The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who, and Green Eggs and Ham. You have probably read them all!
Did you know, Theodor Seuss Geisel was a World War II editorial cartoonist in 1941 and 1942?
His cartoons have been restored from decades of being hidden in forgotten files in a book by: Richard H.
A third generation American of German heritage born in 1904. German was the household language,
Lutheran was the practiced religion, and he sold US War bonds during WWI as a Boy Scout in Springfield,
Mass. He began drawing political cartoons in college, spent a year at Oxford , and never achieved a PHD
except an honorary doctorate. Occasionally published by the Saturday Evening Post, he lived in NY, from
1927 to 1941 not participating in the poverty of the depression era due to a sizable salary from ESSO.
Before he sold over 80,000,000 copies of The Cat in the Hat starting in 1957, the world had gone crazy in
Japan, Germany, and Italy. Seuss’s opposition to Facism began the formation of the characters we love
today in his books, but they were originally designed to oppose the issues of the day. If you read the
book, Dr. Seuss Goes to War you can see many of his characters begin to take shape. Again selling War
Bonds with cartoons was a mission of Dr. Seuss. Back then, editorial cartoons displaying racism were
tolerated in society, as we had to dehumanize the people in whom we needed to kill to protect our way
He sought to motivate production in America with his cartoons. As a devoted FDR supporter, he was pro
labor, anti Republican, pro minority rights and outrageously humorous in his cartoons depicting bigotry
and sloth in his characters.
He depicted the American Eagle as an ostrich, and Uncle San as a content elderly gentleman in a
separate bed safely sleeping next to another bed full of people suffering from maladies he called Stalin-
itch, Hitler-itis, Blitz pox, Nazi fever, Italian Mumps, and Facist fever. In one cartoon, the American
ostrich sat snuggly in a tree, with all the other trees around it destroyed and labeled: England, Norway,
Greece, Denmark, Holland, France, ect.
He attacked Americans who backed isolationism, and again, many of the characters began to look like
the characters I grew to love as a child in the 50’s and 60’s.
When it came to foreign aid, one of my favorite cartoons are of a businessman and a bureaucrat
discussing Aid to Britain. The business man smoking a cigar turns to the bureaucrat and says,
“Sometimes I wonder- Would we speed things up if we used turtles instead of snails to transport our
In his opinions about India, and their role in the war, he depicts India as a huge passive elephant, who
looked a lot like our friend Horton.
Another of my favorites is of the ostrich beginning to develop some muscles, but still wringing his hands,
when Seuss thought those hands should be wringing the necks of Germany, Japan, and Italy.
I have a few copies of the book at The Veteran Next Door booth at the Mega Peddlers in the Kmart store
on Broadway. It’s fun to read.