tv Editorial Cartoonist Bill Mauldins Life Work CSPAN August 25, 2021 8:00pm-8:52pm EDT
bill mueller and served in the 52nd william joe conjures. chronicling every day experiences of the american troops at the front. next, mold and biographer detects as work. in which he received a second pulitzer. this conversation was part of an annual conference the museum provided the video. >> now, let's kick off the 13th international conference on world war ii presented by the military foundation on behalf of the pulitzer military
library. the first session is on the most famous world war ii chronicles. this session will bring in todd depastino who's content -- published bike pulitzer military museum and library this past. year todd will be interviewed by the museum's own samuel marry stone, senior historian, and the executive director to our institute to the city of warned democracy, doctor rob citino. robert is the old third of ten books, he is familiar with every content aspect of the museum since he joined us ten years ago and we are very fortunate to have him on our teen and have been kick off our opening session. i will be joining you wall after the conversation to handle the q&as session, but for now, rob, take it away, and let's get the conference started. >> thank you very much. it's very good to be here to
kick off this international conference on world war ii. all digital format this year and we were looking forward to it. i am looking forward very much to his first session. todd depastino, i also ph.d. from yale university, he is the author of the award-winning book called bill mauldin, a life out threatened, if you haven't looked it up you should. an executive director of the veterans breakfast club, a nonprofit dedicated to share veteran stories with the public. he's also the editor of a book that we are going to be discussing today it is called drawing fire. the editorial cartoons of bill mauldin, welcome rob citino to the conference. >> thank you rob, i can almost smell the trickery coffee and beignets from here in pittsburgh. >> that is great, it's also good -- amok later, your a pittsburgh, that's another session of conversation. we can have it sometime next time you visit. but, without further ado, if
you don't mind todd, lead the questions. i think the way we will do this is just a back and forth, 30 minutes per haves or thereabouts, then we will know that there will be a lot of interest in this particular topic and a lot of people out there to. so we will go with the more unpredictable but perhaps even more fun and exciting aspect of the program, answering viewers q&as, if that is good with you? >> that is great. >> top, anyone who is familiar with world war ii nose bill mauldin and his cartoons. he has the grand side view of the war. his heroes are too dark faces named "willie and joe". tell us about bills early life. he has the sense of the common man. this is a kid from pretty tough origins and new mexico. tell us a bit about that. >> he was a hillbilly from the mountains in southern mexico. he grew up in a small apple farm and that made him a hillbilly, literally. the rancher families down there,
there were more affluent, more worldly. he was -- he spent most of his like at 3000 feet or so. and he was always poor. he said, our family didn't even know the great depression happened, we were broke in the twenties. his father was an orphan, part terracotta indian. had been raised in a brothel and he acted like a man who was raised in a brothel. he was a heavy drinker and had fights. pretty unstable, brilliant man, but unstable. his mother was also unstable. probably with diagnosed as bipolar or borderline personality disorder, something like that. the men in the family tended to consider bill a runt and a troublemaker. the women in the family could tended to consider him a genius. and they were kind of both right. the family felt that bill was -- when was 14 years old, he moved
with his 15-year-old brother to phoenix and started the second part of his life, chapter two of his, life in phoenix on his own, at age 14. >> so you talk about, obviously, bill is going to get into the cartoon drawing business and he's going to make a fortune there. obviously, this is a smart, talented kid. it still took him a while. we always think of overnight sensation, spud it's usually the result of a lot of hours of painful work and painful preparation. you talk in your article, and your, book about the 10,000 hours that bill might have put into prepare i'm self to be a cartoonist, and that is of course from -- a genius takes 10,000 hours of preparation. tell us about how that preparation made him who he. his >> success is hard work intel and put together. this is the earliest picture of bill, there he is on the right. you can see here already has a pencil and a piece of paper in front of him. that's his older brother sit, next to him. bill was really drawing from
the start, but he was also doing complex mathematics, he was reading novels at age five, he could master any academic task you gave. him but where he grew up, in the mountains of southern new mexico, that didn't seem important to a lot of people. he did not like farm work and that was the only important thing. so bill -- the family hoped that bill would become a famous order or artist or a surgeon. even a preacher, or an army general, something like that. but when it came down to it, bill is a poor kid, high school dropout. he knew that none of that was in his future. and he decided, just after reading an article in popular mechanics. about how much money to kyung made drawn blond, that he was going to become a cartoonist. so he apprenticed with a local cartoonist named hill bailey larry. and hillbilly larry, why would an apprenticeship, hillbilly larry draw --
