Dr. Seuss emerged as a staunch opponent of isolationism in America in the late 1930s as well as early 1940s. He saw inaction in United Sates to German as well as Japanese expansion as appeasement and cowardice. While the world was in a war, America had isolated itself and just sat to look the other countries fight. Dr. Seuss felt the weakness and thought that Americans were leaving their victims exposed to Japanese and Nazi brutality. Again, just before the Pearl Harbor attack, Seuss used to depict isolationists together with appeasers as lazy, cowardly and unintelligent.
First Cartoon by Dr. Seuss
His first political cartoon was called America First that featured a woman narrating a violent tale to her children. The tale emerged from a book entitled “Adolf the Wolf”.
The story as per the caption written by Dr. Seuss implies the wrath that people from the other countries on war with The Nazi were facing. In the form of imagery, Seuss writes on how Adolf the wolf killed children and going ahead to eat them. He also forms another message drive in point where he points out that it does not matter since the children being killed are foreign. Through that point, Seuss referred to America’s position as isolationist.
Implications to United States
The cartoon had a lot to say about United States during the Second World War. For instance, it looks clear that United States had isolated itself from the war leaving weak countries to be taken advantage by the Germany which at that time was under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The mother in the cartoon represents United States, which indicates that the government of United States was aware of the wrath Hitler was imposing to the poor countries yet, it did nothing. It clearly shows that United States felt safe from the Nazi attack and that the war did not matter to them despite the massive death of people. Again, almost all the other countries had joined the war and this could be one of the reasons that frustrated Dr. Seuss into sending such messages to the government of United States. Therefore, United States action was highly needed and the intelligent move was to join European countries and Japanese in fighting the Nazi, Adolf Hitler.
Critically, United States portrayed undesirable culture during that period of the World War II by isolating herself while the other countries were on the battle field. For instance, after the country got declared as a world power after the World War II, it has shown concern and positive attributes through helping the poor, fighting corruption, fighting terrorism and offering humanitarian assistance across the globe. The diligent move remained as the culture of America after the fall of Hitler; therefore, there is quite a big difference in the then culture and the current one.
The cartoon by Seuss portrays concern on a country that would be capable of conquering the rule of Hitler and thus it could be expected to be more of those positive minded people to serve that purpose. The poster uses a mother telling scary story to the children. This scenario can be seen to be effective since the children look afraid, this would be the same message the then government of United States had to understand and join the others in the war zone. The strategy can therefore, be said to be effective since later United Sates joined the war and defeated the rule of Hitler.
The artist, Dr. Seuss, is keen in figurative language as the poster did send a direct message to people. Since Seuss became a cartoonist under New York Times, his illustration had to have meaning. For instance, In America First, Seuss uses a mother who looks excited as she narrates the story to the children. She tells the children not to worry since the affected people are foreign meaning that they are not involved, which meant the American perspective of the situation. The children, on the other hand, look amazed and in shock, implying how bad the situation was, and thus thorough assistance was needed.
Second Cartoon by Dr. Seuss
The above cartoon shows a bird sitting on top of a certain tree on its nest. The place looks like a forest or field where the other trees appear to have fallen down. All the trunks of the fallen trees have names of countries that have been conquered by the Germany. These countries are Poland, France, Greece, Norway and many others. In the process, a black Nazi bird looks like the one cutting down the trees and it is working on England.
Implication on United Sates
The bird perched on top of the tree represents United Sates as she assumes that once the black Nazi is done pecking the last tree it would be tired and thus she should not bother. The picture clearly shows the dangerous situation facing United States and this was in 1941. Germany had defeated almost all the other countries and United States was still not awakened to join the forces in fighting the Germans. The picture again clearly shows that after defeating England, the black Nazi bird will of course turn and start pecking United Sates. Therefore, United Sates was really in great problem that had to be addresses without wastage of time. This was a wake-up call for the country to realize that they were the next target and that Hitler would not settle down as they expect until they are all finished. Later, United States joined the Asians and the European countries in the war that saw the conquering of Germans and the end of World War II. United States was under the rule of Roosevelt during that period.
Seuss was highly critical on noninterventionists, referring to those people who were supporting isolation of United States like Charles Lindbergh. Seuss attacked the republicans and supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his strategies in handling the war. This cartoon and many others led to denouncement of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler.
Just like the America First cartoon, this one also carries great concern on the negligence of United States in entering the war zone. To date United States offers security to all the other countries across the globe with its concern in fighting for human rights. The cartoon shows ironical culture where united States ignore the wrath of the other countries from the one Nazi. This would be against the cultural concern of the current United Sates.
The poster is quite effective on drawing the attention of United States in fighting Germans. The cartoon shows the only option that is left would be attack by the Nazi unless a solution is quickly made. The other countries had already been defeated with England the only remaining though, by the look of thing it was on the process of falling, therefore, United States was definitely next in line. This prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sent troops to fight Germans.
The black Nazi bird represented the Germans and it is the conqueror of the other countries. These other countries are represented by the fallen trees and this implies that they had already been defeated by Germany. The field represents the battle field. Dr. Seuss uses the relaxed bird perched (on its nest) to represent the state of United States. The bird seems to be relaxed not knowing the next tree to be pecked down would be where it nests. These are all creative figures of speech and imageries that give much information on the dangerous status of United States if it remained in isolation.
In conclusion, Dr. Seuss remained as a legendary in politics through his creative and meaningful cartoons that unlighted America to join fellow countries in the fight over Germans. Germans were under the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler who aimed at conquering all the European, Asian countries and United Sates. He used figurative speech in preaching against isolation and bringing down noninterventionists like Charles Lindbergh and supported Franklin Roosevelt in the fight against Germany. He had many cartoons that gave much inspiration to the people as he was constantly fighting isolation. For instance, America First is the first cartoon that he made and it represented a woman telling a tale to her children. The story was about how Adolf was killing children and torturing others. In the story, the woman tells the children of the fact that they were safe since it affected the foreign countries. The woman represented the United States isolation move while the children represented the fear of attack by the Nazi.
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