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Untitled

William Gropper (American, 1897-1977)

Untitled, from The Illustrious Dunderheads, 1942

  • Ink and gouache on paper
  • 15 x 15 1/2 in. (38 1/8 x 39 3/8 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William S. Konecky, 2000-83

Not on view

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This cartoon was one of many studies William Gropper made for the 1942 book The Illustrious Dunderheads, edited by Rex Stout. The book combines pro-Nazi statements by congressmen with Gropper's satirical cartoons to show how members of the American government had been influenced by Nazi propaganda in the period leading up to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. The "Dunderheads" were those American politicians whom the book accused of bowing to Hitler and his allies. In his introduction to the book, Frank Sullivan describes the publication as "a collection of some of the silliest, stupidest, and most dangerous statements that have ever been made by men laying claim to being leaders of the American people" and "a sorry record of stupidity in high places; selected gems from the writings and roarings of some of the most outstanding bombasts whose oratory ever cracked the ceilings of the Capitol."

In this cartoon, Hitler, Mussolini, and Japanese emperor Hirohito (the leaders of the three Axis nations) recline regally in a rickshaw while an American fat cat pulls them. Spread across the laps of the three leaders is a blanket emblazoned with the Nazi swastika.