The Kaiser War

The Kaiser War
Australasian Gazette
Access fees

This clip begins with a cartoon of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II surrounded by skulls. A caption illustrates the Kaiser’s thoughts, saying that while he wished to fight in the trenches, the almighty ‘willed it otherwise’. The hand of a skeleton then delivers the skull of a German soldier. The Kaiser sheds a tear but remains remorseless. Meanwhile, a suffragette from England attempts to persuade Mr Hughes to return to England, but he refuses.

The next section shows a man reading a newspaper with the war headline ‘great eclipse’. This is followed by a drawing in the shape of a sun filled with the head of a Kaiser Wilhelm II. He is then supplanted by the head of England’s King George V, captioned 'The Allies’, on a circle that rolls across the screen to 'eclipse’ the German sun.

Summary by Poppy de Souza


The Kaiser War synopsis

Cartoons of the Moment was an animated segment by Harry Julius that appeared in wartime editions of the Australasian Gazette newsreel. This edition comments on events at the end of the First World War in Germany and on Australia’s wartime Prime Minister, William (Billy) Hughes.


Curator's notes

Cartoonist Harry Julius was employed by the Australasian Gazette from approximately 1914 to provide political cartoons as part of its wartime newsreels. This edition of the Cartoons of the Moment was probably made around 1918, after Prime Minister Hughes’s second visit to England to attend the Imperial War Cabinet.

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. The hand of the artist often appears in Cartoons of the Moment as it draws in the details and features that bring each animated character to life.

Julius’s style would have become familiar to audiences in Australia as the Australasian Gazette newsreel was screened on a weekly basis. Harry Julius was also a comic strip artist whose sketches appeared in The Bulletin magazine. His animated cartoons were probably the first locally created cartoons to screen in Australian cinemas.

Notes by Poppy de Souza

Australasian Films