Object Record

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Catalog Number 1983.120.89
Object Name Print
Accession number 1983.120
Description Print by Louis Raemaekers

Ghostly serpent attacking sleeping soldier.

Information Written on Back: No. 116 / 207 / The gas attac [sic].

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: There is an order of minds that intuitively distrusts Science, detracts from the force of her achievements, and contends that devotion to machinery ends by making men machines. Many who argue thus have fastened on Germany's new war inventions as proof that Science makes for materialism and opposes the higher values of humanity and culture.

This is special pleading, for against the destructive forces discovered and liberated by German chemists in this war, one has only to consider the vast amelioration of human life for which modern science has to be thanked. Because art has been created to evil purpose, shall we condemn pictures or statues? Because the Germans have employed gas poisons in warfare, are we to condemn the incalculable gifts of organic chemistry?

Look at the eye of Louis Raemaekers' snake. That is the answer. It is the force behind this application of it that has brought German Science to shame. A precious branch of human knowledge has been prostituted by lust of blood and greed of gain until Science, in common with all learning, comes simply to be regarded by the masters of Germany as one more weapon in the armoury, one more power to help win "The Day." Every culture is treated in their alembic for the same purpose.

We may picture the series of experiments that went to perfection of their poison gas; we may see their Higher Command watching the death of guinea-pig, rabbit, and ape with increasing excitement and enthusiasm as the hideous effects of their discovery became apparent. Be sure an iron cross quickly hung over the iron heart that conceived and developed this filthy arm; for does it not offer the essence—quintessence of all "frightfulness?" Does it not challenge every human nerve-centre by its horror? Does it not, once proclaimed, by anticipation awake those very emotions of dread and dismay that make the stroke more fatal when it falls?

These people pictured their snake paralyzing the enemy into frozen impotence; the floundering Prussian psychology that cuts blocks with a razor and regards German mind as the measure of all mind, anticipated that poison gas would appeal to British and French as it has appealed to them. But it was not so. Their foresight gave them an initial success in the field; it slew a handful of men with additions of unspeakable agony—and rekindled the execration and contempt of Civilization.

As an arm, poison gas cannot be considered conspicuously successful, since it is easily encountered; but for the Allies it had some value, since it weighted appreciably the scale against Germany in neutral minds and added to the universal loathing astir at the heart of the world. Only fear now holds any kingdom neutral: there is not an impartial nation left on earth.

NOTE AUTHOR: Eden Phillpotts

People Raemaekers, Louis
Subjects World War 1
Political cartoons
Gas warfare
Artist Raemaekers, Louis
Title The Gas Fiend
Image size 38 x 29.1 cm