The Anglo-French Relationship as seen through British Political Cartoons, from the Third to the Fifth Republic
À travers les dessins de presse, on peut constater les changements dans la politique étrangère de la Grande-Bretagne et dans ses relations avec ses principaux partenaires. Pour les dessinateurs de presse britanniques, la France et les Français ont toujours été une source d’inspiration et leurs dessins constituent une sorte de baromètre de l’état des relations trans-Manche, des relations souvent présentées comme celles d’un couple, avec des hauts et des bas : parfois proche, parfois éloigné ou tendu, mais un couple qui ne peut pas se séparer définitivement malgré les tentations d’autres partenaires (l’Allemagne pour la France, les États-Unis pour la Grande-Bretagne). Bien que les dessins de presse existent dans un domaine tout autre, il existe des parallèles remarquables entre eux et les opinions du Foreign Office et du gouvernement à Whitehall.
Les dessins de presse, comme les archives diplomatiques et gouvernementales, montrent les changements dans les attitudes à Londres et dans les opinions à l’égard des Français. À la fin du XIXe siècle jusqu’au milieu du siècle suivant, la France était dénigrée, l’image de la France était celle d’un pays divisé et faible, ses dirigeants incapables ou simplement malhonnêtes. À côté de cette France passéiste et incertaine, la Grande-Bretagne semblait être plus forte. Dans les relations franco-britanniques, c’était la Grande-Bretagne qui avait le dessus et les dessins de presse ont souvent présenté John Bull comme une figure imposante à côté d’une Marianne coquette mais pas toujours très rassurante. Ses images ont changé considérablement dans la deuxième moitié du XXe siècle. Les critiques, parfois très virulentes, n’ont pas cessé mais on a pu identifier un plus grand respect et même une certaine admiration pour la France et ses dirigeants, surtout le général de Gaulle, dans les années soixante. Les relations franco-britanniques sont devenues plus équilibrées et la Grande-Bretagne ne pouvait plus dominer sa voisine de la même façon que dans les années trente. Les sentiments exprimés dans les dessins de presse sont le reflet de ce revirement de situation : la France n’était plus la victime mais un obstacle incontournable. Elle restait la cible des piques des dessinateurs de presse à Londres mais elle était devenue une figure imposante et c’était elle qui désormais dominait un John Bull sur le déclin. Un sentiment de frustration, de n’avoir plus la possibilité de dominer son alliée comme auparavant, était désormais le leitmotiv des dessins de presse quand ils représentaient la France.
Index chronologique :18th century, 19th century, 20th century, XIXe siècle, XVIIIe siècle, XXe siècle
Index thématique et géographique :culture, France, Grande-Bretagne, Great Britain, histoire, history, media, médias, société, society
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1Throughout the twentieth century France and the French provided a valuable source of inspiration for British political cartoonists. Their treatment of the emblematic figure of Marianne and of key historical personalities from Napoleon to de Gaulle frequently reflected a desire to deride and denigrate their cross-Channel neighbours. At the same time a certain respect and even, in some cases, admiration can be identified in British political cartoons alongside the sentiments of fear and mistrust. Over the past century these images of France and the French have changed in important ways while in others the deeply rooted caricatures have remained the same. There also exist clear parallels between the political cartoons published in the British press and the views of France held in official circles inside Whitehall. Diplomatic and governmental records show that official attitudes in London towards their French allies mirrored the views of many leading political cartoonists. In both cases, stereotypical views of the French, frequently drawing on the long and usually confrontational history of relations between the two countries, were deeply entrenched and very slow to change. By the 1950s and 1960s, however, while officials and politicians continued, as they had done for more than a century, to regard France with a certain superiority, political cartoonists were quicker to appreciate that the balance of power in the Anglo-French relationship had significantly shifted away from Britain.
- 1 References are given to the cartoons’ original place of publication and to where they can be found (...)
2For the greater part of the twentieth century France provided British political cartoonists with few leaders sufficiently well known to be easily caricatured for a British audience. Under the Third Republic, French policy and French leaders did receive a good deal of attention, although they were often identified as much by the addition of their names to the cartoons as by the use of clearly recognisable physical traits. In more recent years, there have been some very unconvincing portrayals of the French Presidents from Giscard to Mitterrand and Chirac1. Such difficulties can hardly be due to the lack of identifiable physical features; after all on the other side of the Channel French cartoonists have hardly been at a loss over how to capture either the physique or the spirit of their recent leaders. Instead, the difficulty would seem to lie in the fact that for most British newspaper readers French politicians are simply not recognisable. This reflects the declining importance of France in British thinking, both amongst the population as a whole and in government. This does not mean, of course, that anti-French sentiments have disappeared from the British press, quite the contrary. Rather, such feelings (and there has always been a tendency in the British press to blame France for Britain’s problems) have focused on the stereotypical images of the Frenchman with his beret, baguette, striped jersey and bottle of wine rather than on individuals.
- 2 Vicky (Victor Weisz) produced one cartoon (The Evening Standard, 1 November 1965. Reproduced in De (...)
3The most notable exceptions to this lack of clearly identifiable individual targets were firstly the wartime leaders of Vichy France, Pierre Laval and Marshal Pétain and, most notably, General Charles de Gaulle, one time ally of Britain and later diplomatic adversary. In the case of Laval and Pétain the usual ridiculing was reinforced by a good measure of outright vilification. Indeed, in some ways the treatment meted out to France’s Vichy leadership was as aggressive if not more so than the treatment of the arch-enemies Hitler and Mussolini. As for de Gaulle, he was a god send for caricaturists with his strong physical traits, imposing stature, easily recognisable képi, military uniform and clear-cut approach to issues at home and abroad2.
- 3 P. M. H. Bell, France and Britain 1940-1994. The Long Separation, London, Longman, 1997, Chapter 1 (...)
4The recent difficulties for political cartoonists in dealing with leading French figures are in part the result of the declining interest for France, at least in terms of international diplomacy, over the past few decades. Given that today the United States is clearly the centre of interest for British foreign policy and the focus of attention for British public opinion when it looks abroad, it is not surprising that this has been reflected in the work of British political cartoonists over the past fifty years. Up until May-June 1940, however, it was towards France that Britain looked, paradoxically both as the country's principal ally and, so many observers argued, as one of the major sources of Britain's and Europe's international problems. Since this significant turning-point in Anglo-French relations, what one historian has described as a “parting of the ways”3, interest in France and the French, whether for British public opinion, for political élites or for political cartoonists, has declined in proportion to the increasing concentration on the United States.
