Sections: World War II | Red Scare | Cold War | Vietnam | Nixon | Middle East

Bill Graham (1920–1994). Bird on a Fence, 1955. Published in the Arkansas Gazette, November 1, 1955. Crayon, India ink, opaque white, and blue pencil drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (028.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-38569 © Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

The Cold War conflict affected the Middle East as both the United States and the Soviet Union tried to expand their influence in the region beginning in the mid-1950s. It was a period when the wider American public was becoming more aware of the region, and the U.S. was emerging as both an economic and military power. Ongoing tension between the American and Soviet superpowers fueled numerous military conflicts in the region over the complex issue of Egyptian-Israeli relations. The regional turmoil commanded the attention of editorial cartoonists who tried to make sense, place blame, or convey their opinions of the discord.

HERBLOCK, Washington Post

Criticizing the Soviets for funneling weapons through Czechoslovakia to arm Egypt, Herblock showed U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles reacting with dismay as Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov fed the conflagration around Israel. Although Western powers had been arming both sides prior to the conflict, they did not decrease their sales to Egypt in the months leading up to the 1956 Suez Crisis. When tensions ran high, both Israel and Egypt had plenty of weapons.

Herblock (1909–2001). Throw Another Log on the Fire,” 1955. Published in the Washington Post, October 30, 1955. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (026.00.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-03957 © Herb Block Foundation

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HERBLOCK, Washington Post

Accusing United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld of framing Israel for its occupation of Gaza, Herblock created a larger picture to understand Israeli and Egyptian actions during the Suez Crisis of 1956. When Egyptian president Gamal Nasser announced he had nationalized the Suez Canal, England, France, and Israel combined forces to occupy the area, while the United States sided with him in forcing their withdrawal. Ultimately, the Israelis withdrew from Sinai, but argued Gaza served as a buffer against terrorism from Egypt.

Herblock (1909–2001). Are You Sure You’re Getting the Whole Picture Here? 1957. Published in the Washington Post, January 28, 1957. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (027.00.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-04287 © Herb Block Foundation

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BILL GRAHAM, Arkansas Gazette

Focusing on the residents of Gaza, cartoonist Bill Graham placed his dove of peace in the crossfire between the Czech-supplied Egyptian armaments and the Israeli bayonet. Graham drew cartoons for the Arkansas Gazette from 1948 until he retired in 1985.

Bill Graham (1920–1994). Bird on a Fence, 1955. Published in the Arkansas Gazette, November 1, 1955. Crayon, India ink, opaque white, and blue pencil drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (028.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-38569 © Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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JOHN KNOTT, Dallas News

Despite American support for the Egyptian president during the Suez Crisis in 1956 and 1957, cartoonist John Knott pointed a finger at Gamal Nasser. France and England had used Israeli military might to control the Suez Canal. Once Nasser had the canal restored to Egyptian control, he instituted a blockade that halted shipping, inflaming international tensions. Knott, who trained as an artist in Munich, Germany, prior to World War I, worked for the Dallas News as a cartoonist from 1906 to 1957.

John Knott (1878–1963). He Started It, 1957. Published by the Dallas News, February 10, 1957. India ink, crayon, and opaque white drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (029.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-38669 © Dallas Morning News

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JIM LANGE, Daily Oklahoman

In this timeless cartoon depicting an Arab choosing to follow the path of “an eye for an eye,” Jim Lange quietly laid the blame on the Arab world for ongoing issues in the Middle East without explicitly showing violence or referring to a particular war. Lange drew editorial cartoons for the Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City for fifty-eight years, from 1950 to 2008.

