Presentation on theme: "This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - Cartoon group - Memory and Remembrance Memory and Remembrance: the."— Presentation transcript:
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Cartoon group - Memory and Remembrance Memory and Remembrance: the reappropriation of heroism, conflict and loss. Wars generate powerful collective memories. Perhaps still under the spell of the rhetoric of self-determination emanating from the post- war years, the nation state as been the primary agent in the pursuit of historical memory. However, with the 'memory boom' of the 1990s historians and their kindred researchers began to place greater emphasis on the role of alternative groupings, some which complement nations others which cut across their physical and imagined boundaries, in both remembering and (re)constructing memory. One such site is the municipality. The relationship between memory and urban space has been foregrounded in a recent volume in which Stefan Goebel and Derek Keene ask: “Were public memories of war mapped onto urban places, thus effectively reconfiguring urban space? Or did cityscapes, notably those that had seen military action in war or had some distinctive association with the state or nation, impose their own meanings on memorials and commemorative rites?” [Stefan Goebel and Derek Keene, ‘Towards a Metropolitan History of Total War: An Introduction’, in Stefan Goebel and Derek Keene (eds.), Cities in Battlefields: Metropolitan Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations of Total War (Ashgate, 2011), p. 26]. This section will keep these questions in mind as it explores the responses of cartoonists to memories of heroism, conflict and loss. Drawing on the work of British cartoonists these memories are primarily British and, to a large extent, London-centric in their referents. As we shall see, even when an international present is explored, it is a peculiar Anglo-metropolitan memory which frames the design – a collective memory the cartoonist associates with and, in order to facilitate communication, he hopes his audience will too.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: PC1062 No caption Peter Schrank : The Independent on Sunday(c) The British Cartoon Archive Nelson At the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 Horatio Nelson 'turned a blind eye' by lifting his telescope to his patch in deliberate ignorance of Admiral Parker's signal to withdraw. This incident, and the subsequent memorialisation of Nelson, have since framed many a political satire. Two symbols have assumed particular prominence. One, relating to the above narrative, is explored in the series of cartoons below. The other, seen here, takes Nelson's Column (completed in 1843) as a visual referent. Schrank assumes that a figure in naval attire perched atop a slim column requires little deciphering. Prime Minister John Major suffered a double blow in May 1996 – on 02 May his Conservative party suffered heavy defeats in local elections; and six days later a vote-rigging scandal emerged accusing Tory councillors in Westminster of having sold public housing at a loss in order to change the electoral demographics of the council. As this latter incident took place in 1990, under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher, a beleaguered Major, offering seeds in an allusion to his staunch Thatcherite beliefs, is shat upon by a Thatcherite Crow (which has scared away the traditional pigeons). Notably the excrement visited upon the Thatcher- cum-Nelson atop the column is noticeably smaller.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: MC0929 "You're sure you've got everything under control now, Admiral?" Michael Cummings : Daily Express(c) The British Cartoon Archive When a Soviet spy ring was detected operating from inside the Admiralty of the Royal Navy (eventually leading in October 1962 to the sentencing of William John Christopher Vassall, a clerk at the Admiralty, for 18 years imprisonment), questions were asked over the rigour of the British intelligence agencies. The United States in particular raised concerns over whether their nuclear secrets had been compromised. Britain assured the US they had not. Nonetheless, the competence in an age of Cold War diplomacy of the Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Louis Mountbatten, remained under scrutiny. Here Prime Minister Harold MacMillan asks “You’re sure you’ve got everything under control now, Admiral?” to the beleaguered Mountbatten. For Cummings, he has not. All around is the face of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev. Nelson’s Column, that symbol of British Naval power, has been subverted (note how even the decorations between column and statue repeat the basic facial structure of the caricatured Khrushchev).