drew ten cartoons in a. day he dropped, or he would drop cartoon, show it to bill, and say this is breakfast. drew another one, this is lunch, and this is dinner. he traded his cartoons for food. literally for food. and they said, cartoons are transaction, they are not works of art. and that absolutely -- that was what bill was all about. what kind of artistic career can you possibly have without any education? without any money? he didn't have years to apprentice. he had to start earning at age 14! how do you do that? he did it through drawing signs, selling cartoons here and there. to him, a cartoon was his breakfast, lunch, and dinner. it was not something that was going to be framed and put on a wall in a museum or anything like that. he managed to scrounge up and he borrowed from his grandmother 500 dollars for one year, at the chicago academy of fine arts, which was the only school he knew of, except it high school --
that accepted high school dropouts. he faked his way through one year, pretending to said he was gonna be a portrait artist. but really knowing that he had to learn life drawing, he had to learn some of the finer techniques of fine arts to become a really good cartoonists like a milton can if. so his education came from the classroom, but it also came at night when he was done with his gate washing dishes at the local restaurant. he would go up at his room at the local ymca and he would do ten original drawings, ten original cartoons, every night, and submit them to ten magazines. every single night, for one year. he probably drew 25 original -- 2500 original cartoons. and that instill discipline in him that stayed with him his entire life. of working every day, of taking those ephemeral inside it's an observations, capturing them on paper, being original,
insightful, timely. every single day. >> you know, a lot of poor kids in america, the kids that grip on the wrong side of the tracks, put it as you will, the military was bills way out. he joined the army in 1940, a lot of americans -- the wars on the horizon. obviously, todd, a new phase of bills life is about to begin. first, he is with the supply services, that he goes over -- transitions over to the bloody infantry. what appeals to him most about the latter? because it's clear that -- >> we don't think of pill as a romantic, but he really was. he had a romance with the army that never died. even throughout all the grief that the army caused him, all the grief that he caused the army. he did grow up with this dream of military glory, but he joins the 45th division, he joins the arizona national guard, again, because he needs to be, fed and needs clothing. and he gets put on the 20th
quarter regiment, which he says as a school of corruption and ineptitude. he said the junior officers and the and ceos were bootleggers and loan sharks, mainly. he was punished for turning out crisply every morning for scoring the highest in the division iq tests. anytime he showed any kind of confidence, he was punished. toughso he requested the transn the infantry, which nobody does. because the infantry was, tough it is tough, it always is tough! you live your life in the ground! you become a foot slugger. he had a cushy but dispiriting job. and he traded it for a tough but inspiring one. and man, it absolutely inspired. him the 45th division is such an interesting division. it's the most ethnically diverse in the country in world war ii. there are a lot of indians, a lot of mexican americans, a lot -- in his company, 85th regiment.
he thrived in the training but he thrived in the pride that these men had in their soldiering. >> so you mention the 45th, the famous thunderbirds. and they are inaction pretty early in the american division. bill is there during the invasion of sicily and the grinding fight of the tally in -- todd, you make an interesting book -- point in this book. i wanted to hone in on it a bit. this was not the kind of war that the u.s. military planners had been expecting. they had been talking about aircraft in tanks and technology. here, we are u.s. infantry men, dog, faces crossing, rivers crossing mud much like their ancestors had done in previous generations. how does the italian campaign turned bill into the man of the hour? >> if that original war plan of winning through air power, long range artillery, high
technology, small, elite units like the marine corps, seasoning beach heads, using the infantry simply to police up later, if that original war plan had stopped, bill would've been a footnote in the history of world war ii. he would've been -- but that war plan broke down. it broke down in the tallinn campaign. the weather, the terrain conspired against any kind of quick progress of the italian boot. and the hundreds of thousands of men who were stuck in rosen foxholes and mountains of southern italy, they were reliving in the sense, the trench warfare of world war i. it became a desperate, muddy, boots log in the italian campaign. the war had devolved into the infantry. and the infantry was suddenly, here's the mud, meals, and mountains campaign, the infantry campaign was suddenly bearing on the shoulders the burden of the war effort.
