chapter  4
16 Pages

The Art of Uncertainty: 1918 1947

THE END OF WORLD WAR I sent America on a roller-coaster ride that would last nearly thirty years, through boom and bust, war and cold war. The pace of change was dramatic and many cartoonists, caught up in its capricious whirlwind, opted for gags to cover their own uncertainty over where the ride was taking them. Bathtub gin and flappers, Al Capone and Lucky Lindy, Hollywood’s and radio’s Amos and Andy were easier to visualize than a failed peace plan, a bullish stock market, or growing unemployment. Yet a few distinct voices pushed forward the tradition of visual political commentary. President Woodrow Wilson’s peace plan, with its call for a League of Nations, was the first test of the cartoonists’ mettle in postwar America.