5However, if individual French leaders have not always proven to be suitable material for British political cartoonists then national symbols of France and stereotypical images of the French have provided them with many opportunities. British cartoonists have often fallen back on the figure of Marianne; easily recognisable and bringing in a sexual dimension that allows different, as well as often both amusing and incisive, perspectives, she opens up numerous possibilities for the cartoonists. With an image that fits in well with many of the British views of France and of the French character, Marianne has been omnipresent in British political cartoonists’ portrayals of France over the past century. She has also been useful in allowing cartoonists (all of them male) to draw comparisons between Anglo-French relations and male-female relationships in general with the rich field that comes with it: attraction and rejection, duplicity and domination, or fidelity and infidelity. Thus, the representations of Marianne reflect the wide-ranging, and often contradictory ways in which France has been regarded in Britain. At times seen as a pretty young woman, coquettish if somewhat flighty, and at others as an old hag, Marianne in British political cartoons is in some ways a barometer of the state of Anglo-French relations as a whole and is evidence of the co-existence, often within the same image, of the negative and positive sides of British views of France and the French. To represent either as simply a matter of pure anti-French sentiment or of some sort of atavistic Anglo-French dislike and disagreement (or alternatively, but less probably, as proof of fundamental friendship) would be to misrepresent the nature of these complex questions. It is possible, therefore, to discern in and through the representations of Marianne all the different facets of British attitudes towards France and the various layers of the Anglo-French relationship.
6There are also clear similarities between the cartoonists' views of France and the Anglo-French relationship and the opinions being expressed behind closed doors by diplomats in the Foreign Office and politicians in Whitehall. From the perspective of a historian of British diplomacy it is striking how closely these political cartoons correspond to the sorts of views so often found in the Foreign Office and other Government archives. These parallels are, in fact, so visible that we may wonder if there was not some sort of mutual influence going on between the two: did the views of the cartoonists influence political leaders, did the latter feed off the former or was there a two-way process with each side influencing the other?
7There were, however, some divergences between the cartoonists and political leaders, less in the form of clearly opposed views of the state of Anglo-French relations than in the willingness of the cartoonists to appreciate the changing nature of this relationship and of the relative positions of the two allies. There is evidence of a greater perspicacity on the part of the cartoonists, in their often apparently frivolous fashion, than among some professional diplomats, let alone most politicians. This would seem to suggest that for the historian of Anglo-French relations over the past century the evidence provided by the cartoonists is of significant value in indicating changing attitudes in foreign policy and international affairs and may be used alongside more traditional sources. On occasions, cartoonists may show greater awareness of international problems than that displayed by the professionals, those in charge of affairs. Examples that come to mind are David Low's vision of European affairs and the Nazi menace in the 1930s and the portrayal in political cartoons in the 1960s of a Britain in decline faced with an immobile, determined de Gaulle, views that stood in stark contrast to the somewhat complacent and backward-looking views of the British diplomats and politicians who too often underestimated the dangers and difficulties facing their country. This could, of course, simply be a reflection of the different objectives of cartoonists and of diplomats or politicians. Cartoonists certainly have points to make, quite often of the most serious nature, but their tactics are essentially negative. They set out to criticise, to puncture pomposity, to caricature, to point up the weaknesses and empty bombast in the governing classes. Politicians, on the other hand, have necessarily to put a gloss on events, to build up and then preserve their reputations and those of their governments. Politicians build up reputations, cartoonists knock them down, something which is particularly evident in documents from the increasingly irreverential atmosphere of the 1960s.
- 4 There have been examples of favourable views of France being presented in political cartoons in Br (...)
8It is rarely if ever the role of the political cartoonist to praise and it would have been doubly surprising if this had been the case with such a traditional adversary as France, especially as the British press has hardly been known for its kindness towards either France or the French. It is predictable, therefore, that the overall tone of those cartoons dealing with Anglo-French relations has been one of a certain Gallophobia4. This can be regarded as part of a long tradition of anti-French political satire going back as least as far as the eighteenth century. Firstly, there has been repeated criticism of the French political system, whatever form it has taken. This again is something which has a long history, which can be traced back to the Ancien Régime and revolutionary France. Just as the France of Louis XVI, that of the Revolution and that of Napoleon were all condemned, whatever their differences, so too were the Third, Fourth and Fifth Republics, the former as too weak, the latter as verging on the dictatorial and authoritarian.
- 5 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Daily Mirror, 4 January 1956 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and C (...)
- 6 Sidney 'George' Strube, The Daily Express, 23 July 1931 and David Low, The Evening Standard, 6 Oct (...)
- 7 David Low, The Guardian, 26 October 1962 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, Uni (...)
9The picture painted by British political cartoonists of the French regime from the Entente Cordiale of 1904 up to the late 1950s reflected the views held inside Whitehall and emphasised the decadence of France, a country that was hopelessly behind the times, unable or unwilling to confront the challenges facing it. In the final years of the Fourth Republic, Marianne, in the guise of an ailing French democracy, was presented as down at heel or simply tied hand and foot, at the prey of the extreme left and right5. Although there was widespread criticism of France when she was weak there was also criticism on the (rarer) occasions when she was strong. When in 1931 France’s financial strength seemed to place her in a relatively comfortable position vis-à-vis the other European powers and especially Britain (the British Government was forced to seek the help of the French Government of Pierre Laval to defend the pound), cartoonists in London presented an image of French greed and selfishness6. This again reflected very similar complaints being made of the French in official circles inside Whitehall. By the time of the Fifth Republic, France and its new strong man, General de Gaulle, were being condemned for pushing the country to the limits of what was democratic and perhaps beyond. In 1962, towards the end of his career, David Low portrayed a school-masterly de Gaulle asking a bedraggled Marianne, wearing the caption “delinquent French democracy”, if she had “learned her lesson” and was ready to accept the new, more authoritarian, French Constitution7.