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 23585 "What's he mean 'Don't rock the boat'? Are we going somewhere?" Paul Rigby : The Sun(c) The British Cartoon Archive Perhaps the most significant and long- lasting legislative decision of Edward Heath’s single term premiership was to take Britain into the European Economic Community (later European Union) on 01 January 1973. The Labour opposition, still led by Harold Wilson, was fundamentally divided over the issue, and on 13 December the party leadership voted to boycott the EEC Assembly in which they were due to have a presence. Wilson thus becomes Nelson; blissfully ignorant of long-term political realities (‘IGNORE IT – IT’LL GO AWAY!’) and how splits have bogged down his party. To make matters worse his 'shipmates' are the pro-Europe Roy Jenkins (front-right), who led 69 Labour ministers to cross party lines and vote with the Conservatives for entry to the EEC, and the anti-Europe Michael Foot (rear-left). Rigby underlines the ‘I’ in ‘I SEE NO EUROPE’ to highlight Wilson’s distance from the unions, whose far-left leadership had voted en bloc at recent party conferences in favour of Labour support for pan-European market economics. Wilson-cum-Nelson is thus an antiquated isolationist political symbol. He and his ship contrast starkly with the Heath’s modern vessel – splendidly named ‘TED II’ - speeding across the horizon.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: NG1923 "I have the right to be blind sometimes... I really do not see the signal!" Nicholas Garland : Spectator(c) The British Cartoon Archive June 1979 saw the Vietnamese refugee crisis make international news. Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin urged the United States, in a letter to President Carter, to press world leaders to accept proportional numbers of refugees fleeing communist Vietnam. These so-called ‘Boat People’ were accepted by a Jewish state deploying the comparative rhetoric of the Holocaust. Margaret Thatcher, recently installed as British Prime Minister, was more cautious and proposed a UN conference on the matter. For Garland this displayed a critical lack of urgency and compassion. Thatcher thus becomes Nelson, holding a telescope up to her closed eye and hence unable to see any distress signals. Intriguingly, the motivations behind Thatcher’s decision to refuse the Vietnamese boat people refuge in Britain was made clearer in state papers made public in 2009, where the former leader is quoted as saying that there "would be riots in the streets if the government had to put refugees into council houses". Her apparent blindness was then tied inextricably to domestic politics.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 40442 No caption Michael Cummings : Daily Express(c) The British Cartoon Archive This “I see no...” trope has been regularly combined by cartoonists with Nelson’s Column, and the representative meaning the latter possesses. For example, Cummings uses these constructions to reproach Prime Minister Harold Wilson for his denial of opposition claims, in the run up to a General Election, that crime was out of control.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 63953 No caption Patrick Blower : Evening Standard(c) The British Cartoon Archive Blower, in a cartoon published exactly 33 years later, deploys a similar if more ambitious design. In doing so he returns to the column the symbolic grandeur it would have possessed upon construction, now diminished by the presence of much taller structures in the metropolis. The memorial thus watches over the nation once more, yet the Blair-cum- Nelson found atop it has propelled the column to such a height that he is disconnected with that which underpins his platform. We are then presented with a pseudo-Ivory Tower, for whilst Blair says ‘YES!’ to proposed war with Iraq, his people resolutely state ‘NO TO WAR’. Days later on 15 February 2003 tens of millions took part in a coordinated international day on protest. Despite this, US, British, Polish and Australian forces invaded Iraq on 19 March 2003. The combat mission in Iraq ceased officially on 31 August 2010, though a US occupying force remains in place. Casualty estimates differ, but it is claimed that between 500,000 and 1 million people have died as a result of the conflict. Blower’s cartoon suggests that it is Blair and not the British people who must be held accountable for this loss of life.