and this was not anticipated. and it required very much a shift in how the war department we -- or how the white house was publicizing the war. they turn their attention to the infantry. the infantry had gotten hardly any publicity before 1943. all the publicity was on the air corps, the lead branches, even the naval construction battalions, but not the infantry. here, for the first time, there is a need to publicize the role of these neglected footsoldiers and what they had was mold and, by that time we, mauldin had become well known. he had become a cult hero in italy for the kind of acerbic, pointed cartoons he was doing about the horrible situation in the italian campaign. he was still cartooning for the 45th infantry division news. but these newspapers were being passed by hand two men of other divisions.
and word was getting out about this remarkable cartoonist in the 45th division who is doing the searing, gritty, you know, heavily textured, realistic, funny cartoons. i wish i could stand up to get some sleep. there was nobody else doing anything remotely like this in world war ii. ernie piles was doing a little bit inwards, doing it a lot inwards. but mauldin was doing it in pictures. >> that's fantastic. and as you -- use it very something important. it has to be funny! you have to have a chuckle added or -- it doesn't really qualify. there are certain moments where of course it has more somber approach. but what i think we like about "willie and joe", there in the situation where they have to keep their spirit up. they are jostling with run another. it's the redemptive quality of mauldin. mauldin always balanced comedy and tragedy. absolutely, he kept that balance. and that's what makes him a
great artist. he kept that balance. he could show the most awful things. but there's always a redemptive element. i think of the one cartoon of "willie and joe". they are walking through this blasted battle skate that looks like armageddon. and a branch of a tree there is a little flower that has bloomed. and willie says, spring is here! and that to me sums up mauldin with his whole approach. finding that little bit of redemptive humor. in a horrible situation. >> that's great stuff. so there is a critical day that we can say -- a crucial day in bills career. it is january 15th, 1944, todd. early pile plays a crucial war -- role in making bill mauldin famous, isn't he? >> i tell my students that ernie pile was read more than -- high rates of literacy in the
thirties and forties. and the fact that bernie pile, he was indicated on with -- everybody read him. everybody read him during the great depression and when he went overseas to cover the infantry in the pacific and in europe -- for ernie pile to focus a column on you, i mean, it was to make you instantly famous. instantly famous. molten went to bed on january 14th and and obscured for stripes surgeon, woke up on the 15th, which he woke up a national celebrity. >> we are looking at that line -- looked at the story right there. the man himself, ernie pile he is giving you his endorsement. >> yes. and he saying that mauldin is the greatest cartoonist of the war. his cartoons are funny but they are grim lee realistic. and then he teases the readers
on the home front saying, too bad you cannot see these cartoons because they're only published in stars and stripes. we mauldin had been transferred to stars and stripes. it made him famous. and instantly the next, day he gets syndication offers. he eventually signs a syndication offer that make some very wealthy men, and puts his cartoons in every newspaper that's column isn't. >> i think the proof of pritzker military ernie pile's influence, not too long after that, winds bill mauldin the law pulitzer prize at the age of 23. the youngest pulitzer prize in history. how does the process? that look, we all love fun -- we all of fame. you seek it, you want to be successful, you want people to love you. and here it has whole happen. at such a tender age. how does he process, it does he had? let >> the first thing he asks
is, what's the pulitzer we? and they have to explain that it is pulitzer prize. he doesn't really know what it means. he had no idea when. and i think he was more impressed with the legion of merit that the army kind of rushed to give him to recognize him with something remotely equivalent to a pulitzer prize. he becomes the youngest pulitzer winner in history. it changes his life. that will be the first time in -- winning pulitzer cartoonist. and he left the united states with, a three stripe, hillbilly from new mexico, in 1943. he comes back in 1945 a celebrity and a millionaire. and it ruins his life. >> tell us -- jesus a little bit. tell us, is it too much for him too fast? >> oh yeah. >> it's is it also the effect of the? war >> oh yeah, it's all that. all of that roll together. it is absolutely -- imagine this.
