When his cartoons began to reach America toward the end of 1916 this country was neutral. It is with peculiar satisfaction, therefore, that I base this brief foreword upon press extracts published prior to America’s participation in the war. If it were possible to discover today an individual who was entirely ignorant as to the causes and conduct of the war, he would, after an inspection of a hundred or more of these cartoons, probably utter his conviction somewhat as follows:
“I do not believe that these drawings have the slightest relation to the truth; I do not believe that it is possible for such things to happen in the twenti-eth century.”
He would be quite justified, in his ignorance of what has happened in Europe, in expressing such an opinion, just as any of us, with the possible exception of the disciples of Bernhardi himself, would have been justified in expressing a similar view in July, 1914.
What is the view of all informed people today? “To Raemaekers the war is not a topic, or a subject for charity. It is a vivid heartrending reality,” says the New York “Evening Post,” “and you come away from the rooms where his cartoons now hang so aware of what war is that mental neutrality is for you a horror. If you have slackened in your determination to find out, these cartoons are a slap in the face.
Raemaekers drives home a universal point that concerns not merely Germans, but every country where royal decrees have supreme power. Shall one man ever be given the power to seek his ends, using the people as his pawns? We cannot look at the cartoons and remain in ignorance of exactly what is the basis of truth on which they are built.”
The “Philadelphia American” likens Raemaekers to a sensitized plate upon which the spirit which brought on the war has imprinted itself forever, and adds:
“What he gives out on that subject is as pitilessly true as a photograph. They look down upon us in their naked truth, those pictures which are to be, before the judgment-seat of history, the last indictment of the German nation. Of all impressions, there is one which will hold you in its inexorable grip: it is that Louis Raemaekers has told you the truth.”