Originally from New Zealand, David Low (1891-1963) was a political cartoonist who worked for many years in Great Britain.
He is known for his satirical work in The Evening Standard, especially his depictions of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini and Joseph Stalin, but also for his criticism of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policy of Appeasement toward Hitler.
Low’s work for The Standard during the 1930s and 40s caught the ire of the Nazis, resulting in his name being placed in the infamous SS Black Book: a list of people to be arrested when Germany eventually invaded Britain.
David Low is remembered as one of Britain’s greatest cartoonists, and today his work can be seen on display at Westminster Hall. Here are 10 of his well-recognised anti-Nazi cartoons.
1. Hitler burning the League of Nations
The year the Nazis took power in Germany, they burnt the Reichstag in Berlin. It was this event in 1933, which was blamed on communists so that Hitler could restrict civil liberties and institute a mass arrest of Communist Party members, that Low refers to in this cartoon.
Low also compares the burning of the Reichstag act to Hitler’s aggression in Europe, while showing the League of Nations to be weak and ineffective.
2. Stalin’s exclusion from the Munich Agreement
This Low cartoon depicts the Munich Agreement, in which Germany annexed parts of Czechoslovakia, creating what was called “Sudetenland” in September 1938. The Munich Agreement was signed by Hitler, Mussolini, French Premier Edouard Daladier and British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, under the policy of Appeasement.
In Low’s illustration, the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia are ironically not invited to the conference.
3. Hitler as ‘conductor’ of European dictators
Here Low is representing Europe’s totalitarian leaders (Mussolini, Franco and Stalin) as a singing group with Hitler waving the baton.
4. Europe’s democratic vs. totalitarian leaders
Here we see Hitler and Mussolini in a motorcade surrounded by secret police and soldiers, while Britain’s Chamberlain and France’s Daladier hold the ‘Anglo-French’ talks, represented by a small umbrella.
5. Mussolini as Hitler’s puppet
Part of a two-page spread for KEN magazine in 1938, we see Hitler as puppet master with a sinister ‘show’ for taking over Europe.
6. The ill winds of totalitarianism
In this 1936 comic from the Evening Standard, Japan and Germany are shown as militarised windmills, while ‘Abyssinian Breezes’ refers to Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia.
7. Britain ignores Fascism at its peril
Low was an outspoken critic of Chamberlain’s policy of Appeasement toward Germany, here depicted as a hungry alligator.
8. Nazi Germany as Europe’s nightmare
This Low comic from the Evening Standard in September 1938 shows a group of unfolding crises in Europe and the rest of the world, lining up behind Hitler.
9. Hitler’s plans collapse
This comic, from August 1944, depicts the ultimate failure of Hitler’s ambitions in Europe, falling like a house of cards.
10. Make the dictators cry
Towards the end of the Second World War, Low has drawn himself drawing Hitler and Mussolini as they weep over their defeat.