imagine going overseas, being a rifle man, surviving the war. all of your comrades were either captured, killed, or wounded. all of them. you not only survived, you become a celebrity and a millionaire. and how do you become of celebrity in a millionaire? by depicting their suffering of your comrades. the worst the war, got the better his cartoons got. for example, in september 1944, when the allies are really -- when the germans are retreating, the allies are rushing to the line. we mauldin's get a little tame. the battle of all-stars, right. the worse the fighting got, the better his pardons. got and mauldin knew that. it's almost as if the more his friends suffered, the better off he was. he lived with that guilt for the rest of his life. so you brought that home, he
brought home this help wealth, he got to see his wife again that he had married before he went overseas, he didn't know where that well. had never met his son, who was born when he was in sicily, and he found that she had been living her own life for a couple of years. he had certainly been living his own life for a couple of years overseas. the couple did not get along. and they divorced within months of his return from the home front. and that was a disillusioning expense for him. so you write in your essay in the book that bill came home a changed man, and you just referenced. that you were -- the political term that bills work took, he was angry at the injustice about. it if you do my, let me quote you, he said that he needed a ballot to fight to overcome his disillusion. that's how you put. it will wear the targets in bills battle during this period? >> mainly civil rights. mainly civil rights. you can see, here is a great cartoon. you can tell that there is
something wrong with the mauldin family with this cartoon. this is right before the divorce. bill had not been political before during the war and immediately after the war. but after the divorce, he needs to fight a battle. he had fought a battle for the combat infantry in world war ii, he was a crisis driven personality. if there was not a war going on, he was going to start one. his best work was always done with things are at the worst. always. and so is, it is almost as if he had to scan the horizon to find an injustice to defend. we find an injustice to advocate for, or find a victim. we and the most -- living in california at the time, it was the japanese american, 40 42nd combat regiment team, he saw them discriminated against in california. he did this cartoon in september 11th, 1945.
this was his first civil rights cartoon. very first one. and they would become a signature issue for holden. civil rights would be with him always. he was always questioning about civil rights. it was very much a personal issue with. him he said, i believe you have to give a man a chance to prove his inequality before you treat him unequally. and you felt that racial discrimination just don't do that. so he lashed out at the rise, the resurgence of the ku klux klan after world war ii. the lynching of black veterans in the south after world war ii. he lashed out against segregation, jim crow. he lashed out at the rising power of the house on american activities committee. and that rising voices that seem to want a world war three with a new enemy, or the soviet
union. he lashed out those who opposed immigration from europe, displaced people from europe. he was a big supporter of immigration. he took the liberal left side of politics in the media post world years. and he ran with, that he did a lot of hard-hitting cartoons in 1945, early 1946. >> the cartoon that we have up on the screen right. now go home junior, you're making me look silly! the klan who's saying this to his son who is trying out his father's customs. there but have to, ask bill was an extremely popular guy as the representation of the champion of the infantry, the common man in world war ii. but how do people react to the new bill? certainly, they had -- not everyone appreciates the new political cartoons. because of the nature of a political perfume, some people are supposed to say right on, and others are supposed to spit
their coffee out against the morning paper. so i'm wondering how the new bill was accepted by his legion of fans from the old career? >> he got a lot of hate mail. a lot of hate mail. and worse than that, he got newspapers that were refusing to print his cartoons! he got a syndicate we who started censoring his cartoons. changing captions, erasing images from the cartoons. to tone down the political message. it was one -- it was a real professional crisis. but bill had a disagreeable personality, and i mean that in a neutral way. he felt comfortable disagreeing a lot with conventional wisdom and popular pinion. but he always knew that line. he always knew when he pushed it too far. and i think he sensed in 1946 that he was pushing it too far. here is an example of the kind of censorship that the united peaches syndicate was doing in his cartoons. here is the original caption to
this cartoon. with the york nations is about to have a headquarters in the united states. about your hometowns offered to let the united nations to hold its conference senator, don't you think the senior delegation would object to writing in the back seat of the buses? we ride, about jim crow in the south, this is what this cartoon is. about the syndicate erased this caption and replaced it with this -- about holding the united nations conference in your town, senator, you may be 100 percent americans, but united nations also requires you to 100% other nationalities too. >> i consider myself to be a well read person, or donor some of them means. >> mold and said, they're trying to sabotage, me they want to make me look like an idiot! so yes. gentlemen, i said that i am speaking for all patriotic pure blood, 100% areas, americans.