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: GS0703 "His last territorial claim" Sidney 'George' Strube : Daily Express(c) The British Cartoon Archive The Fallen Graves are not funny. Yet death is a feature of not only war but life, and thus as commentators and great cartoonists alike must be able to respond to the symbols loss generates as readily as they are able to for the comic. This section will explore those cartoons which skilfully negotiate this tricky terrain between respect and humour. The suicide of Adolf Hitler on 30 April 1945 did not end the Second World War, but it did in essence end German National Socialism. The expansionist Lebensraum policy of Nazi Germany made Hitler Führer across much of mainland Europe. Now as Strube wryly points out, Hitler has made ‘his last territorial claim’ and indeed the last of his party.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: AH0113 True Colours Arthur Horner : News Chronicle(c) The British Cartoon Archive US military support of South Korea against communist North Korea between June 1950 and July 1953 made the Korean War the first proxy war of the Cold War. The conflict, though now eclipsed in memorial currency by the later war in Vietnam, was remembered in the United States for the brutality of combat young Americans faced. Memorials thus sprang up, the virtual memorial here combining the simplicity of cemeteries built after the First World War and the grandeur (in size if not elaboration) of the biblical cross. Horner, working for the staunchly anti-dictatorial News Chronicle (London), attacks the smiling face of Syngman Rhee, the US-backed strongman President of South Korea. For Horner Rhee’s anti-communism was an excuse for aggression, and thus his duping of the US government into involvement has tainted the memory of those who died in alliance with his cause.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: MW0130 No caption Emmwood [John Musgrave-Wood] : Daily Mail(c) The British Cartoon Archive Graves are emotive spaces. This is not to say, however, that they are flat emotive spaces; spaces that provoke single, uniform responses. Here remembrance and anger intersect, following Associated Press reports on 14 July 1957, that the bodies of 65 Commonwealth soldiers buried on the Greek island of Cos were to be moved to Rhodes due to the cancellation of a lease on a British military cemetery. The move was to make way for what was vaguely described as “building developments”, interpreted here with indignation by Musgrave-Wood as a desire to replace the graves with a public house.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: VY3560 No caption Vicky [Victor Weisz] : Evening Standard(c) The British Cartoon Archive To mark the 50th anniversary of Britain declaring war on Germany, Vicky chose this clean, unfussy design headed by a quote from the war poet Wilfred Owen. Owen’s pacifist prose continues thus: “...when each proud fighter brags | He wars on Death, for lives; not men, for flags”. Within the context of the ongoing conflict in Vietnam, Owen’s words reveal a bitter irony – for while the Cold War may have marginalised wars for flags, it only replaced them with a conflict over political ideology.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: NG2998 No caption Nicholas Garland : Daily Telegraph(c) The British Cartoon Archive As Jay Winter contends, however we might wish to believe otherwise, remembrance is political. When US President Ronald Reagan travelled to West Germany in Spring 1985 to mark the 40th anniversary of VE Day his choice of locations to visit (and indeed those selected by his host Chancellor Helmut Kohl) were consciously political, chosen to foster reconciliation by establishing the events of World War Two as a shared tragedy (these one time combatants were now, of course, allies). The itinerary, however, included a visit to Kolmeshohe Cemetery at Bitburg, a site at which 49 members of the Waffen SS were buried. When this was leaked to the press a huge controversy ensued (interestingly Reagan’s chief of staff, Michael Denver, had failed to notice the names on the graves on a preparatory visit due to heavy snowfall). Despite protests from Jewish Americans, Reagan pressed on with the visit and joined Kohl on 5 May 1985 to lay wreaths at a wall of remembrance. The visit was ‘saved’ by former Nazi Luftwaffe pilot and later NATO General Johannes Steinhoff, who in an impromptu act reached and shook the hand of his former belligerent General Matthew Ridgway, commander of the 82nd Airborne during World War Two. This, alongside a well pitched speech from the ever theatrical Reagan, gained the visit unexpected credit. Garland anticipates how Reagan was expected to emerge from the Bitburg, using the exhumation of Yorick in Shakespeare’s Hamlet to mock Reagan (who famously was a Hollywood actor before turning to politics). While Hamlet touchingly remembers the court jester he once knew, Reagan turns in horror from the Nazi before him (which, as a side note, is possibly a visual quotation to the Nazi villains in Steven Spielberg’s 1981 film Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, one of the highest- grossing films of the decade).
