Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 1983.120.75
Object Name Print
Accession number 1983.120.75
Description Print by Louis Raemaekers

Soldier/tramp with poisons.

Information Written on Back: No. 96 / 55 / I was a convict but now I am a spreader of kultur.

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: Prussia in every war has betrayed that peculiar mark of barbarism consisting in using the intellectual weapons of a superior, but not knowing how to use them. It is still a matter of mystery to the directing Prussian mind why the sinking of the Lusitania should have shocked the world. A submarine cannot take a prize into port. The Lusitania happened to be importing goods available in war, therefore the Lusitania must be sunk. All the penumbræ of further consideration which the civilized man weighs escape this sort of logic. Similarly, the Prussian argues, if an armed man is prepared to surrender, convention decrees that his life should be spared. Therefore, if an armed man be just fresh from the murder of a number of children, he has but to cry "Kamerad" to be perfectly safe. And Prussia foams at the mouth with indignation whenever this strict rule of conduct is forgotten in the heat of the moment. The use of poison in the field which Prussia for the first time employed (and reluctantly compelled her civilized opponents to reply to) is in the same boat. A shell bursts because solid explosive becomes gaseous. To use shell which in bursting wounds and kills men is to use gas in war; therefore if one uses gas in the other form of poison, disabling one's opponent with agony, it is all one. Precisely the same barbaric use of logic—which reminds one of the antics of an animal imitating human gestures—will later apply to the poisoning of water supplies, or the spreading of an epidemic. It is soldierly and excites no contempt or indignation to strike at your enemy with a sword or shoot a pellet of lead at him in such a fashion that he dies. What is all this foolish pother about killing him with bacilli in his cisterns or with a drop of poison in his tea? Men in war have burned groups of houses with the torch in anger or for revenge. Why distinguish between that and the methodical sprinkling of petroleum from a hose by one gang and the equally methodical burning of the whole town house by house with little capsules of prepared incendiary stuff? The rule always applies—but only against the opponent: never to one's self. From that attitude of mind the Prussian will never emerge. We shall, please God, see that mood in all its beauty in later stages of the war, when the coercion of the Prussian upon his own soil leads to acts indefensible by Prussian logic. We have already had a taste of this sort of reasoning when the royalties fled from Karlsruhe and when the murderers upon the sinking Zeppelin received the reward due to men who boast that they will not keep faith.

NOTE AUTHOR: Hilaire Belloc

CARTOON CAPTION: The Ex-convict / "I was a 'lifer,' but they found I had many abilities for bringing civilization amongst our neighbours, so now I am a soldier."
People Raemaekers, Louis
Subjects World War 1
Political cartoons
Gas warfare
Relation Show Related Records...
Artist Raemaekers, Louis
Title The Ex-convict
Image size 38 x 25.2 cm