The economy in Germany

The economy in Germany
Australasian Gazette
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This clip begins with the title card Cartoons of the Moment followed by a scene of cartoonist Harry Julius sketching at an easel. A group of children run up to him and watch as he sketches. The three animated political sketches that follow comment on the economy in Germany during the First World War.

In the first sketch, German policeman PC Von Fritz arrests a fashionably dressed woman and replaces her clothes with newspaper. In the second, a schoolmaster encourages his student to eat slowly so he’ll think it is a lot of food. Finally, in the third sketch, PC Von Fritz is shown eating a shoe, a jam tin and ‘humble pie’ from John Bull.

Summary by Poppy de Souza

This sketch is representative of the style and tone of cartoonist Harry Julius’s political satire. Julius uses caricature and word play to ridicule the German police and authority figures and to comment on the social impact of the war in German society. The German economy suffered greatly during the First World War, with billions of dollars poured into the war effort. What the sketch cleverly points out is that the effect of this is not just economic, but also social. 'Economy’ in this sketch highlights another common meaning of the word – to be frugal. Julius’s cartoon takes this to the extreme by sketching a woman dressed in newspaper clothes, and a boy who is told to eat slowly as a substitute for eating a lot. The punchline comes when Julius sketches PC Von Fritz literally eating a humble pie prepared by John Bull – a name that represents a typical Englishman.

Julius is often shown sitting at his desk reading a current newspaper before sketching down his ideas. Sometimes he is filmed in an exterior location standing at an easel before the action focuses on the hand of the artist and his resulting cartoon. Julius’s drawn animation uses two-dimensional cut-out character shapes photographed with a stop-motion technique. Today, animation is instead frequently rendered with computer technology.


The economy in Germany synopsis

Cartoons of the Moment is an animated satirical segment created by Australian cartoonist Harry Julius during the First World War for the Australasian Gazette newsreel. In this edition from approximately 1914, Julius comments on the economic decline in Germany and the likely prospect of that country’s defeat.


Curator's notes

Harry Julius’s sketches for the wartime editions of the Australasian Gazette frequently use caricature and satire to comment on the social, political and economic impact of the First World War – from the Allies point of view. Julius was employed by the newsreel specifically for Cartoons of the Moment and his cartoons supported the Gazette’s position on the war and, later, its pro-conscription stance. The sketches were probably the first locally-produced cartoons to be seen by Australian audiences in cinemas and were screened on a weekly basis from approximately 1914. Julius’s drawn animation regularly includes the appearance of animals representing the major war countries including: a battered fez-capped turkey (Turkey); a large aggressive eagle (the United States); and a Union Jack-covered bulldog or lion (the United Kingdom). He also employs caricatures that use a symbol, a particular item of clothing or specific facial features to satirise the qualities of a country or its people.

Cartoons of the Moment employs paper cut-outs – white figures on a dark background. Cut-out animation uses two-dimensional character shapes, photographed with a stop-motion technique. Stop-motion, or frame-by-frame photography, involves photographing the action one frame at a time to create the effect of movement. Today, animation is more often achieved using computer technology.

Harry Julius was employed to produce sketches supporting the conscription drive in Australia for wartime editions of the Australasian Gazette newsreel. Julius drew for Australian newspapers and magazines including The Bulletin. He was the first artist in Australia to animate cartoons for films.

Notes by Poppy de Souza

Australasian Films