10Beyond the political or constitutional condemnations meted out to France there were also criticisms of the French character and of French attitudes. Such attacks have been made whenever a suitable occasion has presented itself, for instance on what some British cartoonists apparently regard as the French national sport of tax evasion or on the seemingly gloomy French inclination to stand out against change at home and abroad. Recent examples have included a furore over ticket sales policy during the 1998 Football World Cup staged in France and the on-going “Beef War”.
- 8 Rumbold to Dawson, 13 December 1935. Quoted in Richard Davis, Britain and France Before the War: A (...)
11Individual French leaders have also been treated with scant respect by both British cartoonists and officials. Personal attacks on French leaders have, of course, a long history and the period under discussion here is no exception. In 1935 inside the Foreign Office it was complained that: “the only white thing about Laval is his tie and even that is only washed occasionally8”. Such images of the French leadership in the mid-1930s held inside Whitehall and Westminster are uncannily mirrored in the press cartoons of the same period. All of this constitutes a general denigration of France. Yet it may be asked if this is any worse than the attacks made by political cartoonists on Britain itself and on British leaders. Equally, the large number of such images of France to be found throughout the history of British cartoons reflects as much a genuine interest in France as any real dislike let alone hatred. It is important not to overlook the point that while political cartoons may sometimes seek to carry an important message there is much in them that attempts to do no more than mock their “victims” without any deeper ulterior objective.
- 9 W. K. Haselden, The Daily Mirror, 4 July 1905 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature (...)
- 10 For example, David Low, The Evening Standard, 6 July 1942 and 15 September 1942 (The Centre for th (...)
12The attacks on France and the overall denigration of the French that can be identified in the great majority of British political cartoons that deal with these questions are, nonetheless, evidence of a certain Schadenfreude, of the comfort that the British have so often taken in their cross-Channel neighbour's difficulties. Certainly, Britain has been more comfortable with a weak or a captive France than with a strong one. Already in 1905, immediately after the signature of the Entente Cordiale, the image given by Haselden was of a light-weight France nestling comfortably in the shelter of a benevolent but rather imposing John Bull9. When in the 1920s and early 1930s it appeared that the French held the whip hand in the Anglo-French relationship there was evident disquiet both in the British press and inside officialdom. Conversely, once France had reached the nadir of its twentieth-century history in the dark days of 1940-1944, the reactions of British political cartoonists were a mixture of sympathy for its ill fortune and vicious condemnation of the Vichy leadership, which was regarded as having betrayed the true spirit of France. All this was tinged with a certain malicious pleasure in France’s difficulties, even if this meant that Britain in turn was suffering from the weaknesses of its ex-ally. If France was down and out, being led helpless into the Nazi camp by the Pétain-Laval duo as several Low cartoons suggested10, then Britain by comparison was heroically, and successfully, holding out. In this way French failures served, after a fashion, to highlight British resolution.
- 11 NEB (Ronald Niebour), The Daily Mail, 11 November 1942; David Low, The Daily Herald, 4 March 1952 (...)
- 12 Illingworth (Leslie Gilbert), 15 December 1943 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricatur (...)
13Before the turning point of May 1940, Marianne may have been presented as a charming young girl, not always anything more than just a pretty face perhaps but not without a real attraction (and value) for the British. Now, however, the images were less flattering, of a captive France with Marianne bound hand and foot, tied up by the Germans during the war, tied up by its own weaknesses thereafter, a down-at-heel, bedraggled France11. Thus France was represented as a burden for Britain, a broken country in need of support from its more powerful friend. Yet this image was ultimately a comforting one for Britain: a magnanimous Britain coming to the aid of a poor France or, as one Low cartoon argued, a young, helpless girl (Marianne) being pulled up from the mud by a gallant Englishman (Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden)12. These images were all the more pleasing for some in Britain in that they would no doubt have infuriated any French reader who came across them.
- 13 David Low, The Evening Standard, 4 March 1947 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature (...)
- 14 Michael Cummings, The Sunday Express, 16 September 1962; Arthur Horner, The New Statesman, 14 May (...)
- 15 Stanley Franklin, The Daily Mirror, 29 June 1965 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricat (...)
14This simple picture of British strength opposed to French weakness was not, however, one that lasted long after the end of the war. By 1947 Low was portraying both the British and the French as helpless and weak. In his cartoon “Return to Dunkirk”13, he shows the rather comic figure of Labour Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin wading ashore to relieve his equally sheepish French counterpart huddling over a brazier. This sort of presentation of a shared British and French weakness was to become recurrent in the following years. The rather comforting images of a weak France (and therefore of a relatively strong Britain) changed most notably in the 1960s with the return of General de Gaulle as the “saviour” of France. France was still criticised, unflattering images were still the norm, but increasingly it was no longer Marianne who was tied up but Britannia who was now gagged and driven, unwillingly but inevitably, into a shotgun wedding with the rest of Europe14. It was Britain and not France, which was now portrayed as the child being led by the hand or as the young girl being kissed by an overpowering male (French) figure15. In a striking reversal of roles, it was no longer Marianne and France that were cast by political cartoonists as the weaker sex, but Britain.
- 16 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 30 December 1958 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons (...)
- 17 PRO: FO 371 163494, CF 1022/43. Rumbold to Home, 23 August 1962. The same image was given by Illin (...)
- 18 See, for example, the David Low cartoon of 19 November 1948 from The Evening Standard (Reproduced (...)
- 19 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 27 November 1962 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons (...)
- 20 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 2 July 1965 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and (...)
- 21 Glan Williams, The Sunday Citizen, 4 April 1965 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricatu (...)
- 22 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 30 July 1962 and The New Statesman, 9 April 1965 (The (...)
- 23 David Low, The Evening Standard, 19 November 1948, Michael Cummings, The DailyExpress, 8 June 1958 (...)
