Print by Louis Raemaekers
Information Written on Back: No. 7 / 613 / The Shield of Rousselaere. / The population of Rounelere used as a screen to advance against zilfa fire
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: The climax of meanness and selfishness would seem to be reached when an armed man shelters himself behind the unarmed; yet it is not the climax, for here the artist depicts a body of German troops sheltering themselves behind women, calculating that the Belgians will not fire on their own countrywomen and unarmed friends, and that so the attack may safely gain an advantage.
There is a studied contrast between the calm, orderly march of the troops with shouldered arms and the huddled, disorderly progress to which the townspeople are compelled. These are not marching; they are going to their death. Several of the women have their hands raised in frantic anguish, their eyes are like the eyes of insanity, and one at least has her mouth open to emit a shriek of terror. Two of the men are in even worse condition; they are collapsing, one forward, one backward, with outstretched hands as if grasping at help. The rest march on, courageously or stolidly. Some seem hardly to understand, some understand and accept their fate with calm resignation.
One old woman walks quietly with bowed head submissive. In the front walks a priest, his hand raised in the gesture of blessing his flock. The heroism of the Catholic priesthood both in France and in Belgium forms one of the most honourable features of the Great War, and stands in striking contrast with the calculating diplomatic policy of the Papacy. There is always the same tendency in the "chief priests" of every race and period to be tempted to sacrifice moral considerations to expediency, and to prefer the empty fabric of an imposing Church establishment to the people who make the Church. But the clergy of Belgium are there to prove what the Church can do for mankind. This cartoon would be incomplete and would deserve condemnation as inartistic if it were not redeemed by the priest and the old woman.
NOTE AUTHOR: William Mitchell Ramsay
CARTOON CAPTION: The Shields of Rosselaere
World War 1
|Title||The Shields of Rosselaere|
|Image size||37.8 x 25.3 cm|