“Surely, Nippon, This Cannot Be Your Answer?”


“Surely, Nippon, This Cannot Be Your Answer?” (February 24, 1933)
by Vernon Van Atta Greene (1904-1965)
12 x 16 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Greene started his cartoon career drawing sports cartoons for Oregon’s Portland Telegram (1927–29), the Toledo Blade (1930–32) and the New York Mirror (1934–37). He was a freelancer, and began working for King Features Syndicate in 1935, eventually drawing The Shadow daily strip (1940) for the Ledger Syndicate. After the war, he ghosted on a few strips, and eventually was the one who took over “Bringing Up Father” after George McManus’s death in 1954.

GENEVA, Feb. 24, 1933 (UP) – The Japanese delegation, defying world opinion, withdrew from the League of Nations Assembly today after the assembly had adopted a report blaming Japan for events in Manchuria.

The stunned international conclave, representing almost every nation on earth, sat in silence while the delegation, led by the dapper Yosuke Matsuoka, clad in black, walked from the hall. The crowded galleries broke into mingled hisses and applause.

Japan’s formal resignation from the league is expected to be filed later.

“We are not coming back,” Matsuoka said simply as he left the hall. The assembly’s report, recommending that Japan withdraw her troops occupying Manchuria and restore the country to Chinese sovereignty, was adopted, 52 to 1, Japan voting against it.

The session, which made history, signifying the final break between the league and one of the world’s major powers, was fairly brief and simple.

Matsuoka, usually typifying the placid oriental diplomat, was nervous before he began his speech, and abandoned the text before he finished. He shouted from the rostrum:

“Japan will oppose any attempt at international control of Manchuria. It does not mean that we defy you, because Manchuria belongs to us by right. Read your history. We recovered Manchuria from Russia. We made it what it is today.”

He referred to Russia, as well as China, as a cause for “deep and anxious concern” for Japan.

“We look into the gloom of the future and can see no certain gleam of light before us,” Matsuoka declared. He reiterated that Manchuria was a matter of life and death for Japan, and than no concession or compromise was possible, saying: “Japan has been and will always be the mainstay of peace, order and progress in the Far East.”

“Thumb’s Down”


“Thumb’s Down” (October 19, 1944)
by Walter J Enright (1879-1969)
14 x 19 in., grease pencil on board
Coppola Collection

A native of Chicago, Enright studied at the Chicago Art Institute. He was listed as an artist in the 1900 census, while he was still living in parents’ household in Chicago. His first wife, Maginel, was an illustrator and the younger sister of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In addition to his work for various newspapers, he also illustrated children’s books, including at least one by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum: “Father Goose’s Year Book: Quaint Quacks and Feathered Shafts for Mature Children.” Enright was with the “Miami Herald” from 1933 to 1943, and the “Palm Beach Post” from 1943 to 1948.

Sitting at the juncture of Belgium, The Netherlands, and Germany, the Nazis wasted many lives trying to keep Aachen from the Allies.

There were four major approaches to the Ruhr from France: the Plain of Flanders, the Ardennes Forest, the Metz-Kaiserlauten Gap, and the Maubeuge-Leige-Aachen axis north of the Ardennes. On September 5, 1944, Eisenhower chose the route the American armies would follow through the German defensive line known as the Siegfried Line or West Wall directly to the north and south of the ancient city of Aachen. Once Aachen and its environs were captured, the Allied high command envisioned a rapid advance to the Rhine and then on to the Ruhr with the end of the war in Europe soon following.

In September, Aachen was under the protection of Colonel Gerhard Wilck.

On October 7, 1944, US troops entered Alsdorf, six miles north of Aachen, in an initial move to encircle the city and attack it from the rear. From there the Americans pressed southward. It took 3 days to move the six miles, as the Germans poured reinforcements into its previously fortified installations around the city. By October 10 the US had reached the Aachen suburb of Haaren, a mile north of the city, and had cut the two main roads into Aachen.

Before moving in the ground troops, British bombing raids had reduced Aachen to a sea of rubble. Few of its remaining 20,000 inhabitants, down from 165,000 before the war, could have doubted that the end was near when the Americans issued the call to surrender was issued on October 10.

