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Subj:.Bill Mauldin, World War II Cartoonist
      From: tom on 6/8/2010
Photo from mishalov.com...
Source1: http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ARTmauldin.htm
Source2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Mauldin

Bill Mauldin was born in New Mexico in 1921.  While in his early teens Mauldin decided he wanted to become a professional cartoonist and after school attended the Academy of Fine Art in Chicago.

He joined the United States Army in 1940 and began producing cartoons for the 45th Division News.  In 1943 he took part in the invasions of Sicily and Italy.  The following year he became a full-time cartoonist for the Stars and Stripes.  His cartoons often featured two infantrymen called Willie and Joe.
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After Ernie Pyle, America's most popular journalist in the Second World War, wrote an article about the work of Mauldin, he was picked up by United Feature Syndicate in 1944 and his cartoons began appearing in newspapers all over the United States. He later recalled that: "I drew pictures for and about the soldiers because I knew what their life was like and understood their gripes.  I wanted to make something out of the humorous situations which come up even when you don't think life could be any more miserable."

"Just give me the aspirin. I already
got a Purple Heart."
From Bill Mauldin,
     Stars and Stripes (1944)

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Mauldin's cartoons often reflected his anti-authoritarian views and
this got him in trouble with some of the senior officers.  In 1945 General George Patton wrote a letter to the Stars and Stripes and threatened to ban the news- paper from his Third Army if it did not stop carrying "Mauldin's scurrilous attempts to undermine military discipline." 

General Dwight D. Eisenhower did not agree and feared that any attempt at censorship would undermine army morale.  He therefore arranged a meeting between Mauldin and Patton.  Mauldin went to see Patton in March 1945 where he had to endure a long lecture on the dangers of producing "anti- officer cartoons".  Mauldin responded by arguing that the soldiers had legitimate grievances that needed to be addressed. 


Drawing from PhotoBucket.com
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Drawing from Davos Newbies

Drawing from Albuquerque City
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Will Lang, a reporter with Time, heard about the meeting and questioned
Mauldin about what happened.  Mauldin replied, "I came out with my hide on.  We parted friends, but I don't think we changed each other's mind."  When the comment appeared in the magazine George Patton was furious and commented that if he came to see him again he would throw him in jail.
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In 1945, Mauldin's cartoons on the Second World War won the Pulitzer Prize.  The citation read: "for distinguished service as a cartoonist, as exemplified by the series entitled "Up Front With Mauldin". Mauldin, the youngest person to be awarded the prize, was now one of the best-known cartoonists in the United States.  His book, Bill Mauldin's Army, was published in 1951.  And he was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

Drawing from CSBG Archive

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As a member of the United Feature Syndicate Mauldin's cartoons attacking racism, the Ku Klux Klan and McCarthyism appeared in newspapers all over the United States.  Mauldin's cartoons were unpopular with the newspapers in small towns and he had difficulty getting them published. 

Disillusioned, Mauldin gave up cartooning.  He returned in 1958 when he replaced the retiring Daniel Fitzpatrick at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  This newspaper was willing to publish his strong views on racism.  In 1959 he won another Pulitzer Prize for his cartoon, I won the Nobel Prize for Literature. What was your crime?
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Drawing from Spartacus
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In 1962 Mauldin moved to the Chicago Sun-Times where he worked with another radical cartoonist, Jacob Burck. He had achieved so much.

Mauldin should have won a third Pulitzer Prize for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering, on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands.  He never acted as if he was better than the people he met.  He was still Mauldin, the enlisted man.

Drawing from SignOnSanDiego.com

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Mauldin died at age 81 in the early days of 2003.  The end of his life had been rugged.  He had been scalded in a bathtub, which led to  terrible injuries and infections; Alzheimer's disease was inflicting its cruelties.  Unable to care for himself after the scalding, he became a resident of a California nursing home, his health and spirits in rapid decline.
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During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it.  They didn't want Mauldin to go out that way.  They thought he should know he was still their hero.

Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin.  I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally, so Bill would not feel so alone.  Soon, more than 10,000 cards and letters had arrived at Mauldin's bedside.

Drawing from Tom on 6/12/10
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Better than that, old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to let him know that they were there for him, as he, so long ago, had been there for them.  So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list. 

Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described  it: 

"Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002 they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach, California, to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin.  They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully 
folded newspaper clippings.  Some wore old garrison caps.  Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old.  Almost all of them wept as they filed
down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation." 

One of the veterans explained to
me why it was so important: "You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us.  You had to be reading a soaking
wet Stars and Stripes in a water- filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons."

"Th' hell this ain't th' most important hole in the world.
I'm in it."

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The United States Postal Service deserves a standing ovation for issuing
Bill Mauldin stamp on Thursday, April 01, 2010, in Santa Fe, New Mexican.

Please note that Willie and Joe were also in the stamp representing all the infantrymen from World War II.

Photo from Cocoposts
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Mail Call, episode 81 is dedicated to Bill Mauldin.
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