15The earliest cartoons from the period of de Gaulle’s presidency (1958-1969) suggest a certain balance in the British and French positions16; the countries are rivals but neither comes out clearly on top. From 1963, however, it is evident that there has been a decisive shift in the balance. The emphasis in the cartoons of 1963-1969 is on size of de Gaulle compared to his British counterparts (and adversaries): Macmillan, Home and Wilson. This is not just a reflection of de Gaulle's physique but also of his international stature as one of the few remaining great men of history still in active politics and, more importantly, of the relative strength of the France and the weakness of Britain. One recurrent aspect of these images is the way that France is presented as a barrier to British objectives. Once again these portrayals of the diplomatic confrontation between London and Paris reflected the views held by the politicians and diplomats actually responsible for the formulation and conduct of British foreign policy. Inside the Foreign Office de Gaulle was expected “to createobstacles across all the paths down which we should like to go17” although in the early and mid-1960s officials were still estimating that this would not be an insurmountable problem. The cartoonists, however, were quicker to revise their opinions. The impression given in their work is of the imposing figure of de Gaulle overshadowing the minnows of Britain such as Attlee18, Macmillan19, Home20, Wilson21 and Heath22 and even dominating American leaders such as Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy23. Certainly, de Gaulle's convenient physical stature added to the authenticity of this image but were all British leaders so physically small? It would have been hard to imagine de Gaulle being presented in this way when he was up against Churchill.
- 24 Richard Crossman, Selections from the Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, 1964-1970, London, Hamish Ham (...)
- 25 Peyrefitte records de Gaulle’s view that Britain’s leaders in the 1960s were « nouilles ». Alain P (...)
16De Gaulle was still ridiculed in British cartoons but this attitude was tinged with a certain respect for his strength and resolution, for his determination to stand up for his country, especially when compared with the weaknesses, dithering and lack of overall direction of his British counterparts. Whether this encouraged de Gaulle's own negative evaluation of the British leadership is open to doubt but there are certainly similarities between the pictures being painted by British political cartoonists and the French leader’s own private assessments. On his return from Paris in 1966 Wilson reported to colleagues that he was convinced that he “had made animmense impression on the General24”; the record of de Gaulle’s own recollections of the meeting and of Wilson personally were quite different25. The cartoons at the time of Britain’s two unsuccessful attempts to enter the Common Market in 1962-1963 and 1967 display widespread British frustration at de Gaulle's refusal to ease his obstruction of Britain's diplomatic ambitions. A resolute and immobile de Gaulle was here frequently presented as a gendarme refusing Britain entry to Europe, as a barrier placed across the road blocking the British (usually shown at the wheel of a rather unconvincing mini). But we may still wonder who is being targeted in these cartoons. De Gaulle does not emerge unscathed but it is the British leaders rather than the French President himself who, above all, are on the receiving end of the cartoonists’ barbs.
- 26 PRO: FO 371 173346, WU 1074/136 (C). Barnes Minute, 30 October 1963.
- 27 PRO: FO 371 169114, CF 1022/13. Ledwige to Murray (Athens), 6 March 1963.
- 28 FO 371 169114, CF 1022/15/G. “Report from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research”, 26 January 196 (...)
- 29 PRO: FO 371 172070. Dixon to Home, 7 October 1963. PRO: FO 371 163494. Rumbold (Paris) to Foreign (...)
- 30 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Daily Mirror, 18 September 1958 (Reproduced in De Gaulle through British (...)
- 31 PRO: FO 371 169114. Evelyn Shuckburgh (Paris) to Hood, 20 February 1963.
- 32 PRO: FO 371 172070. Dixon to Home, 7 October 1963.
- 33 Michael Cummings, The Daily Express, 6 October 1962 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Cari (...)
- 34 David Low drew a direct comparison between De Gaulle and Hitler in a cartoon of 18 April 1947 publ (...)
- 35 PRO: FO 371 169114. Dixon to Foreign Office, 6 February 1963.
17British difficulties were exacerbated by their uncertainty as to how to deal with the French, in particular what to make of the enigmatic General. The inability of the British to understand the French President is only too clearly visible in the diplomatic records. The Foreign Office could only conclude, “no one can be finally sure what General de Gaullethinks26”. Pierson Dixon, the British Ambassador in Paris and generally thought to be one of the few Britons able really understand de Gaulle, complained of his use of “mysterious initiatives [...] Delphic utterances and ambiguousofficial comment27”. Obviously the previously comforting images given in British cartoons of a weak France being taken by the hand or ridiculed were no longer adequate. De Gaulle was still represented as something of a madman both in these cartoons and by some diplomats or, as one official argued at the time of Britain's unsuccessful application to enter the Common Market in 1962-1963, as a “megalomaniac”28. Some diplomats also emphasised the comparisons between de Gaulle and what they saw as his historical heroes (who were often of course the great enemies Britain had confronted in the past): Charlemagne, Joan of Arc, Louis XIV, Richelieu, Napoleon and Bismarck29. Exactly the same images were being used by cartoonists. Both Vicky and Cummings presented de Gaulle lined up in a similar series of historical role models30. Other diplomats had even less flattering images of de Gaulle, condemning him for his “dictatorial”31 behaviour, comparing him to Napoleon III and to “a comic figure, anEmperor unaware that he is parading without clothes32”, an image uncannily reproduced by Cummings in one cartoon of October 1962 which shows the General undressed, sitting on his bed wondering which outfit to wear33. Likewise those cartoonists critical of de Gaulle even compared him to Mussolini and Hitler34 (this comparison with Hitler clearly upset de Gaulle who complained that Macmillan had had him compared to Hitler in the British press35).
- 36 Alain Peyrefitte, C'était de Gaulle. La France redevient la France, Paris, Éditions de Fallois, Fa (...)
- 37 PRO: FO 371 173342, WU 1074/44, Dixon to Heath, 9 February 1963.
- 38 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 15 January 1963 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons (...)
- 39 Joseph Lee, The Evening News, 21 May 1974 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, Un (...)