The Wehrmacht rejected the demand, in accord with Hitler’s “last stand” orders. Wilck took over as the city’s military commander.  A week later, following furious daily battles, the city was surrounded by Allied troops, and on October 18, the US forces started their move to take the city itself.

As the Allies moved in, Colonel Wilck issued a proclamation exhorting his command to “fight to the last man.” Too little, too late… by the end of October 19, the German high command had decided to withdraw.

On October 20, Wilck decided to end the fight for Aachen. When American soldiers entered the bunker, Wilck and his staff had already packed their bags and were ready to go. As the Germans left the bunker, Staff Sergeant Ewart M. Padget, a former prisoner, newly released, nabbed the prize souvenir of the occasion, Colonel Wilck’s service pistol.

As one America observer later wrote, the city is “as dead as a Roman ruin, but unlike a ruin it has none of the grace of gradual decay…. Burst sewers, broken gas mains and dead animals have raised an almost overpowering smell in many parts of the city. The streets are paved with shattered glass; telephone, electric light and trolley cables are dangling and netted together everywhere, and in many areas wrecked cars, trucks, armored vehicles and guns litter the streets….”

A real measure of the fight was the telling cost to the Germans. The US took 12,000 German prisoners, including 3,473 captured within the city. The Wehrmacht was starting to squander its resources with no achievement, moving by hollow dictates and compulsion.

“Down Under”


“Down Under” (February 21, 1942)
by  (1879-1969)
12 x 18 in., grease pencil on board
Coppola Collection

A native of Chicago, Enright studied at the Chicago Art Institute. He was listed as an artist in the 1900 census, while he was still living in parents’ household in Chicago. His first wife, Maginel, was an illustrator and the younger sister of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In addition to his work for various newspapers, he also illustrated children’s books, including at least one by Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum: “Father Goose’s Year Book: Quaint Quacks and Feathered Shafts for Mature Children.” Enright was with the “Miami Herald” from 1933 to 1943, and the “Palm Beach Post” from 1943 to 1948.

The first air raid on Australia occurred on February 19, 1942 when Darwin was attacked by 242 Japanese aircraft.

These attacks were opposed by, and often aimed at, units and personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force, Australian Army, Royal Australian Navy, United States Army Air Forces, United States Navy, British Royal Air Force and Royal Netherlands East Indies Air Force.

Japanese aircrews also targeted civil infrastructure, including harbors, civil airfields, railways and fuel tanks. Some civilians were also killed.

“Track and Field Competition”


“Track and Field Competition” (July 20, 1936)
by Phil Berube (1913-1989)
7.5 x 8.5 in., ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

Berube was a sports cartoonist for the AP. During his career he also took over the art chores on a youth-oriented AP comic strip called “Oh, Diana!” He is also listed as a comic book artist, and writer, for Superman, during the mid-1940s.

The 1936 Summer Olympics were infamously hosting in Berlin, August 1-16, and opened by Chancellor Adolf Hitler. To outdo the 1932 LA Games, Hitler had a new 100,000-seat track and field stadium built. The games were the first to be televised, and radio broadcasts reached 41 countries.

Hitler saw the Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy and antisemitism, and the official Nazi party paper wrote in the strongest terms that Jews should not be allowed to participate in the Games.

The US came in second (to the Germans) in the 1936 medal count.

This cartoon, coming from just before the opening ceremonies, features the Track and Field Team. Team member Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events and became the most successful athlete to compete in Berlin. Owens’s success at the games represented an unpleasant consternation for Hitler, who was using them to show the world a resurgent Nazi Germany.

“Olympic Fish!”


“Olympic Fish!” (April 15, 1936)
by Phil Berube (1913-1989)
7.5 x 8.5 in., ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

Berube was a sports cartoonist for the AP. During his career he also took over the art chores on a youth-oriented AP comic strip called “Oh, Diana!” He is also listed as a comic book artist, and writer, for Superman, during the mid-1940s.

The 1936 Summer Olympics were infamously hosting in Berlin, August 1-16, and opened by Chancellor Adolf Hitler. To outdo the 1932 LA Games, Hitler had a new 100,000-seat track and field stadium built. The games were the first to be televised, and radio broadcasts reached 41 countries.