and that is replaced with. >> and so full of americans, i claimed the adam belongs to, us we invented, it didn't we? >> it was just so turned. out and bill knew that he had pushed it too far, that he had gone too far. he said, you know, with this post cartooning, political cartooning, you need to use a stiletto, not a sledgehammer. you need to have that steel in the gut four inches deep -- deep before they even know they have been stabbed. yeah to have more nuance. he learned a lesson. >> tell us a bit about bill's foreign policy views. ict onespecially about one specc country. the soviet union. there is a new conflict on, no one knows what to call it, they settle on cold war. a former ally played an immense of role in bringing hitler down. but times have changed and they? how is that reflected in bill's
own cartoon view of the world? >> one of mauldin's virtues, and believe me at many vices, but one of his virtues was his capacity to change. his capacity to grow. his capacity to admit that he was wrong. he did that often, with many issues in his career. and one of them was with the cold war and the soviet union. immediately after the war, he was a very big fan of the soviet union and of stalin, in the sense, they had rescued the ally cause, they had sacrificed so much for victory in world war ii. and he really resented the idea that our country build a war for another world war three with that ally. but by 19 -- by about today, which is the 75th anniversary of winston churchill's iron curtain speech, at westminster college, we 75 years ago today, was mauldin
beginning to understand that the soviet union was a problem. and that their imperialism, their squelching of human rights, of free speech, of civil rights, they could not be trusted. he reluctantly became a moderate cold warrior, but he was never virulent anti communist. as you can see from this cartoon. he disliked very ellen anti communism. he liked calling them the un-american committee of the investigation of activities. the congressman here says, where is that gold sign container? we mauldin originally put in nazi eagle and swastikas under the writing on that door. the syndicate why did it out. what >> you are an expert on mauldin but, and i would go as far as say you are the extra nationally. what was billed's net legacy?
how much has he influenced other cartoons -- cartoonists? let's think about the author of charlie brown. >> that is such a good question. i saw that you're gonna ask that question, rob. and i thought about it a little bit. i think -- i was going to say, i was going to heaven haunt and say that charles schultz was a machine gun squad leader in world war ii. he was younger than mauldin, he worshiped mauldin. absolutely worshiped mauldin. charles schultz said that mauldin was the greatest cartoonist who ever lived and there would be nobody close to him. many years, all the viewers will know, charles schultz painted -- paid homage to him on a veterans day. he printed 10 million copies of
peanuts. he never allowed anyone else's work -- he never had a new system drawer, and assisted what -- he used mauldin's cartoon. we see willie ngos buddy landscape. happy veterans day, men. and you see in the corner schultz and my hero, bill mauldin. he was a cartoonist that other cartoonists worshiped. greatly admired. but i cannot say that bill mauldin changed cartooning. he was not the thomas mast, he was not a path olive fond. he was not a milton can. he didn't introduce a new style that got replicated everywhere. he was a one-of-a-kind he, was a one-off. the mold was broken after him.
there was no one quite like him before and no one like him after. his political cartooning, which was distinct from his world war ii fine-tuning, he was the apotheosis of few -- didn't transform the art of political cartooning. so i would say that he had a transformational impact on the profession of cartooning, but he had a transformational impact on the consciousness of the culture >> we have one last question to which i -- i knew i was going to ask you this the moment i knew i was going to be interviewing, utah. you know this one's coming. what are your three favorites mauldin cartoons, or your three favorite wartime cartoons? you must have some favorites, no one as steeped in this man's work as you are. >> i do have some. and it's funny because you think of -- there is some curtains you admire, and some curtains you
just love. this one, actually, i cannot say that this is for poignant for today on the 75th anniversary of winston churchill's iron speech. this is the cartoon that we mauldin did one churchill dilute died in 1965 i think it was and this kind of exemplifies so much about more than. i'm not saying that it's a great workout to or that is the greatest card to, but it's -- more than was great with grief. he was wonderful expressing grief. it was part of his tragic awareness of the world. the world is a tragic, fundamentally a tragic place. and what his cartoons are are a response, if in response to that tragedy. one that inspires you to go on. and so, you know, times of grief, moments of lost, that's when malting really shines.
