Seuss was against the discrimination of people against their race, especially the prejudice shown against the blacks and the Semites. However, as indicated in the above cartoon, Dr. Seuss believed that the Japanese were a big threat to the United States. As can be seen on the cartoon, Seuss believed that Americans of Japanese origin were only waiting commands so as to strike and kill Americans through the use of explosives (TNT). This cartoon was published in 1942, February 13th. Some few months prior too this, the incident of Pearl Harbor had occurred and as such, he was skeptical of the Japanese and mistrusted the.
Another issue confronted by the cartoon was the insistent problem of growing anti-Asian feelings plus concern over the snowballing panic and agitation caused by the coming of the Chinese to construct railroads. The rail roads would assist Americans to know more about Pearl Harbor together with the involvement of the Japanese in the Axis Powers to wholly understand the issue and regarding the Japanese Internment Camps that were in America. In the drawing, those Japanese Americans symbolize the Japanese Americans in World War 2. Seuss wanted to sensitive Americans about the fears he had.
The cartoon is unfairly prejudiced as it compeers with the opinions and perspective of the audience. Americans were most probably going to notice and scrutinize the cartoon and consequently be swayed in agreeing to Seusss thoughts that the Japanese were a threat. This would lead to two scenarios; the Americans would develop a fear and hatred and suspicion for the Japanese Americans and the latter would become angry and livid because of being viewed as a threat. Seuss was warning Americans to be cautious of them.
The words Fifth Column, which mean, a group of people who undermine a larger group, for example a state or a country, from within, and usually working with the enemy group, are used to represent Americans of Japanese Origin.
TNT- represents the explosives that were supposedly being given to the Japanese Americans so that they could bomb America from within.
The man watching through the binoculars is a Japanese and is watching out for the others so as to alert them in case their activities are known.
Waiting for the signal implies that they (Japanese Americans) are waiting for the command so as to strike and kill Americans through the use of explosives.
Most Americans of Japanese ancestry lived on the Pacific Coast. At that time, Japanese Americans were almost 110, 000 in number and nearly all of them lived on the West Coast. The West Coast or Pacific Coast contained the coastal states of California, Oregon and Washington. Thats why, in the cartoon, those three states are there. Most of the Japanese Americans lived there.
The cartoon is vital as it portrays the anti-Japanese feelings in the States at that particular time. It made the Americans fear the Japanese and consequently; the outcome was the establishment of Internment Camps for the Japanese that began later in that same year.
SJ Ray, Plague of Japanese Beetles, December 1942
This cartoon by SJ Ray was published in 1942 and this was after the attacks on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Fears had started growing and spreading that the Japanese Americans living in the US, in Hawaii, were also conspiring against the US in a fifth column organization. Roosevelt, the then President of the United States, signed an order in which Americans of Japanese descent were to be rounded up and forced to live in Internment camps which were in the western states. The cartoon shows flies being caught (the running man represents a military commander as these were the ones ordered by Roosevelt to deport and incarcerate the Japanese Americans )and these flies represented the Japanese Americans (Enemy Alien Problem) and people can be seen in the background with posterns saying they dont want the Japanese in their countries.
On the background of the cartoon picture we can see the name California and its one of the West Coast States (the other two being Oregon and Washington) These towns were mostly populated with Japanese Americans at that time. All the Japanese Americans who lived in the West Coast were to be forced into interior camps. The conditions in the camps were very hard and harsh. The Japanese Americans were viewed as a plague and if they were not evacuated or put together in camps then they would work from inside the country in destroying it and working as spies. The carton shows that it was imperative for those stringent measures to be taken.
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