Hitler saw the Games as an opportunity to promote his government and ideals of racial supremacy and antisemitism, and the official Nazi party paper wrote in the strongest terms that Jews should not be allowed to participate in the Games.

The US came in second (to the Germans) in the 1936 medal count.

This cartoon, as a lead-up to the Olympics, features Adolph Kiefer, Johnny Macionis, Ralph Flanagan, and Jack Medica.

Shoot if you must this old grey head!”


Shoot if you must this old grey head!” (May 28, 1943)
by Charles (Chuck) Werner (1909-1997)
12 x 15 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

Charles (Chuck) Werner won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1939 for a cartoon he did for the Daily Oklahoman titled “Nomination for 1938” which allowed for the transfer of the Sudetenland to Hitler’s Germany (October 6, 1938). At age 29, Werner was the youngest person to win the Pulitzer. Werner left the Daily Oklahoman to be the Chief Editorial Cartoonist at the Chicago Sun in 1941 before leaving for the Indianapolis Star in 1947. Throughout his nearly sixty-year career, many U.S. Presidents expressed interest in Werner’s cartoons, including Lyndon B. Johnson and Harry Truman requesting cartoons for their presidential libraries.

Taxation concerns took a back seat to the needs for building up the military, in short order, following Pearl Harbor. The highest fraction of the GDP to ever be spent on defense happened in 1943-45 (41%), double the WW1 spike (22%) and well over the norm of 5-10%, which persists to this day.

The sense of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul was a real concern, that the War would cost so much that it would take years to settle the accounts.

Originally known as Hi-Catoctin, Camp David was built as a camp for federal government agents and their families by the WPA. Construction started in 1935 and was completed in 1938. In 1942, FDR converted it to a presidential retreat and renamed it “Shangri-La.”

On May 12-25 1943, Churchill met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt at “Shangri-La” in the first of many high-profile summits involving the leaders of the Allied powers. As the leaders passed through Frederick, MD, FDR told Churchill the Civil War story of Union patriot, Barbara Freitchie. Then FDR recited a few lines from John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem about her. Churchill responded by reciting the entire Freitchie poem from memory to the astonished American President.

In the poem “Barbara Frietchie”
“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,
But spare your country’s flag,” she said.

Lincoln and Churchill held a shared magnanimity toward conquered foes, a philosophy Whittier reflected. The wartime budget asks for similar magnanimity from the Congress as it anticipates the move into the future.

“The Next Big Rescue Job”


“The Next Big Rescue Job” (April 30, 1939)
by Charles H. Kuhn (1892-1989)
15 x 13 in., ink of paper
Coppola Collection

His father ran a restaurant and proudly displayed his son’s drawings in the eatery’s window. At age 12, he decided to become a cartoonist when the sale of his first cartoon brought him 50 cents.

Kuhn was a cartoonist with Denver’s Rocky Mountain News from 1919 to 1921. In 1922, he signed on with the Indianapolis News, filling the position left open by Gaar Williams departed. Kuhn remained at the Indianapolis News as the paper’s editorial cartoonist for the next 26 years. He later recalled, “My original idea was to set the world afire with my oh, so super-dandy editorial cartoons.”

Kuhn was 55, in 1947, when he decided to change careers. He left editorial cartoons behind when he created “Grandma,” a comic strip inspired by his mother.

The social safety nets and work programs, created by the New Deal democrats, were (naturally) objected to by the republicans. Defense spending was at a post-WW1 low, and the progressive change in the tax structure of the US was new, and constantly seen as taxing the taxes at every step along the way. Farmers and truckers paid taxes on gasoline, passing along the costs to consumers, who paid taxes on the food.

Pulling out of the Great Depression was slow until Pearl Harbor, and this cartoon does such a lovely job of translating a text to images. The poor US taxpayer is under water thanks to high government spending and the threat of growing taxes, and it is up to the republications to come up with a rescue plan. The 1940 Tax Bill passed on June 19, 1939.

“GHQ of the Board of Strategy for the Great Battle of ‘24”


“GHQ of the Board of Strategy for the Great Battle of ‘24” (May 20, 1924)
by John Tinney McCutcheon (1870-1949)
14 x 19 in., ink on drawing board
Coppola Collection

On the Purdue campus, where he was a student, McCutcheon (class of 1889) is memorialized in a coeducational dormitory, John T. McCutcheon Hall. The lobby displays an original of one of his drawings, a nearly life-size drawing of a young man.

