The Funnies of August: American Editorial Cartoons in the Opening Months of the Spanish Civil War
MetadataShow full metadata
This thesis studies American political cartoons depicting the Spanish Civil War of 1936. The other goal of this thesis is to create an exhibit display case in the Taylor-Murphy building showing select comics from the research for casual audiences. I chose comics specifically because the opinions of newspaper political cartoons appeal or market to a wide portion of the public, making them a compelling source to study the popular opinion and media of the time. The comics came from the pages of the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post and primarily from the months of July, August, and September. Those months have been chosen as newspaper commentary on the conflict was most prodigious then at its outbreak. Few studies have been completed on the American cartoons that grappled with the Spanish Civil War, so this project is helping to fill that need. My project collected and investigated the comics from these major publications to better understand common themes in the war’s presentation to Americans. Some of the main trends noticeable in these months were a set of common visual clichés, simplification of the conflict, rejection of both sides of the Civil War, and an association of the political violence in Spain with American politics of the time. Major papers often agreed the war was a disaster brought on by extremist ideologies of fascism and communism and held little sympathy for either cause, lamenting instead the destruction of Spain and the Spanish people. This study revealed not just the media espoused opinions on the war and how it was portrayed, but also how it was utilized by cartoonists to make statements regarding contemporary politics in America.