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: NG5359 Cartloads to the Cemetery Nicholas Garland : Daily Telegraph(c) The British Cartoon Archive Garland’s stark and brutal design copies from Francisco Goya’s print of the same name, part of a protest series entitled Los Desastres de la Guerre created between 1810 and 1820 in response to the Peninsular War of 1808-14. Replacing Goya’s men with UN soldiers, Garland’s image metamorphesises into a satirical cartoon, deriding the reluctance of the international community to intervene and thus attempt to stop what was now a mass genocide against Muslims by Bosnian Serbs.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: PC4937 From the two minutes silence to the three minute warning... Peter Brookes : The Times(c) The British Cartoon Archive Between 16 and 18 December 1998 the United States and the United Kingdom jointly enacted a bombing campaign on Iraqi facilities suspected to be manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. Tensions between Iraq and the West had been increasing throughout 1998, particularly due to the obstruction of UN weapons inspectors by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in November 1998. US/UK air-strikes were threatened and called-off with regularity. Days after the 80th anniversary of the end of World War One, Brookes uses the iconic symbol of a Great War cemetery to caution world leaders on the folly of conflict. This visual device asks politicians to not ignore possible lessons the past can offer, notably when, as he writes, we have moved in just a few days ‘from two minutes silence to the three minute warning...’.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 71849 No caption Steve Bell : The Guardian(c) The British Cartoon Archive 56 civilians, including 4 suicide bombers, were killed by terrorist attacks on the London transport system on Thursday, 7 July 2005. Bell’s beautiful and serene design brilliantly captures the national mood.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: GS0473 The only international situation to-day where real understanding exists Sidney 'George' Strube : Daily Express(c) The British Cartoon Archive The Poppy The battles at Ypres during the Great War, on ‘Flanders Fields’, are immortalised in British (and to a less extent Commonwealthian) memory for the poppies which grew spontaneously on the graves of the hundreds of thousands on men who lost their lives in this locality. From 1921 the Poppy has been the symbol of this loss; sold to raise money for the Royal British Legion and the Haig Fund. Few, as Strube foregrounds, should need reminding of the importance of observing Armistice Day ceremonies.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: GAA394813 Published caption: "We didn't have all this Cordon Bleu when I was your batman in the last... Giles; Ronald Carl (1916-1995) : Sunday Express(c) The British Cartoon Archive Between 1946 and 1995 state remembrance was held on the second Sunday of November (Remembrance Sunday) as opposed to 11 November (Armistice Day). Those occasions when both days coincided were cause for heightened ceremonial and, as Giles tells us, celebration. His jolly veterans drink, flirt and joke in 'remembrance' of their fallen colleagues. Their mockery of modern pretension recalls the British sitcom Dad’s Army, which though having finished in 1977, remained a feature of BBC television schedules throughout the 1980s.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 43248 No caption Noel Ford : Daily Star(c) The British Cartoon Archive The Poppy is not, however, without its politics. These two cartoons explore the tensions between traditional groups of poppy wearing veterans, and the white ‘peace’ poppy worn increasingly by pacifists. Although the white poppy has been promoted and distributed by the Peace Pledge Union since 1934, on 28 October 1986 Robert Key, Conservative MP for Salisbury, raised the ‘issue’ in Prime Minister’s Questions, stating: "On Sunday week my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and other party leaders will represent us at the annual Cenotaph service. Does my right hon. Friend share my deep distaste at the proposals of the so-called peace movement to substitute white poppies for red poppies? This causes deep offence to the vast majority of people and, incidentally, reduces the income of the Royal British Legion". Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher responded thus: "I share my hon. Friend's deep distaste. The Cenotaph service is a national occasion. It brings help and comfort to all our citizens and, I am sure, will continue to do just that". Key’s remarks may have been contemptuously misinformed, yet it was Thatcher’s sharing of his ‘deep distaste’ which provides the context to these cartoons.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 43249 'I'd dip that white poppy in your red wine if I were you, son - here come the local old sweats!" Jak [Raymond Jackson] : Mail on Sunday(c) The British Cartoon Archive Both images display remarkable ambiguity considering these designs appeared in right-leaning newspapers - for although one might read them are rebukes of the white poppy, the zealous and clannish actions of the red poppy wearing veterans highlight concerns over the compulsion associated with the custom.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: PC4917 No caption Steve Bell : The Guardian(c) The British Cartoon Archive On 11 November 1998, the eightieth anniversary of the end of the First World War, Steve Bell takes this discourse one step further by highlighting the distance between the reality of early twentieth century conflict and the flag waving politicians glorifying war and appropriating symbols of remembrance for their own purposes.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: SBD0405 No caption Steve Bell : The Guardian(c) The British Cartoon Archive In the accompanying cartoons, Tony Blair is singled out as a target of Bell’s frustrations. This idea remains powerful in the rhetoric of the British pacifist left. Indeed, in 2007 it was given greater weight by Harry Patch, the last surviving solider to have fought in the trenches of the First World War, who wrote in his memoir The Last Fighting Tommy that "politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves, instead of organising nothing better than legalised mass murder".