and he was not a big admire of winston churchill, you know, after the war. certainly, when churchill was booted out of office and then he came back in as a conservative force in british politics. he was not an admirer of that. but secretly admired him as a giant of history and of course as the inspirational leader during world war ii. >> so there is the british line, presumably, shut easier for the loss of its greatest son, winston churchill, in 1965. what else? what are the countries by molding, would finally get someone to understand the work, the who's of this great artist, which one would you point to? >> just give me the aspirin, i will -- owe! let's do this one, this is good. [inaudible] host broke? >> i mean, look at that. look at that. yes, you know, i'm a historian. i've never served in the military, i don't come from a military family. i know league a veterans organization. i remember seeing this cartoon
and thinking, what the heck is this about? what does this mean? i mean, because why would i have ever thought about what he soldier has to face when they are under fire in a foxhole and they have to relieve themselves, you know? either expose themselves to a deadly fire, or they can go in their holes. and that kind of, like, little glimpse into the everyday indignities and discomforts of life in the military is such a revelation to me, just like it was a revelation to readers 75 years ago on the home front, when they would open up a newspaper, see this image, read the caption, and sit back and think for just a moment about what the humor was. they had to try to get the joke, and that was the magic of modern's cartoons. you have to work to get the humor, and once you got the humor you understood something about the life on the frontlines in world war ii. >> any more for us that you would like to share? >> just give me [inaudible] you've got a purple heart.
this we need cartoons we, need images, we need picture makers because words fail us. you know, how do you describe -- i could sit here and give you 500 words about what metals medals meant to soldiers at a time in world war ii or soldiers in vietnam or any war, what metals mean and. the fact is that metals tend to mean more later in life than they do at the time i. mean, willie needs an aspirant. he doesn't meet a now they're purple heart. and that just is -- that captures in just a clipped sentence the sardonic real-ism, the enlightenment of willie, how smart he is, what a survivor he is, you know? how down to earth he is. and how the infantry, when you're living in the war zone, you know, your world devolves down to the patch of ground your standing on. you're not thinking of the higher ideals, you're not
thinking about, you know, god and country. you're thinking about yourself and your comrades. >> and answer session i'm going to give you the last word, john, before we take it over to the set question undoes drew session, which promises to be a lot of fun. some of bill mauldin's career, his legacy, his meaning for americans, why should we still care about the work of this great cartoonist? >> he was truly, we don't think of cartoonists as great artists and he would absolutely, he explicitly said, i'm a cartoonist, that's because i'm not good enough to be an artist. so he would never call himself an artist, but i do. i think he was one of the great popular artists of the 20th century. i think his work really defined a broad swath of the 20th century america life from mid century to the end, really, he stopped cocooning seriously in 1990, 1991. and i think, i mean, i'm plugging the book in the sense, just leaving through drawing
fire, which has a selection of 150 cartoons from 19 forties through 1991, you find yourself revisiting things that you've forgotten about. you find yourself kind of understanding in is smart, incisive way, what a particular moment in history meant to the people who lived it. that's what molded it. at one point in his political cartooning career, he had six cartoons a week. six a week, every day. and he had to be funny, original, and insightful, every -- and timely -- every single day. and he was very, very good at it. so it's a chronicle, it's a wonderful chronicle of art history. >> to todd depastino, explored on bill, the wartime bill mauldin and later editorial cartoonist, marvelous presentation and thank you for your insight into bill. at this point i think i'm going to call my colleague jeremy collins back into the room.
