peace at Any Price” became an attack phrase for political appeasers.
The economic problems that resulted from World War I and the Depression led people to question whether democratic government could improve their lives. Totalitarian governments rose up in the 1920s and appeared to provide a sense of security and offered a strong direction for the future. Stalin… Mussolini… Horihito… Franco… Hitler…
As Benjamin Franklin departed the Constitutional Convention, he was asked if the framers had created a monarchy or a republic. “A republic,” he famously replied, and then added,
“if you can keep it.”