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 59717 No caption Steve Bell : The Guardian(c) The British Cartoon Archive
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 59738 Decent values... Bin Laden values... Peter Brookes : The Times(c) The British Cartoon Archive The ongoing war in Afghanistan, which began in October 2001, has allowed cartoonists to make use of the poppy symbol for different purposes. In short, cartoonists have wryly connected the cultivation of the opium poppy, the major source of income in Afghanistan, with the remembrance poppy.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 76527 No caption Peter Brookes : The Times(c) The British Cartoon Archive
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 77027 Record Poppy Crop Expected in Afghanistan Nicholas Garland : Daily Telegraph(c) The British Cartoon Archive While Brookes subverts the image of the poppy seller for satiric purposes, Garland makes a less sanguine point. For Garland, the ‘record poppy crop expected in Afghanistan’ is one of dead coalition soldiers.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 67936 No caption Bill Caldwell : The Sun(c) The British Cartoon Archive Though retaining a clear connection to war and respect for the dead, buying a poppy is also a custom. Part of that custom involves the poppy seller – typically a veteran or widow of a veteran - selling poppies on the street to passers-by and offering them a pin with which to attach their mark of remembrance. When that custom is perceived to be subverted, as in the case of concerns over health and safety, responses tend to appropriate the custom itself rather than the function of that custom. Here Caldwell takes a jovial look at typically misplaced reflections on ‘political correctness gone mad’. Over-analysis of the design could make the connection between grenades and remembrance poppies seem distasteful; yet, ultimately, it is little more than a joyously irreverent and superbly executed joke.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 80090 No caption Paul Thomas : Daily Express(c) The British Cartoon Archive The 2009 UK Parliament expenses scandal led to public calls for greater accountability from politics, and the revelation that expenses had been claimed without receipts was particularly damaging. Here the poppy is used as a powerful and loaded symbol. A politician buying his poppy on expenses is disqualified from the associations of character, and the outward display of a poppy may contain: the support of charity, respect for both the dead and military institutions, national pride and a sense of collective identity.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: LSE3177 Beginnings of fellow-feeling Low; David (1891-1963) : Evening Standard(c) The British Cartoon Archive Coventry The final air raid of the two year Nazi offence against Coventry came on 3 August 1942. Although an industrial city, the bombings represented a ‘terror raid’ aimed at destabilising civilian economic activity as much as destroying specific military targets. Here Low imagines the scene in Düsseldorf - a city still reeling from a sustained air assault by Allied forces through Summer 1942. The people of Düsseldorf are not marked as Nazis, neither are they caricatured as German, rather they are an anonymous human community - one that is poor, hungry and broken. In this scenario the ideologies underpinning conflict are lost. Instead a virtual international community of suffering is established between Briton, Germans, Poles (Warsaw was heavily damaged in Luftwaffe raids preceding the siege of Warsaw in September 1939), the Dutch (Rotterdam city centre was levelled by a German air blitz on 14 May 1940), and Slavs (Belgrade was bombed by Germany 6-10 April 1941 in a political- terrorist act designed to punish the city for the March revolution against the Axis Powers).