he will receive the q&a, and there he is, by the magic of digital. jeremy? >> todd, rob, thank you very much for such an engage in conversation. todd, it's another great work where this is the second conference you've been to. first one virtually. >> it would be the last! >> but it's great to have you back, even if it's only over the internet. we do have some questions now for all of you, and what we are doing in the production booth is pulling it up on the screen. todd, did mauldin develop a way of jutting down cartoon ideas as he traveled, experienced the war, and then drew them later? or did he sketch as he went along? and this is from scott matheson. >> scott, whatever wonderful question. yes. this is really a key to his work. he did keep a sketchbook. he would visit the front and keep a sketchbooks. catched very quick ideas, maybe a scrap of a sentence, maybe just an observation, you know, maybe just like firing
artillery, what if? or maybe just an image. and he would spent a week, maybe five days, up to 14 days at the front lines, in the front lines, in the foxholes, with his sketchbook. and then he would go back for a luxurious two weeks in the rear, where he had, you know, wine, women and whiskey waiting for him. and he would do two weeks worth of cartoons for stars and stripes. he would take each one of these scraps of our ideas, develop them into a full cartoon, submit, you know, all ten or 12 of them two stars and stripes, and then he had to screw up the courage to go back to the front. and that was always the hardest. he said, once you are at the front, you're okay. but it was getting there that was the fear. that's where the fear set in. because you'd be coming from the relative safety of the rear, and you start hearing artillery and then artillery shells would start falling, and then you hear small arms fire, and then it would be very quite. and that's when you knew you
were in danger. and mauldin went to war as a teetotaller. his father was an alcoholic, he didn't want to drink. but he found he couldn't go back up front. it was really, really hard. and our new pilot said, well, you get drunk. that's how we all do it. you just drink and get drunk, and you land at the front lines drug, and you're okay once you're there. and that's what he did. and he became an alcoholic because of that. >> thank you. our next question is coming up now. cartoo can the offer comment on the varieties of reception his cartoons were received by the senior commanders such as patton and bradley in the european theater of operations. >> [inaudible] let me say hello to jim. good front. >> hey, jim. i thought i might get away with a top on mauldin without mentioning patton but there's no way to do that. because so many of high-ranking army brass, of course, hated mauldin, absolutely hated. so his cartoon says it's
important. it mauldin said, patton sort of mauldin, the crowds ought to the crowds are to pin a middle on you because of your work against american moral. off it officers don't like didn't like how mauldin was criticizing them. john [inaudible] quartermaster-in-chief in france didn't like him. general in charge of the peoples base section didn't like him. and so, but there were other generals, more powerful, who did support, who really supported combat soldiers, the inventory, and therefore supported margin and saw what moderna was doing was really important, that he was building more are. and omar bradley was one of those. general mark clark was one of those. and, you know, loosen trust, big supporter of modern. and theodore roosevelt junior, and dwight eisenhower, in the
end, a big supporter of modern. and that made the difference. that allowed molding to go and succeed and do his subversive work during world war ii. >> yeah, top, you mentioned general the. three start in the front and three stars in the back, the famous six star general as he called himself. the definition of, the definition of the brass. mark clark tolerated and enjoyed the work of bill. that's a surprise to me [inaudible] . >> rob, is very much a surprise to me. i never quite got to the bottom of it. mauldin himself remained mute on mark clock because he knew that clock was not popular. i think he didn't like him, but clark was smart enough to protect mauldin. mauldin had a constituency that clock hated, and that was like, the, you know, the infantry commanders in italy. and so, mark was smart enough to tolerate mauldin. >> great. thank you, we'll get to the
next question now. how much do you credit mauled in mauldin with helping bring about the combat medical batch? this is from jack mccaul. >> oh, love it. love, it love it, love it. jack, oh man. the fact that you asked that question means that you probably know more than i do about it. but that is such an important point. multi mauldin did a wonderful cartoon of, you know, sunk look at the desk in a tent, saying to a racket looking combat soldier, well, you don't get a combat medal because you don't fight. and he was a medic. the man, that ragged looking combat soldier was a medic. and medics didn't get any kind of special recognition. they didn't get a combat infantry badge. the combat infantry badge, in fact, didn't exist until 1943, i believe. and mauldin of course, left medics, as all combat soldiers to. the medics corps man, and so, yeah, mauldin was one of those
who campaigned along with the editors and other writers of stars and stripes for special recognition for the important work that medics to. >> todd, the question coming from david trail is, did mauldin have any close calls in combat himself? anything that shook him personally? >> yeah, he did have close calls. he actually received a purple heart, a mortar exploded at his foot in the mountains of southern italy in december 1943, and he had a lot of close calls. and that was just one, in mortar exploded at his feet. and he caught he nicked in his shoulder. but it really, he was determined by the idai not to go to the pacific. and he was afraid that the army was going to send him there. and his friend, her new pile went there, and that didn't end well. and he didn't want to have any part of that. >> great. well, we'll go for a next question. what about the killer i cartoons? this is from sin baseman.
