History,  Media

Herblock nailed it

Back in October, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the German Democratic Republic (aka East Germany), The Morning Star and the Socialist Unity blog published an affectionate remembrance of that Stalinist police state now happily consigned to the dustbin of history (to borrow a phrase from Leon Trotsky and Ronald Reagan).

That account included a highly dubious assertion:

The first GDR government was composed of individuals with a track record of active opposition to the nazi regime. Many had spent years in concentration camps, prison and exile. They returned determined to build a democratic, anti-fascist Germany.

I dealt with that here.

But I was thumbing through an old book of political cartoons by the late, great liberal anti-communist cartoonist Herblock (among other things, he originiated the term “McCarthyism”) and came across a couple of his works from 1952 which showed that even then, nobody was fooled by that assertion unless they wanted to be.

And perhaps of more contemporary relevance, in another Herblock collection I found these cartoons from early 1957, in the aftermath of the Suez war and the Soviet suppression of the uprising in Hungary. It was, apparently, always thus.

And here’s one of his most famous cartoons, for which he won a Pulitzer Prize, on the death of Stalin.

Herblock began political cartooning in 1929 (at the beginning of the Hoover administration) and continued into the beginning of the GW Bush administration. He died in 2001 at the age of 91. He is missed.