18These various images of de Gaulle showed just how unsure the British were as to what to make of him. Cartoonists, like diplomats and politicians, spent a good deal of time addressing this question: both the press and the Foreign Office archives are littered with such analyses of the French leader. One of the favourite comparisons, both for British politicians and diplomats and the political cartoonists, was that between de Gaulle and Napoleon. When the British Common Market application was on the verge of failure in 1962 Harold Macmillan vehemently complained to de Gaulle that he was making a deliberate attempt to re-establish Napoleon's continental blockade36. This comparison between French leaders past and present was generally used in a derogatory fashion (although there is also much fascination and even admiration for Napoleon in Britain) to condemn de Gaulle's political ambitions to dominate at both the domestic and European levels. But there was also a recognition that as a result of de Gaulle's diplomatic thunderbolt, by which he categorically rejected British membership of the Common Market, it was Britain that had, as the Foreign Office recognised, met its Waterloo in the “debacle at Brussels”37. As Vicky shows in one cartoon of the time where he has de Gaulle as a batsman towering over a minuscule Macmillan as bowler, Britain had truly been “hit for six”38. In the next decade France was still being represented as an obstacle to British designs but now it was the French cock which was looking down on the poor beleaguered John Bull39.
19Given all the critical views of France and of the French it is easy to forget that throughout the twentieth century Britain and France were in fact allies. This, of course, does not necessarily pose a problem for political cartoonists as it is perhaps no less interesting and no more difficult to caricature friends than enemies. Nothing is to be expected from an enemy and he can be vilified without mercy (as Low and other cartoonists did to Mussolini and Hitler). While such targets obviously provide interesting material for cartoonists, friends, or potential friends, are in some ways of even more value. Where sentiments of friendship and alliance are mixed up with feelings of rivalry, jealousy and suspicion, as has been the case in relations between Britain and France, the potential is greater still. The image given of France in British political cartoons is, therefore, necessarily more complex and has also often been a more rewarding source of inspiration.
- 40 Sidney 'George' Strube, TheDaily Express, 14 February 1934 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons a (...)
- 41 Sidney 'George' Strube, The Daily Express, 6 October 1928 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons an (...)
20The Anglo-French “alliance” or Entente has not been an easy one and if Britain and France form a couple of sorts, as many British cartoonists have seemed to suggest, then it is a couple who have obviously had their ups and downs. Strube's 1934 cartoon40 presented John Bull and Marianne as valentines but hardly ones genuinely in love. Back to back and scowling at one another, the two sweethearts accuse each other of trade discrimination and retaliation. Even where Anglo-French unity is portrayed as a reality in British political cartoons it is nonetheless shown in a critical light. When the two countries failed to work together, they were condemned for their divergences; when they did operate effectively in tandem their unity was often presented as undermining peace. Six years earlier, for example, Strube had shown the British and French Foreign Ministers, Aristide Briand and Austen Chamberlain, working hand in hand but in doing so wrecking the edifice of world peace to the consternation of Uncle Sam and the rest of Europe41.
- 42 David Low, The Evening Standard, 1 April 1940 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature (...)
21During periods of wartime alliance, co-operation between the two countries was of the greatest importance; for either to be successful the support of the other was rightly regarded as essential. Anglo-French unity, therefore, could hardly be openly undermined by political cartoonists and to have done so would have been to weaken both respective and joint war efforts. And yet even when Anglo-French unity was directly referred to in cartoons in 1939-1940 it was frequently represented as something necessary but hardly convincing. On 1st April 1940, just before the decisive launch of the German attack in the west, Low portrayed the British and French leaders holding the foundation stone for “European Peace” bearing the inscription “Anglo-French Unity”. We note, however, that even though the four men are all working together they seem barely able to lift the stone off the ground42. Anglo-French unity of purpose may have been visible but it was nonetheless still being presented as unconvincing.
- 43 The modern researcher has only to type into the computer “Britain”, “France” and “sexual relations (...)
22The ambiguities as to the nature and value of the alliance with France that can be identified in cartoons are a reflection of the wider attitudes in British public opinion and in official circles. The inclination to criticise and to condemn rarely disappears. French weaknesses are criticised but so too is French strength; French intransigence is attacked but so too is French guile; complaints and doubts are expressed about the Entente when it exists but also when it does not exist or when it operates ineffectively. Often portrayed as a marriage or a love affair43, the depiction of the Anglo-French relationship as a sexual one is as old as the Entente itself. The characters of Marianne and of John Bull are ideally suited to this even if the record shows that they are hardly made for one another. Moreover, if France is a woman, Marianne, then from John Bull's perspective she is not to be trusted. This mutual mistrust, above all else, has been the obstacle to the creation of a true Entente between the two countries.
- 44 David Low, The Star, 11 June 1925 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University (...)
- 45 David Low, The Evening Standard, 13 December 1935 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Carica (...)
- 46 David Low, The Evening Standard, 18 December 1935 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Carica (...)
- 47 Charles Petrie, The Life and Letters of the Right Hon. Sir Austen Chamberlain. Vol.2, London, Cass (...)
- 48 Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939. Second Series. Volume 15. the Italo-Ethiopian War a (...)
- 49 Donald McLachlan, In the Chair. Barrington-Ward of the Times, 1927-1948, London, Weidenfeld and Ni (...)
- 50 Harold Macmillan, At the End of the Day, 1961-1963, London, Macmillan, 1973, p. 367-368.
- 51 Speaking to the BBC in 1994 Hurd reminisced that “When I was a young diplomat I wasreally rather t (...)
23French untrustworthiness is another theme that has been shared by both political cartoonists and the great majority of politicians and diplomats in London. In 1925, the British Foreign Secretary, Austen Chamberlain, was shown in a David Low cartoon as an innocent country bumpkin, outwitted by the French card sharp44. Ten years later, at the height of the Ethiopian crisis, the French premier and Foreign Minister, Pierre Laval came in for constant criticism from all sectors of opinion in London. He was portrayed by Low in December 1935 as Santa Claus, having trussed up the Ethiopian Emperor, Haile Selassie, before putting him in Mussolini's Christmas stocking, while the two British Foreign Office Ministers, Samuel Hoare and Anthony Eden, were represented as two reindeers passively and innocently watching over events45. Five days later Low again showed the British Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin, being enticed by an unscrupulous Laval into some backhand deal46. Such views clearly paralleled those being expressed behind closed doors in Whitehall. Austen Chamberlain wrote at this same time that Laval had “behaved treacherously”47 by misleading the unfortunate and somewhat gullible British Foreign Secretary. The view of the City of London was that “we were betrayed by the French”48. The deputy-editor of The Times thought Laval had been “as tricky as a load of monkeys”49. In similar vein three decades later Harold Macmillan’s reaction to de Gaulle's veto of the British application to join the Common Market was that “French duplicity has defeated us all”50. Even when Britain was believed to be the stronger of the two allies she was not immune to the dangers of French diplomatic skills. The French, despite material weaknesses, were, as Douglas Hurd suggested several decades later, damnably clever51. Throughout the twentieth century, political cartoonists in London consistently came up with much the same image of French perfidy and guile.
