Political Cartoon Analysis
By: Suzie Han and Eric Corkum
Our Political Cartoon Analysis
Little Goldilocks Riding Hood, 1939 (By Herbert Block)
Subject: Poland facing the threats imposed by Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany
Context: Germany and Russia both secretly planned to invade Poland and to divide it in half after signing the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. The invasion of Poland took place on September 1, 1939. Thus, Poland was invaded by the two nations throughout World War II.
Symbolism- The Goldilocks/Red Riding Hood character represents innocent Poland; vicious wolf symbolizes violent Nazi Germany; sleepy bear symbolizes intimidating (but not as vicious) Soviet Russia. The appearance of two villains and the double identity of the female represent how Poland was terrorized by two threatening nations.
Exaggeration- The wolf's scary appearance exaggerates the aggressive nature of Germany. The frantic, jumpy stage the female has exaggerates her fear.
Labeling- The female is labeled as Poland based upon her hood; the wolf is labeled as Nazi Germany upon his pillow; the bear is labeled as Soviet Russia upon his pillow as well.
Analogy- The cartoon compares two "bad ending" childhood tales morphed together to two terrorizing invasions taken place in the same nation.
Irony- The two villains are seen together even though Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were against each other.
Reason: The cartoon is directed to primarily the Americans during this time period to possibly convince them to help Poland out of these invasions.
"Light! More light!" - Goethe's last words, 1933 (By Herbert Block)
Subject: Nazi influence on German civilization
Context: After the German's defeat during World War I, the Nazis enforced political violence which deteriorated the civilization of Germany.
Symbolism- The hat symbolizes Nazi party, and the melting candle symbolizes the gradual destruction of Germany's civilization
Exaggeration- Exaggeration is not present.
Labeling- Swastika symbol on hat labels the hat's Nazi origin; candle holder is labeled as German Civilization.
Analogy- The hat suppressing the candle's light is an analogy for the Nazi party suppressing the progress of German civilization.
Irony- Since the hat is covering the light of the candle, the light itself is burned out causing it to no longer fulfill its purpose.
Reason: The cartoon was created to showcase the negative impact the Nazis had upon the entire German civilization and persuade other nations involved during the World Wars to put an end to the Nazi influence.
"No Foreign entanglements," 1935 (By Herbert Block)
Subject: The U.S. Senate's disapproval of U.S. involvement in international commerce
Context: Americans debated on advancing to other nations because the nation did not want to be involved in another war. Isolationists advised neutrality to prevent war, on the other hand, interventionists thought involvement in international commerce would provide aid to the Allies, thus, preventing war in America.
Symbolism - The flags, planes, and ships represent the American economic interests in other parts of the world; the man standing near Washington D.C with his hand sticking out represents the U.S Senate and its refusal to allow international economic involvement within the nation.
Exaggeration - The size of the U.S Senate compared to the amount of flags/ships/planes represents the Senate's weak impact on the decision to allow international economic involvement; the number of ships/planes/flags covering the world exaggerates the amount of economic influence the Americans had already created.
Labeling - The man is specifically labeled as the U.S Senate. The ships/planes/flags are also specifically labeled as the American commercial interests.
Analogy- The cartoon is a direct representation of the American commercial interests and U.S Senate. Therefore, the cartoon is not compared to anything else in particular Therefore, analogy is not present.
Irony- The man, who takes up little space on the globe, is trying to stop the American international economic interests by simply sticking out his hand even though this does not impact the ships/flags/planes that are scattered across the globe
Reason: The cartoon was published to persuade the Senate to stop forcing their isolationist policies upon the Americans since they have already been involved with several international economies. Therefore, there was no purpose in enforcing such policies since there was no way to control the involvement that had already been created.