“Now Watch ‘Honorable’ Birdie”


“Now Watch ‘Honorable’ Birdie” (May 28, 1942)
by Paul Frederick Berdanier (1879-1961)
14 x 22 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

Berdanier was an illustrator for the Post Dispatch in Saint Louis, Missouri from 1902 until 1918. During the summer of 1923 he taught a vocational class at Washington University. He was a United Features Syndicate cartoonist until 1957, when he retired.

In April 1942, Japan was bombed for the first time in the Doolittle Raid. In May 1942, failure to decisively defeat the Allies at the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 4-8), in spite of Japanese numerical superiority, equated to a strategic defeat for Imperial Japan. This setback was followed in June 1942 by the catastrophic loss of four fleet carriers at the Battle of Midway, the first decisive defeat for the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Premiere of Japan Hideki Tojo addressed the Imperial Diet on May 27, 1942.

“At the present time, India is in confusion and in an unsettled state, Chungking is about to collapse, and Australia is isolated. As I review Shonan, Hongkong, and other important bases, peace and order being restored are steadily becoming the (foundation) of Greater East Asia establishment and are making great strides in its rebirth. Our sea power in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean is expanding day by day. Contrary to this, Britain has lost their overseas possessions and the route by which natural resources have been obtained has been taken control of by our forces. As a result it has added a great strain on the British domestic politics, and at the present time, Britain has reached a point of collapse. On the other hand, America that is suffering. repeated defeats is trying to cover its mortal blow by relying on vicious propaganda and is in a desperate condition trying to cover the rising criticism within the country and to preserve the right of neutral countries.”

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