Print by Louis Raemaekers
Father and son held hostage by soldiers.
Information Written on Back: No. 8 / 257 / The Hostages.
Additional Information from "Raemaekers' Cartoons: With Accompanying Notes by Well-known English Writers" by Louis Raemaekers Copyright 1916 (http://www.gutenberg.org/files/19126/19126-h/19126-h.htm)
NOTE: Ay', boy—you may well ask.
And the world asks also, and in due time will exact an answer to the last drop of innocent blood.
What have you done?
You have fallen into the hands of the most scientifically organized barbarism the world has ever seen, or, please God, ever will see—to whom, of deliberate choice, such words as truth, honour, mercy, justice, have become dead letters, by reason of the pernicious doctrines on which the race has been nourished—by which its very soul has been poisoned.
Dead letters?—worn-out rags, the very virtues they once represented, even in Germany, long since flung to the dust-heaps of the past in the soulless scramble for power and a place in the sun which no one denied her.
Deliberately, and of malice prepense, the military caste of Prussia has taught, and the unhappy common-folk have accepted, that as a nation they are past all that kind of thing. There is only one right in the world—the might of the strongest. The weak to the wall! Make way for the Hun, whose god is power, and his high-priests the Kaiser and the Krupps.
And so, every nation, even the smallest, on whom the eye of the Minotaur has settled in baleful desire, has said, "Better to die fighting than fall into the hands of the devil!" And they have fought—valiantly, and saved their souls alive, though their bodies may have been crushed out of existence by overwhelming odds. As nations, however, they shall rise again, and with honour, when their treacherous torturers have been crushed in their turn.
And, wherever the evil tide has welled over a land, indemnities, incredible and unreasonable, have been exacted, and hostages for their payment, and for good behaviour under the yoke meanwhile, have been taken.
Woe unto such! In many cases they have simply been shot in cold blood—murdered as brazenly as by any Jack-the-Ripper. Murder, too, of the most despicable—murder for gain—the gain that should accrue through the brutal terrorism of the act and its effect on the rest.
And, if deemed advisable to gloss the crime with some thin veneer of imitation justice for the—unsuccessful—hoodwinking of a shocked and astounded world, what easier than an unseen shot in some obscure corner from a German rifle? Then—"Death to the hostages!—destruction to the village!—a fine of £100,000 on the town!"
Those provocative shots from German rifles have surely been the most profitably engineered basenesses in the whole war. They have justified—but in German eyes only—every committable crime, and they cost nothing—except the souls of their perpetrators.
"It's your money we want—and your land—and your property—and, if necessary, your lives! You are weak—we are strong—and so——!" That is the simple Credo of the Hun.
But for all these things there shall come a day of reckoning and the account will be a heavy one.
May it be exacted to the full—from the rightful debtors!
"What have you done?" You have at all events put the rope round the necks of your murderers, and the whole world's hands are at the other end of it.
NOTE AUTHOR: John Oxenham
CARTOON CAPTION: The Hostages: "Father, what have we done?"
World War 1
|Image size||38 x 29 cm|