The streams are running again in Scandinavia, the little streams of Norway
At times, Herb Block attracted readers' attention to important topics by altering his style. Here, he used ink wash to heighten the emotional impact of his depiction of the fall of Norway to the Germans. On April 9, 1940, during World War II, Nazi Germany began its occupation of Norway, a neutral country in a location that served the dual purpose of supplying much-needed iron ore and providing a means to attack the British navy. The Norwegians found other means to defy the Germans even though they were unable to put up military resistance. For example, many Norwegians wore a paper clip on their lapels and refused to support the Nazi government of Vidkun Quisling.
The streams are running again in Scandinavia, the little streams of Norway. [ca. 1940]. Published by NEA Service, Inc. Ink, ink wash, crayon, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (26). Digital ID # ppmsca-11990
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". . . Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow . . ."
In May 1963 it looked as though negotiations for the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union had failed. For the title of this cartoon, Herb Block quoted from Shakespeare's Macbeth to indicate the folly of President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's failure to agree to limit nuclear testing. Block's famous character, Mr. Atom, snuffed out the light of Test Ban negotiations to represent the darkening mood of the United States during the Cold War. Protest against nuclear weapons persisted, compelling the Cold War leaders to come back to the table and sign the treaty, which they did in July 1963.
". . . Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow . . ." Published in The Washington Post, May 14, 1963. Sketch 1. Sketch 2. Ink, graphite, and opaque white over graphite underdrawing accompanied by graphite sketches. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (27). Digital ID# ppmsca-11991
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American Doubt about the Vietnam War
Among his many cartoons about the Vietnam War (1965-1973), Herb Block drew this symbolic warning about the United States being in over its head during the Tet Offensive. North Vietnamese forces made their bold assault in late January of 1968 with the aim of toppling the Saigon government and obliterating U.S. hopes in the region. The Tet Offensive did not prove decisive militarily, but it added to American doubt about the war. Shown here is a larger-than-life Uncle Sam, hoisting his rifle aloft and slipping into the morass of southeast Asia. The face of Block's Uncle Sam embodied the American anxiety and ambivalence about the Johnson administration's war policies.
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On January 12, 1993, United Nations' officials reported increased shelling of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, despite earlier calls for a cease-fire. The same day The New York Times published conclusions from a report commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development, stating that the U.N.'s Bosnian relief effort was largely a failure and charging that U.N. policies "were clearly failing to prevent genocide." Herb Block's shocking image of a Bosnian woman and child lying dead in their own blood underscored the brutality of the Yugoslav Wars (1991-2001). He blamed both Milosevic Serbians and world leaders by showing the woman impaled on a knife as well as an umbrella.
Bosnia. Published in The Washington Post, January 13, 1993. Sketch 1. Sketch 2. Ink, crayon, porous point pen, overlay, and opaque white over blue and red pencil underdrawing accompanied by graphite sketches. Herbert L. Block Collection. Prints and Photographs Division (29). Digital ID # ppmsca-11993
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