After college, McCutcheon moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked at the Chicago Morning News (later: Chicago Record) and then at the Chicago Tribune from 1903 until his retirement in 1946. McCutcheon received the Pulitzer Prize for Cartoons in 1932.

Let me tell you about the World War Adjusted Compensation Act

Many veterans who returned to the United States at the end of World War I were disappointed to find that their old jobs had been taken by domestic workers at wage levels unknown in prewar times.

As early as 1919, the American Legion and the VFW began to lobby for what they called “adjusted compensation.” Critics of financial aid to ex-servicemen preferred to use the more derogatory term “bonus.” Advocates argued that veterans deserved a cash award to balance out the difference between their modest military pay and the high wages enjoyed by civilian war workers.

A compensation measure worked its way through Congress by the fall of 1922, but President Warren Harding vetoed it, part of a drive to avoid all unnecessary government spending. Harding’s veto of the popular measure particularly alienated the Senate Republicans, who thought the President’s defense of fiscal integrity endangered the party’s electoral prospects. You know: politics as usual.

Advocacy groups kept up the pressure and succeeded in gaining passage of the “Soldiers’ Bonus Act” in the spring of 1924. In early negotiations between Congress and President Calvin Coolidge, it became clear that the President would veto any law that proposed immediate cash payments to veterans and that the Senate would sustain that veto. The resulting legislation, popularly called the Insurance Bill, provided the veteran instead with a variety of future payment scenarios rather than cash in the short term.

On May 15, 1924, President Coolidge vetoed a bill granting bonuses to veterans of World War I saying: “patriotism…bought and paid for is not patriotism.” Congress overrode his veto a few days later. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act, or Bonus Act, was passed on May 19, 1924, and granted a benefit to veterans of World War I.

“The Evolutionary Dead End”


“The Evolutionary Dead End” (Non Sequitur, August 14, 2019)
By Wiley Miller (1951-)
8.5 x 14 in., ink on heavy paper
Coppola Collection

In 1991, Wiley launched his popular Non Sequitur strip, eventually syndicated to 700 newspapers as well as published on Go Comics and distributed via email. The strip oscillates between one-panel commentary and stories with recurring characters. In either event, the strips have a history of politically leaning. In February 2019 many newspapers canceled their subscriptions to Non Sequitur after the Sunday comic dated February 10, 2019 included a hidden profane message aimed at President Trump.

The note from Wiley:

“So grotesque and preposterous are the principal characters in this galaxy of clowns and crooks that none but a thrice double ass could have taken them for rulers.”

Attributed to an Officer in the Allied Control Commission during the Nuremberg Trials.

A reminder – Wiley composes these to be able to be cropped as a horizontal or vertical format (see below).

“As Japan Considers International Complications”


“As Japan Considers International Complications” (August 30, 1937)
by John Tinney McCutcheon (1870-1949)
14 x 18 in., ink on drawing board
Coppola Collection

On the Purdue campus, where he was a student, McCutcheon (class of 1889) is memorialized in a coeducational dormitory, John T. McCutcheon Hall. The lobby displays an original of one of his drawings, a nearly life-size drawing of a young man.

After college, McCutcheon moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked at the Chicago Morning News (later: Chicago Record) and then at the Chicago Tribune from 1903 until his retirement in 1946. McCutcheon received the Pulitzer Prize for Cartoons in 1932.

On August 26, 1937, the British ambassador to China (Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen) was wounded when a Japanese plane strafed and attacked his limousine. First hospitalised in Shanghai and then invalided home to Britain, he narrowly escaped paralysis. On August 29, Britain sent a sharp note of protest to the Japanese government demanding a formal apology for the wounding of their ambassador.

The lack of any significant reply from Japan is represented here as the Japanese learning from the past few years in Europe, where Hitler and Mussolini defied the terms of many terms of prior treaties and civil agreements.

Without creating an army of thugs as your enforcers, laws and agreements are social contracts that provide deterrence as much as they provide for consequences. The moment you think you can walk out into the middle of a crowd and commit a crime with no consequence, civil systems begin to break down.