Another scrap of paper

Accession Number ART02424
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 62.4 x 48.4 cm; image: 62.4 x 48.4 cm
Object type Work on paper
Physical description brush and ink, pencil on blue paper
Place made United Kingdom
Date made 1916
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts the figure of the god of war, Mars, standing astride a canon and tearing up a piece of paper, a deed, on which is written ; 'I, Mars, God of War, hereby do promise To Germany Kingship over all the Earth and the Waters...' while he looks down on the forlorn figure of a German or Prussian general with the Imperial Eagle resting on his back. This cartoon was published in Dyson's 'War Cartoons' (London, 1916) with the caption; 'Mars: - "What presumption, mortal! Did you think that you alone could break agreements?" and the following accompanying text; 'Amongst the intellectual and moral forces which have been marshaled, in these great days, to fight in the crusade against Prussianism and Militarianism, and to achieve the liberation of Europe from a yoke scarcely less oppressive and hateful than that of old time slavery, the brilliant Australian artist Will Dyson, has won a distinguished and honourable place. No one has seen more clearly or satirised with more power, the character and motives of German 'real politik' of that brutality and craft masquerading as 'Kultur' and superior civilization which is seeking to impose its supremacy upon European peoples.... Germany tore up the 'scrap of paper' relating to her joint guarantee of Belgian neutrality, trusting that the result would prove that her 'might' proved her 'right' to do such an act- that the end would justify the means...'. From 1915 , a number of Dyson's caricatures were published , characterised by his response to Germany's military monarchy. Using a figure loosely based on the Kaiser, Dyson identified the 'common enemy' and attacked it with vigour. When some of his anti-German cartoons were published in 1915, they were accompanied by the following foreword; 'Mr. Dyson...responds to all the fearful pressure of this war in cartoons. He perceives a militaristic monarchy and national pride a threat to the world, to civilisation, and all that he holds dear, and straightaway he sets about to slay it with his pencil...he turns his passionate gift against Berlin." Will Dyson was the first Australian official war artist to visit the front during the First World War, travelling to France in December 1916, remaining there until May 1917, making records of the Australian involvement in the war. He was formally appointed as an official war artist, attached to the AIF, in May 1917, working in France and London throughout the war. His commission was terminated in March 1920.