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 00856 What happened to Him? Arthur Wragg : Sunday Pictorial(c) The British Cartoon Archive On 25 May 1962 the new Coventry Cathedral was consecrated. All but levelled by a ferocious German air raid on 14 November 1940, a competition was held in 1950 to restore this emblematic symbol of British resistance. A design submitted by Basil Spence was chosen, and work on the structure commenced in 1956. Brutally modernist the building caused much initial consternation, not least because of the unconventional (from a British perspective) fleche cross which was lowered onto the structure by helicopter. This series contains a snapshot of responses from British cartoonists to the new Cathedral. Although not explicitly concerned with war and remembrance, the attention granted to the Cathedral’s rebuilding and consecration provides a sense of the meaning of the structure to Coventrians and Britons alike in the 1960s. This, I suggest, was only possible with implicit reference to notions of wartime stoicism and the rhetoric of post-war civil and societal reconstruction.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 00829 'Now then, clever, what do you think we're building? Coventry Cathedral?' Illingworth, Leslie Gilbert, 1902-1979 : Daily Mail(c) The British Cartoon Archive
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 01098 "I don't care if it did work once before as a protest, Bertha, stop larking about and come in and ge... Emmwood [John Musgrave-Wood] : Daily Mail(c) The British Cartoon Archive
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: GA1881 No caption Giles; Ronald Carl (1916-1995) : Sunday Express(c) The British Cartoon Archive
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: JL1749 Smiling Through: Blitz Birds / "I give you my word, Martha, I've never seen such worms." Joseph Lee : Evening Standard(c) The British Cartoon Archive The Spirit of the Blitz “We'll meet again | Don't know where | Don't know when | But I know we'll meet again | Some sunny day | Keep smiling through | Just like you always do | 'Till the blue skies | Drive the dark clouds far away” The words of Vera Lynn resonated through wartime, fostering optimism at a time of grave concern. 'Smiling Through', Joseph Lee's wartime series for the Evening Standard, captures this spirit as it light-heartedly negotiates the novel sights of the wartime metropolis. Hose pipes became a familiar sight in London during 1940-1, as they were used for the dousing of bombed and burning houses. Lee's 'Blitz Birds' (resembling the ever chipper Wren) are designed to raise spirits, one joyously commenting "I give you my word, Martha, I've never seen such worms".
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: JL1682 Smiling through: Warden's despair / "Yes, quite blitzy to-night. I'm glad I came out with my umbrell... Joseph Lee : Evening Standard(c) The British Cartoon Archive ARP wardens are a familiar feature of popular culture since the World War Two, volunteers who would not only enforce blackout conditions but also hurry Londoners from their houses and into air-raid shelters. That Lee would satirise such a familiar scenario involving an ARP warden, tells us a great deal about the so-called 'Blitz Spirit' in 1941. Here a seemingly oblivious woman, guided by a comically exasperated ARP warden to a shelter, tries to engage her saviour in conversation. "Yes, quite blitzy to-night”, she says, “I'm glad I came out with my umbrella”. To some extent, cartoons such as this act to deflect and suppress a horrific reality. Perhaps they also chide what might be considered inappropriate and selfish behaviour, akin to the famous 'Careless Talk Costs Lives' campaign. Yet as befits the best cartoons there is a slippery, ambiguity to the design. Read less earnestly, the cartoon projects the sense that Londoners should continue as normal, in doing so tolerating the eccentricities of others.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 79261 No caption Iain Green : The Guardian(c) The British Cartoon Archive This sort of grace and humour under extreme pressures gave rise to the notion of the 'Spirit of the Blitz'. The phrase 'Keep Calm and Carry On' is today perhaps most closely associated with this memory, and is thus often used by cartoonists to evoke the blitz spirit. On 4 June 2009 the Labour Party suffered heavy losses in local and European Parliament elections. They were beaten to third in both polls - trailing the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in local councils (-4 councils, -291 councillors, -1 overall vote); and the Conservatives and the UK Independence Party in Europe (-6 seats, - 6.9% overall vote). Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown vowed to fight on, and announced the next day a major cabinet reshuffle, notably moving Alan Johnson (popular in some circles as a 'man-of-the- people' figure) to the post of Home Secretary. Green imagines Brown as displaying an absurd and prosthetic iteration of wartime stoicism. Johnson sees the only positive that could come from the situation, though it is unclear what bad news Brown may choose to bury beneath the rubble that is his premiership.