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Propaganda: Allied unity

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"British and Australian soldiers" by Giles, Post-1944. Gouache on board.

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British and Australian soldiers

"British and Australian soldiers" by Giles, Post-1944

Catalogue ref: INF 3/1352Links to the Catalogue


This cartoon is a more refined version of INF 3/1349. The cartoon depicts British and Australian soldiers under their national flags pointing bayonets at an unarmed racially stereotyped Japanese soldier, buck teethed, ape like and short sighted. The Japanese soldier has become a far more of a sub-human caricature in this piece though is depicted as being larger and slightly more ferocious. The cartoon is in much greater detail than the earlier version. Interestingly the Australian soldier is now wearing all of the same personal equipment, which adorns the British Infantryman, undoubtedly a reference to bearing the same burden.

The image is probably post-1944 when the concentration of the British war effort moved to Japan, a country that seemed rather distant to the British public. This piece reinforces the message (to Australia) that the British and Australian people were in it together. Many Australians felt that they had been abandoned by the mother country (Britain) whilst she concentrated her efforts on Nazi Germany. Australians therefore had to look increasingly to the United States rather than Britain for protection.

The slogan: ‘Together to/for victory' was a popular phrase for ‘The People's War', used often as new allies came in, reinforcing older links and providing new focus. The V is a consistent element in many designs from later years of the war – and was graffitied on many walls as people saw Victory as clearly approaching.

The Japanese soldier in this illustration has the distinct look of ‘Grandma' about him from Giles post war ‘Family' series of cartoons for the Express newspaper.