Jim Lange (1926–2009). The Road Back, 1970s. Published in the Daily Oklahoman, 1970s. India ink and opaque white drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (030.00.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-38572

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Herblock (1909–2001). Israel is Winning—Now We Must Do Something! 1967. Published in the Washington Post, June 7, 1967. Graphite, India ink and opaque white drawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (027.01.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06818 © Herb Block Foundation

In the 1960s tensions between Arabs and Israelis intensified. As hostilities escalated at its borders in 1967, Israel sallied forth, taking Egypt, Syria, and Jordan by surprise during the Six-Day War (June 5–10, 1967). The majority of Americans who were aware of the problems in the region sided with Israel in this conflict, and by 1969, in the aftermath of the short war, public awareness of the regional strife rose to 85 percent with the majority of the American public polled in support of Israel. As Israel increased its territory three-fold, editorial cartoonists conveyed their opinions on the conflict and the subsequent peace process.

HERBLOCK, Washington Post

Israel stunned the world with a swift victory during the Six-Day War, June 5–10, 1967. Fearing attacks from its immediate neighbors—Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon—Israel started the war and captured the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. As the Middle East prepared for the cease-fire and United Nations assistance in negotiating the terms of peace, Herblock expressed his hope that a lasting solution could be built.

Herblock (1909–2001). This Time, How About a Solid Foundation? 1967. Published in the Washington Post, June 9, 1967. India ink, graphite, and opaque white drawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (026.01.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06820 © Herb Block Foundation

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HERBLOCK, Washington Post

As the United States enlisted the help of the United Nations to eliminate some of the causes of unrest in the Middle East that resulted in the Six-Day War of 1967, Herblock blamed some of the Security Council member states for their lack of a clear message to both Israel and its Arab neighbors. Ultimately, United Nations Resolution 242 became the cornerstone of the peace process and ultimately led to the 1978 Camp David Accords.

Herblock (1909–2001). Israel is Winning—Now We Must Do Something! 1967. Published in the Washington Post, June 7, 1967. Graphite, India ink and opaque white drawing. Herbert L. Block Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (027.01.00)
LC-DIG-hlb-06818 © Herb Block Foundation

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BILL GRAHAM, Arkansas Gazette

With its surprise war initiative, Israel easily defeated a concerted Arab military attempt to press along its borders. The Six-Day War led to capture of territory from Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Bill Graham showed the Egyptians in retreat, prepared to blame both the United States and Great Britain for their failure to prevent the conflict. Graham spent thirty-seven years working as the editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette.

Bill Graham (1920–1994). O.K., Men, That About Wraps It Up!! 1967. Published in the Arkansas Gazette, June 7, 1967. Graphite, India ink, and blue pencil drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (028.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-38570 © Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

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ROBERT DUNN, Buffalo Courier-Express

The situation in the Middle East seemed so volatile to cartoonist Robert Dunn that he drew this cartoon representing the cease-fire perched precariously over a precipice. He blamed neither one side nor the other, but focused on the international aspects of the conflict by featuring the globe on the bomb. Dunn worked for the Buffalo Courier-Express from 1952 to 1982 and may have drawn this cartoon after the Six-Day War or another conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors that occurred during his career.

Robert Dunn (1923–1994). Propped, between 1952 and 1982. Published in the Buffalo Courier-Express, between 1952 and 1982. India ink, crayon, graphite, and opaque white drawing. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (029.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-38571

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ANNE MERGEN, Miami Daily News

In this timeless cartoon, cartoonist Anne Mergen showed peace taking refuge in an unlikely place—behind a powder keg—during one of the Israeli-Egyptian conflicts of the 1950s. She anticipated that the war would lead to a bigger conflagration. Few women have found employment as editorial cartoonists in mainstream American newspapers. Mergen, who worked for the Miami Daily News between 1933 and 1956, was one of the pioneers in the field.

Anne Mergen (1906–1994). Not Exactly a Haven of Safety, between 1950 and 1956. Published in the Miami Daily News, between 1950 and 1956. Graphite, India ink, and opaque white drawing. Gift of Matthew Bernhardt and Christine Hoverman, 2006. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (030.01.00)
LC-DIG-ppmsca-38573 © Joan Bernhardt

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Sections: World War II | Red Scare | Cold War | Vietnam | Nixon | Middle East