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 80476 'It was bad enough with wild boar, now we've got woolly mammoths in the uncollected rubbish' Michael Heath : Mail on Sunday(c) The British Cartoon Archive Wild boar were on the loose. Fodder for a light- hearted '...and finally...' news item perhaps. Yet the story became the platform for this absurd fantasy. A couple, their dress quintessentially English, reel as woolly mammoths tuck into their rubbish bins. Their home is littered with quaint items and trinkets – note the classic radio, novelty teapot and the (post)seasonal biscuit box – among which we find a mug upon which is written 'Keep Calm and Carry On'.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 82942 No caption Jonathan Pugh : Daily Mail(c) The British Cartoon Archive Crosswords are an important business, solved only through close attention and an aversion to distractions. So if your wife is snatched away by King Kong there is surely only one appropriate response – glare with disapproval, keep calm, and carry on.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: PC6083 "The Nazis are back." Tom Johnston : Daily Mirror(c) The British Cartoon Archive While the cartoons above deploy unique spirit and character through the lens of individuality, many cartoons draw upon the memory of community spirit associated with slogans such as ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. Here an elderly couple stand in front of a memorial to the courage of east Londoners during the Blitz. They liken the spate of attacks on the community's black and Asian residents to Nazi bombings, thus denying the veracity of racist and anti-multicultural voices. Traditionally a multiracial area of the metropolis, east London has been the home of large Jewish, Huguenot and Irish populations since the eighteenth century. Here an Eastender memory of the Blitz recognises the debt owed to this (past and present) immigrant community, and refuses to distinguish their efforts from those of white Anglo-Saxon Londoners.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: NEB1006 "Since the fares increase, camps like this have sprung up on Blitz sites all over the City." NEB [Ronald Niebour] : Daily Mail(c) The British Cartoon Archive St. Paul's Cathedral is a powerful symbol of post-Blitz collective identity. As Goebel and Keene write the landmark had ‘taken on a new cultural and topographical significance following the publication of the ‘war’s greatest picture’ in the Daily Mail in December 1940. The image, carefully doctored, showed the cathedral shrouded in smoke, but unharmed in the midst of the burning city’ [Goebel and Keene, p. 23]. Here, under the shadow of this great edifice, Ronald Niebour imagines City workers unable to afford rail fares reinvigorating the Blitz spirit and establishing temporary camps on destroyed areas of the capital. In 1952 the customary fare concession to those in volunteer camps travelling to the countryside to pick Spring crops was withdrawn. As the Minister of Agriculture Thomas Dugdale stated in the House of Commons: “Our greatest need is for volunteers for the root harvest in October and November, and my Department will continue to refund rail fare up to 25s. on a return ticket to volunteers who attend the camps during those months."
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 49838 No caption Jak [Raymond Jackson] : Evening Standard(c) The British Cartoon Archive In the early 1980s British Airways was expanding in preparation for privatisation. By August 1986 the company had negotiated an order in excess of 50 units for the now iconic Boeing 747, before finally becoming a private concern in February 1987. BA's appeal to international markets rested on the company attracting tourists to England, and specifically London. Here Jak's satire plays on the perceived image of London among New Yorkers, with ridiculous results – the capital is first home to colonials dressed as Beefeaters; and secondly a city under aerial attack. For our purposes it is interesting to note that London, and the community of people who inhabit it contemporaneously (as in those who are not the 'historic' Londoners of the right-most poster), are defined here by their tin hat resistance to the Blitz.
This document was created at The British Cartoon Archive - http://www.cartoons.ac.uk Record code: 25457 "Remember the good old blitz, when we had nightingales singing around here?" Paul Rigby : News of the World(c) The British Cartoon Archive An elderly man sits on a rocking chair, taking the air and selling newspapers to passers-by. Either side of him are headlines indicating the impact of the 1973 oil crisis and subsequent stock market crash on the British economy. Society as it had optimistically rebuilt itself in the post-war years is seemingly under threat. Rigby's design here is carefully judged – the lantern illuminating a small area of an otherwise darkened street recalling the Blitz blackouts. His protagonist reaffirms this visual quotation stating: “Remember the good old blitz, when we had nightingales singing around here?”. The eye now moves to the leering, sinister and drooling vultures ready to pounce – a bird symbolically quite appropriate for a square which housed what was supposed to be London's most haunted house, No. 50 Berkeley Square. But of course the memory here of the Blitz is a distorted one. The 'good old blitz' is a figment of the imagination far from the reality of destruction, death and total war panic. This is not to say Rigby believes this fiction, rather that he identifies a kernel of belief in this fiction in British rhetoric. For all their complaints, the situation in 1973 really could be much (much) worse.