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[1953 · The Plain Dealer · Editorial Cartooning]

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“AFTERMATH” SHOWED TRUE COSTS OF KOREAN WAR

The Korean War inspired Edward D. Kuekes to create “Aftermath,” an editorial cartoon critiquing the conduct of that war. The aftermath of Kuekes’ creation was the 1953 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

“Aftermath” was published on Nov. 9, 1952, in The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer and featured a scene after battle in the Korean War. In the cartoon, an American solider is being carried away by two others. One solider asks the other, “Wonder if he voted?” The other replies, “No… He wasn’t hold enough.”

“In some ways, this cartoon is critical of the war without risking being charged with being soft on communism,” said Dr. Benjamin Greene, an assistant professor at Bowling Green State University who teaches 20th-century America, foreign relations and military history.

“It’s kind of a veiled, broader critique of the war itself by saying, ‘Isn’t it awful that there’s 18-year-olds who are drafted, and fighting, and dying, and they didn’t even get to vote on whether they thought the war was necessary or not?’”

“It looks solitary. It looks like, ‘What’s this person fighting for, who’s being carried away?’ There’s no victory in sight,” said Greene. “Americans were uncomfortable with the war in Korea by the time this editorial appeared. More Americans felt that going to war in Korea was a mistake.”

Criticism of the draft during the Vietnam War and subsequent attempts to lower the voting age led to a 1970 Supreme Court decision that Congress could assign a minimum voting age in federal elections, but not state and local ones. This ruling paved the way for the ratification of the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 on July 1, 1971.

Kuekes began working with general art for The Plain Dealer in 1922 and started working as a substitute for the senior cartoonist in 1926. In 1949, He was appointed the chief editorial cartoonist for The Plain Dealer.

After 44 years working for The Plain Dealer, he retired in 1966.

by Sami Fisher
PULITZER ENTRY MATERIALS:

Click the slideshow below to see larger versions of the cartoons submitted with Kuekes’ entry, or view the cartoons as PDFs here.

MORE INFORMATION:

Kuekes also won the 1953 Silver T-Square award for his outstanding dedication and service to the National Cartoonists Society, the world’s largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists.

A collection of Kuekes’ cartoons is available in the Syracuse University Library.

In 1949, Kuekes was appointed the chief editorial cartoonist for the Plain Dealer.

Edward D. Kuekes died on Jan. 13, 1987 at a retirement home in Oklahoma City at age 85.

12 Facts about Edward Kuekes