- 52 W. K. Haselden, The Daily Mirror, 4 July 1905 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature (...)
- 53 David Low, The Evening Standard, 24 October 1944 and 22 February 1945 (The Centre for the Study of (...)
24The Anglo-French relationship does not exist in isolation and it is necessary to consider the impact of third parties, in particular Germany and the United States. Within the Anglo-French couple, there has been a tendency on both sides to look outside the “marriage” for comfort. As with any relationship with underlying fault lines running through it, infidelity has been a temptation hard to resist. For the British, the inclination to look to the other side of the Atlantic rather than across the Channel goes back a long way. In 1905, only a year after the signing of the Entente Cordiale, Haselden could convincingly present John Bull and Uncle Sam, astride the globe, as jointly presiding over the world's fortunes, while poor Marianne along with the other smaller nations was left to cling on and find such shelter as she could52. British interest in America was particularly renewed during and after the Second World War when cartoon images of the Churchill-Roosevelt duo abounded, often accompanied by a poor, beleaguered France in the person of Charles de Gaulle, distinctly left out in the cold53. The hope suggested here was that Britain and America would form a partnership with the French, the third party, excluded and reduced to the role of pretender for the favours of Britain. In this way, Britain was able to look down on the French from the comfortable position afforded by the “special relationship” with Washington.
- 54 Vicky (Victor Weisz), undated, (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of (...)
- 55 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 13 December 1962 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons (...)
25Britain's claim to a special relationship was not, however, as natural as some seemed to believe; France and Germany were rivals in the bid to win over the Americans. Here again the portrayal of the relationship in a sexual fashion is a frequent feature in British political cartoons which often showed successive post-war British, French and German leaders in the role of the (female) aspirants for the very masculine charms of the Americans54. As the Vicky cartoon of December 1962 so evocatively put it, just who would win at the end of the day remained in doubt: Harold Macmillan incarnated as Cinderella, alongside the de Gaulle-Adenauer pairing as the ugly sisters, was far from sure to seduce Kennedy's Prince Charming55. De Gaulle may not have actually sought to play the role of partner to the Americans but it was increasingly obvious, as the years went by, that Britain's charms were waning, and not just in the eyes of the United States. Numerous cartoonists from the 1960s onwards were merciless in exposing this new and uncomfortable reality of Britain's international situation. Here they were ahead of the political leadership which proved far less willing to recognise or accept the country's changed circumstances.
- 56 Lord Palmerston once famously remarked that Britain had no permanent friends, only permanent inter (...)
- 57 W. K. Haselden, The Daily Mirror, 10 July 1905 and 4 January 1906 (The Centre for the Study of Car (...)
- 58 It is notable that it is here, in these most positive presentations of the Anglo-French relationsh (...)
- 59 David Low, The Evening Standard, 12 October 1933 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricat (...)
26Indeed, if the United States has been a source of strain in Anglo-French affairs the same can be said of Germany. Whether or not Britain and France are “natural” allies is a point of debate56; their closeness was, however, certainly dependent on the position of others especially Germany. That fear of Germany was the driving force behind improved relations in the early years of the twentieth century is made clear in the cartoons immediately following the signing of the Entente Cordiale in 190457. It is Kaiser Bill in the background of these Haselden cartoons who plays, however involuntarily, the role of matchmaker to John Bull and Marianne58. Two decades later, Hitler was portrayed by Low as the “unintentional cupid” pushing John Bull and Marianne into a passionate embrace on a park bench (hardly a fair reflection of the diplomatic reality given the difficulty the two countries had in operating together at this time)59.
- 60 See, for example, Sidney 'George' Strube, The Daily Express, 17 October 1933 (The Centre for the S (...)
- 61 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The New Statesman, 4 September 1954 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons an (...)
- 62 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 15 August 1960, 3 July 1962, 3 August 1962 and 31 Augu (...)
27Such images show that a certain value was drawn from the Entente. Britain is no longer isolated, a role now played by the Germans, and can take comfort in the fact of having a friend across the Channel. Yet there remain concerns. There are fears of France dragging Britain into a conflict with Germany through her intransigence and her numerous commitments in eastern and central Europe60. Equally, there are worries that in the London-Paris–Berlin triangle, Britain might be sidelined by the creation of a new Franco-German couple. British suspicions that France and Germany are dangerously inclined to work together are an underlying factor in British attitudes towards the Continent. During the wartime years of Vichy collaboration with Nazi Germany, the concern was openly expressed in British cartoons: what was often presented as the real France might have attempted to resist German aggression but, it was argued, there were always those Frenchmen ready to throw in their lot, and that of their country, with the Germans' new European order. After the war, similar images re-emerged of a powerful Germany dominating a frail looking Marianne61. With the return of de Gaulle in 1958, it was less a question of Germany dominating France (even if behind the scenes and in the long run this image remained convincing for many observers in London) but still the image of a Paris-Bonn axis was one that worried both cartoonists and politicians. Repeatedly in the 1960s cartoonists in London picked up on this image of an Anglo-French-German ménage à trois, with each trying to win over the other, and usually with Britain ending up the odd man out62.
- 63 The increasingly unbalanced nature of the Anglo-American “special relationship” was famously portr (...)
28The ups and downs of the Anglo-French “love affair” and the ways in which this has been in large part dependent on outside influences have been convincingly displayed in British cartoons across the years. In the first half of the twentieth century German pressure pushed then held them together. In the second half Britain and France became rivals to win over Germany this time with advantage going to France. Rejected, for the most part, in its advances towards Paris or Bonn, Britain turned instead to America. If Britain did have a relative advantage over the France of de Gaulle in most American circles, its position was, as many cartoonists delighted in highlighting, not what it once had been63.
