Political Cartoons Analysis

By: Haley Tilley and Shreya Angana

#28-Mussolini

Published 1941


Analysis

Historical Context:

Italy, Germany, and Japan joined forces as the Axis Powers for WWII. Germany was the main superpower, Japan fought a pacific front, and Italy was defeated fairly early on and had to be almost completely supported by Germany.


Symbolism

Weapons (military might), planes , working into shape, open mouthed yelling; Italy is made out to be brave and strong when in reality they did not contribute much to the Axis Powers in WWII.



Exaggeration

Mussolini's figure and stance make him look tough and stoic. Also his countenance and chest hair, add to his apparent "Manliness". *Exaggerating the leader's appearance is a common strategy used in communist/fascist propaganda.



Labeling

Only Mussolini is in the spotlight, highlighting fascist Italy's beliefs-loyalty to the leader.


Analogy

Italy's supposed military might and power versus the reality of their situation (they didn't really participate much in WWII-ended up getting stuck in North Africa)


Irony

Italy is made out to be powerful and domineering, when in reality, they got lost and didn't participate much in the actual war; quickly being defeated by Britain and becoming completely dependent on Nazi Germany)




Questions

Subject: WWII era fascist Italy


Opinion: Italy's position/reputation as an Axis power was/is skewed because they didn't contribute much to the Axis war effort.


Supporters: Italian Nationalists, fascist WWII era


Persuaded? Not really, because we were already informed about the subject and shared the cartoonist's opinions from the beginning; we didn't have to be persuaded to agree.


More Persuasion? Could have used more exaggeration and symbolism to make the point obvious to those who don't know the history.


#101- Invasions of the Corporate Body Snatchers

Published April 21, 1985



Analysis

History:

1950's-1960's- Red Scare was sweeping through America; mass fear and hysteria about the possible spread of communism into America. Americans were terrified about Soviet communism subverting American values (hence Invasion of The Body Snatchers). McCarthyism became the policy for which to draw out these "communists" from the American public; people were suspicious, accused each other, and were heavily investigated.


Symbolism

Title alludes to the popular anticommunist movie from the 1950's, Invasion of the Body Snatchers; pod people take over regular people.



Exaggeration

The pod people (corporate raiders) are heavily cartoonized with exaggerated bat/ghost like figures; there are also proportional differences in the characters of the cartoon.


Labeling

Stock manipulation, junk bond finances, raiders, green-mail specialists, take-over tactics; keeps symbolism going- bad people pushing out good people


Analogy

Invasion of the body snatchers anti communism versus modern body snatchers- corporate raiders


Irony

Communism vs. corporate raiding- history




Questions

Subject: Modern "body snatching"


Opinion: Large corporations are taking over the little people. Americans overreacting?


Supporters: Americans, American politicians


Persuaded? Not really, because we were already informed about the subject and shared the cartoonist's opinions from the beginning; we didn't have to be persuaded to agree.


More Persuasion? More destruction/consequences of corporate raiding.




#103- Arms Payoff for Hostage Release

Published November 11, 1986



Analysis

Historical Context:
The Reagan administration were staunch anti-communists. The 1980s were at the zenith of the Cold War between the USSR and the US. Reagan was opposed to anything related to the Soviets/communism, and his terms were filled with now declassified, clandestine operations, including the Iran-Contra affair, a scandal which exposed the US selling weapons to Iran through Israel as the middleman and then channeling the profits into the Contras-Sandinistas conflict happening in Nicaragua. The Contras, although they were barbaric and murderous, were anti-communist, which was enough for Reagan to secretly and illegally (without congressional approval) support them against the Soviet backed Sandinistas. Although Nicaragua was one of many pseudo war fronts between the US and USSR, the Reagan administration came under a lot of heat and criticism when the affair became public.


Symbolism

Shady character behind the scenes


Exaggeration

Terrorist looking guy; the events depicted in this cartoon are set pre-Al-Qaeda modern terrorism


Labeling

Title: US sold weapons to Isreal to pass to Iran


Analogy

Sneakiness/secracy of both parties


irony

Theocratic, oppressive Iranians got payoff from non negotiating America for hostage release




Questions

Subject: Reagan idministarion Iran-contra affair


Opinion: Shady untrustworthy counter machivallian approach to anti comunism


Persuaded? Not really, because we were already informed about the subject and shared the cartoonist's opinions from the beginning; we didn't have to be persuaded to agree.


More Persuasion? Perfect!