ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Immediately after the Germans invaded Belgium, Louis Raemaekers became one of their fiercest critics. His message was clear: the Netherlands had to take sides for the Allies and abandon its neutral stance. His graphic cartoons depicted the rule of the german military in Belgium, portrayed the Germans as barbarians and Kaiser Wilhelm II as an ally of Satan. His work was confiscated on several occasions by the Dutch government and he was criticized by many for endangering the Dutch neutrality. The minister of Foreign Affairs John Loudon invited Raemaekers, the owner of De Telegraaf H.M.C. Holdert and the editor-in-chief Kick Schröder under pressure from the German government to a meeting, at which he requested them to avoid ‘anything that tends towards insulting the German Kaiser and the German army’. It was not possible to prosecute Raemaekers for as long as the country was not under martial law. But the pressure on him continued, also from Germany: in September 1915 the rumor even started circulating that the German government had offered a reward of 12,000 Guiders for Raemaekers, dead or alive, but proof of an official statement has never been found.
Louis Raemaekers achieved his greatest successes outside his native country. He left for London in November 1915, where his work was exhibited in the Fine art Society, on Bond Street. It was received with much acclaim. Raemaekers became an instant celebrity and his drawings were the talk of the town: ‘they formed the subject of pulpit addresses, and during two months, the galleries where they have been exhibited have been thronged to excess. Practically every cartoon has been purchased at considerable prices.’ He decided to settle in England and his family followed in early 1916. His leaving the Netherlands for London was a godsend for all concerned. Henceforth, the Dutch government could distance itself from the cartoonist and his work in its diplomatic relations, thus stabilising its position vis-à-vis Germany, while Raemaekers himself could cease his hopeless campaign to get the Netherlands to abandon its neutral stance. He may also have realised for himself that his aim of persuading his country to take up arms and thus avoid the fate of Belgium was not very realistic. From early 1915 Raemaekers' cartoons had already appeared in British newspapers and magazines. In early 1916 he signed a contract with the Dailyn Mail and they appeared in this newspaper on a regular basis for the next two years.
THE GREAT WAR: A NEUTRAL INDICTMENT BY LOUIS RAEMAEKER 1916. 100 CARTOONS
London: The Fine Art Society, Ltd.:, 1916.
First edition. Large format Folio, original cloth backed marbled boards. Leather spine labels, top edge gilt. 100 tipped in plates. Limited to 1,050 copies, of which 1,000 were for sale. In good condition with some soiling and rubbing commensurate with age. This is a rare book.