29All these cartoons are a reflection of the nature of the Anglo-French relationship. As seen from Britain, France retains a certain appeal and it appears that Marianne has never entirely lost her attraction. Equally, there is evidence of a certain admiration of France even if this goes hand in hand with feelings of frustration and incomprehension. As well as reflecting wider British views of France and of the Anglo-French relationship political cartoons have at times reinforced them, although the illustrations may not provide the most scientific of sources for the historian of Anglo-French relations and must be handled with great care and without over-estimating their value or importance. Yet the records of the Foreign Office and of the Government would seem to show a clear parallel between the sorts of views being expressed in these political cartoons and those held in official circles. Similarly cartoonists from Haselden, Strube, Low and Vicky, to those working today have found this subject matter a rich vein of material that they have exploited to the full.
30The difficulties in relations between the two countries cannot, of course, be laid at the door of the cartoonists yet their portrayals of the French and of France have continually struck a receptive chord with their audiences and in ways that have, in many respects, changed little over the last century. If, however, the stereotypes of France remain much the same the sense of British superiority over their French neighbours has declined sharply. Indeed it is to the credit of the political cartoonists that they were quicker than the political leaders to recognise this changed reality and to give it a wide airing in the press at a time when many other observers of the political scene, and even more so the politicians and diplomats themselves, were still refusing to face up to this reality.
- 64 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 10 November 1961 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons (...)
- 65 Emmwood (John Musgrove-Wood), The Daily Mail, 12 December 1967 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoo (...)
31The changes in the Anglo-French relationship over the century have been presented with remarkable accuracy by successive British political cartoonists. From the early 1900s and well into 1950s it was Britain that was represented as the senior partner in the Anglo-French couple. By the 1960s is was Britain, incarnated by Harold Macmillan in the role of Britannia who was shamelessly prostrated before an impassive de Gaulle64 rather than a helpless Marianne lying face down in the mud in front of her British saviour. Even when de Gaulle is portrayed as a prostitute in Emmwood's rather risqué cartoon of December 196765 it is his potential British clients (the Prime Minister Harold Wilson and the Foreign Secretary George Brown) who are shown to be in the weaker position. France is still being attacked here, criticised and ridiculed, but such images also show a recognition that the boot was increasingly on the other (French) foot. It is now Britain that is the demandeur, trying to charm an unresponsive de Gaulle, a prostitute but one which does not seem willing to give in to British solicitations. As Emmwood's cartoon caption said: “French mistletoe will be dearer this year”; the question, however, is will Britain be willing to pay the price, is France (either as Marianne or in a less flattering guise) such an attractive proposition? Britain and France may still, inevitably perhaps, form a couple but, as these cartoons have so evocatively shown, theirs has always been a troubled relationship.
1 References are given to the cartoons’ original place of publication and to where they can be found today, either in print or on line. Joseph Lee, The Evening News, 21 May 1974 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: JL5750).
2 Vicky (Victor Weisz) produced one cartoon (The Evening Standard, 1 November 1965. Reproduced in De Gaulle through British eyes: an Exhibition of Original Cartoon Drawings first published in the British Press, Institut français du Royaume-Uni and the University of Kent, 1990, p. 48. Also in the Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: VY2865) in the form of an open letter to the General begging him not to withdraw from the international stage on the grounds that he was such an inspiration for cartoonists all over the world, a point reinforced in the same cartoon when de Gaulle was compared to the relatively uninspiring new generation of politicians coming to power in Britain, France and the United States.
3 P. M. H. Bell, France and Britain 1940-1994. The Long Separation, London, Longman, 1997, Chapter 1, “The Parting of the Ways, 1940”.
4 There have been examples of favourable views of France being presented in political cartoons in Britain. For example, at the liberation of Paris in 1944 there were positive images of a renascent, heroic, France emerging phoenix-like from the ruins of the weaknesses of the Third Republic and the dark years of German occupation. See, for example, Illingworth (Leslie Gilbert), 24 August 1944 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: ILW0773) and David Low, The Evening Standard, 24 August 1944 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: DL2304).
5 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Daily Mirror, 4 January 1956 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: VY0510). On 30 April 1954 the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, Sir Ivone Kirkpatrick, wrote: “for the last fifty years or so France has stood still in almost every field of human endeavour” andhe predicted “with the passage of time France will be more and more left behind; and a consciousness of her inadequacy will increase French defeatism and the present French reluctance to embark on any positive policy ”, (reprinted in Sean Greenwood, Britain and European Integration Since the Second World War, Manchester University Press, 1996). As late as May 1961 Macmillan’s Private Secretary, Philip de Zueleta, wrote in a note for the Prime Minister: “French political weakness might enable you to carry the country forward on the basis of Britain saving Europe by joining it ”, (Public Record Office, hereafter cited as PRO, PREM 11/3339, 19 May 1961).
6 Sidney 'George' Strube, The Daily Express, 23 July 1931 and David Low, The Evening Standard, 6 October 1931 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: GS0190 and DL0585). Low even portrayed the French leaders of the time, Pierre Laval and Aristide Briand, as “the Al Capones of Europe” (The Evening Standard, 8 September 1931, The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: DL0573). The objective in these cartoons, however, seems to have been as much to ridicule and attack British politicians and the failures of the British Government as to condemn the selfishness and short-sightedness of their French counterparts.
7 David Low, The Guardian, 26 October 1962 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: LSE9135). This reflects and very long-running inclination of the British to praise their own political system with its long traditions of stability and gradual change while condemning the volatility and tendency to go from one extreme to another that they often regard as inherent in French political life.
8 Rumbold to Dawson, 13 December 1935. Quoted in Richard Davis, Britain and France Before the War: Appeasement and Crisis, 1934-1936, London, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2001, p. 11. This fits in perfectly well with the portrayals of Laval in cartoons such as that by NEB (Ronald Niebour) in The Daily Mail on 11 November 1942 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: NEB1442).
10 For example, David Low, The Evening Standard, 6 July 1942 and 15 September 1942 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: DL1884 and DL1922).
11 NEB (Ronald Niebour), The Daily Mail, 11 November 1942; David Low, The Daily Herald, 4 March 1952 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: NEB1442 and LSE8018).
14 Michael Cummings, The Sunday Express, 16 September 1962; Arthur Horner, The New Statesman, 14 May 1971 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: MC1144 and AH0327).
