War Posters and the Fascism Analogy

29 July 2005, 2115 EDT

The always smart, always acerbic folks at Coming Anarchy have been getting their chortles by photoshopping Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) political cartoons from the 1940s.

Dr. Seuss was a strong anti-fascist. Many of his cartoons are stinging criticisms of American isolationalists and German sympathizers. These cartoons, among others, are collected in Dr. Seuss Goes to War, by Richard H. Minear. The volume is fascinating; I highly recommend it.

Here’s an example of Chirol’s work:

Apparently this is an old feature of Chirol’s, yet I don’t entirely see the point of all of them. I understand the general relevance, for example, of the critique of isolationalism, but I’m not convinced by the terrorism analogy.

Most Americans (and Europeans) agree that al-Qaeda and its ilk presents a grave danger to the world; we do, however, have very different opinions about how to meet the challenge. In his 1940 and 1941 cartoons, Geisel’s target was those who wanted to stand idly by while the Nazi’s conquered the European continent. It doesn’t take a theoretical physicists to understand the different nature of the threat posed by an ascendent Third Reich and transnational terrorism.

For those who think there is a direct analogy, I offer this World War I recruitment poster:

What are you doing in this “Great War”?

An afterthought: as much as I love Geisel’s political cartoons, some are downright cringe worthy. Here’s one that would warm Michelle Malkin’s heart:

[Modified slightly since original posting]

Filed as: terrorism and political cartoons