did he have any comments on kill roy? >> i've never heard mauldin comment on kill roy. the demonic piece of folk if ever there was one that seems to have come from britain, and then modified by american soldiers. you see it back there. it's, it, to be, it's kind of like -- oh, it to me is kind of like the folk version of a combat infantry badge. what does a combat infantry badge say? it says i, was there. i was there. it doesn't say that you liked it, didn't say you were good in combat, doesn't say that you did anything valid or heroic, just as our weather. that's what gilroy says. >> great. how did mauldin reacted his cartoons to the vietnam war? this is from jim benjamin. another great. >> another great, one jim. here is an example of mauldin really changing his mind, flip-flopping, we might say, on vietnam. he was a skeptic on vietnam
sins dien bien pohu in 1954. he thought it could be a drag my. he didn't think it was a big battlefield for americans to fight in. but then he visited vietnam and he happened to be there in january, february 1965, and he happened to be visiting his son, bruce, who was a helicopter pilot stationed at camp holloway ad pleiku and he happened to be there the first week of february 1965. when the via vietcong sapeurs snuck into the race and sabotaged it, by killing several is american serviceman, wounding many others, destroying many helicopters, and mauldin himself tended the wounded that like that he was at camp holloway. mauldin took everything personally. he was not the kind of like, intellectual, who thought back and thought broadly and universally about problems.
he reacted when he felt the pain. and man, did he become pro war, very much pro vietnam war, very much a, hagen from 1965 until 1967, and his old skepticism crowd back in. by the end of 67, it was very anti war. so you can treat that trace this development, and we do that in drawing fire, you can change traits the changes in his views of war overtime. >> great, thank you. next question, we have a few more. how close was bill mauldin's relationship with the 101st airborne division? this coming from kenneth counselor. >> i don't know. i mean, he had, i'd say he was probably closer with the 82nd airborne. he was always a little afraid of airborne soldiers, rightly so. they had a fearsome reputation. you know, the big airborne story that i know of with mauldin is that somebody gave him a gift while he was in italy of paratrooper jump for jumping boots, and that he wore them around.
the problem was that paratroopers weren't getting paratrooper jump which in italy. paratroopers were report reportedly shot in italy. he said, the guys would jack him up on the streets of neighbors, and said where would you get the boots and pretty watch want to take them from. in so he learned not to wear the jump boots around even though he praised him. i don't know specifically about his relationship with the airborne division, but he had enormous respect for airborne soldiers who had a lot more courage, he said, than i do. >> did mull mauldin feel as though he was being patriotic or realistic? this coming from william james. >> that is a great question. i would say that his allegiance at the time, if you were to ask mauldin, if you are to go back on the ground in naples in 1944, and ask mauldin, where does your allegiance lie? is it to art, is it to
representing the world in a realistic way, is it to the united states of america? he would say it is to the dark faces in the mountains. that is miley gents. that was the alpha and omega of his work. it had to pass muster, his work had to serve those dog faces in the mountains, who are facing a death sentence in those foxholes. who are losing their feet because of trench floods. who were being malnourished because they were not getting sea rations, k rations. his alicia and -- his allegiance was to them. anything that came later was after the fact. later, he would talk about the meaning of the war, the larger meaning of the war. but at the time, that was not part of his calculus. >> todd, that is a ernie pile characteristic as well. you are ernie pile, you are not reading a lot about the ideals, the four freedoms of what it will be, you are reading about
some individual americans facing difficult circumstances. >> right, and he knew that he was serving the country in a broad sense by doing the cartoon work. he said that a lot of men could've served the country better than dying in a foxhole to. he knew the privilege that he had and he -- as i said before, he carried that guilt. but that was his focus. that's why he won't call himself an artist or anything like that. he was a servant, a suffering servant, up there on the frontlines. that's how he wanted to be viewed. >> beautifully put. gentlemen, thank you very much for getting us off to a wonderful start here. todd, thank you for your insightful presentation and answers to rubs questions and the audiences. audience members, thank, you keep those questions coming and we will get to as many as we can. this book is wonderful. i have had the chance to go through it, drawing fire. and you can buy a copy of any