17 PRO: FO 371 163494, CF 1022/43. Rumbold to Home, 23 August 1962. The same image was given by Illingworth in The Daily Mail on 16 January 1963 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: 02548).
18 See, for example, the David Low cartoon of 19 November 1948 from The Evening Standard (Reproduced in De Gaulle through British eyes, op.cit., page 16).
22 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 30 July 1962 and The New Statesman, 9 April 1965 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: VY1987 and VY2708).
23 David Low, The Evening Standard, 19 November 1948, Michael Cummings, The DailyExpress, 8 June 1958 and 5 April 1961 (Reproduced in De Gaulle through British Eyes, op.cit., p. 16, 19, 34 and The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: LSE8968, MC0489, MC0933).
24 Richard Crossman, Selections from the Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, 1964-1970, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1976, p. 300.
25 Peyrefitte records de Gaulle’s view that Britain’s leaders in the 1960s were « nouilles ». Alain Peyrefitte, C’était de Gaulle. Tome 2: La France reprend sa place dans le monde, Paris, Fayard, 1997, p. 310.
26 PRO: FO 371 173346, WU 1074/136 (C). Barnes Minute, 30 October 1963.
27 PRO: FO 371 169114, CF 1022/13. Ledwige to Murray (Athens), 6 March 1963.
28 FO 371 169114, CF 1022/15/G. “Report from the Bureau of Intelligence and Research”, 26 January 1963.
29 PRO: FO 371 172070. Dixon to Home, 7 October 1963. PRO: FO 371 163494. Rumbold (Paris) to Foreign Office, 23 August 1962. (Dixon, for example, remarked “[de Gaulle] regards political action on the grand scale as being more important than anything else. Alexander the Great, Napoleon and Bismarck are among his heroes ”, (PRO: FO 371 172070. Dixon to Home, 7 October 1963).
30 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Daily Mirror, 18 September 1958 (Reproduced in De Gaulle through British eyes, op.cit., p. 21); Michael Cummings, The Daily Express, 6 October 1962.
(The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: MC1156).
31 PRO: FO 371 169114. Evelyn Shuckburgh (Paris) to Hood, 20 February 1963.
32 PRO: FO 371 172070. Dixon to Home, 7 October 1963.
34 David Low drew a direct comparison between De Gaulle and Hitler in a cartoon of 18 April 1947 published in The Evening Standard (Reproduced in De Gaulle through British eyes, op.cit., page 14). Cummings made a comparison with Mussolini in The Daily Express, 6 October 1962 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: MC1156).
35 PRO: FO 371 169114. Dixon to Foreign Office, 6 February 1963.
36 Alain Peyrefitte, C'était de Gaulle. La France redevient la France, Paris, Éditions de Fallois, Fayard, 1994, pp. 116-117.
37 PRO: FO 371 173342, WU 1074/44, Dixon to Heath, 9 February 1963.
43 The modern researcher has only to type into the computer “Britain”, “France” and “sexual relationship” and the data bank at the cartoon archives of the University of Kent comes up with a long list of relevant cartoons.
47 Charles Petrie, The Life and Letters of the Right Hon. Sir Austen Chamberlain. Vol.2, London, Cassell, 1940,p.404.
48 Documents on British Foreign Policy, 1919-1939. Second Series. Volume 15. the Italo-Ethiopian War and German Affairs. October 3, 1935 – February 29, 1936. Edited by W.N. Medlicott, Douglas Dakin and M.E. Lambert, London, H.M.S.O., 1976. Document No.386. Law to Sargent, 16 December 1935.
49 Donald McLachlan, In the Chair. Barrington-Ward of the Times, 1927-1948, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971, p. 164.
50 Harold Macmillan, At the End of the Day, 1961-1963, London, Macmillan, 1973, p. 367-368.
51 Speaking to the BBC in 1994 Hurd reminisced that “When I was a young diplomat I wasreally rather terrified of the French […] There lingered for a long time a feeling that it was not quite safe to have a discussion with a Frenchman, not because he would deceive you but because he was actually cleverer” (Sir Charles Powell, “Entente Cordiale”, broadcast by the BBC, 8 September 1994).
53 David Low, The Evening Standard, 24 October 1944 and 22 February 1945 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: LSE1149 and LSE1203).
56 Lord Palmerston once famously remarked that Britain had no permanent friends, only permanent interests. In 1966, however, the British Foreign Secretary wrote “We mustremember that in the long run the French are natural if difficult allies” (PRO: CAB 124 (1966) C (66) 16. Michael Stewart memorandum: “France: General de Gaulle’s foreign policy over the next two years”).
57 W. K. Haselden, The Daily Mirror, 10 July 1905 and 4 January 1906 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: WH0103 and WH0180).
58 It is notable that it is here, in these most positive presentations of the Anglo-French relationship, that the greatest equality of status between the two sides, between John Bull or Jack Tar and Marianne, can be found even if the former is the more senior while Marianne is shown as a pretty young woman.
60 See, for example, Sidney 'George' Strube, The Daily Express, 17 October 1933 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Ref: GS0272)
62 Vicky (Victor Weisz), The Evening Standard, 15 August 1960, 3 July 1962, 3 August 1962 and 31 August 1962 (The Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, http://library.ukc.ac.uk/cartoons, Refs: VY1691, VY3218, VY1990 and VY2003).
63 The increasingly unbalanced nature of the Anglo-American “special relationship” was famously portrayed by the cartoonist Gerald Scarfe in 1968 when he showed Harold Wilson, as the Prime Minister’s biographer has eloquently put it, “applying his tongue to Johnson's naked rump”. Ben Pimlott, Harold Wilson, London, Harper Collins, 1992, p. 393.Haut de page
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Richard Davis, « The Anglo-French Relationship as seen through British Political Cartoons, from the Third to the Fifth Republic », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. I - n°1 | 2003, 55-74.
Richard Davis, « The Anglo-French Relationship as seen through British Political Cartoons, from the Third to the Fifth Republic », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. I - n°1 | 2003, mis en ligne le 19 novembre 2009, consulté le 03 septembre 2015. URL : http://lisa.revues.org/3118 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.3118Haut de page
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