Ben and World War One
Ben was a strong supporter of the Allied forces in World War One and firmly believed that Germany and the Central Alliance started the war. His feelings towards duty and military service most likely evolved from growing up in British Army barracks and his time spent fighting in the Second Boer War (1899-1902).
The Western Mail was a mainstream newspaper and supported the Australian war effort including the call for national conscription in Australia. Ben was a strong support of the 1916 and 1918 referendums on introducing conscription in Australia. Both referendums failed to pass, with only Western Australia and Tasmania voting for conscription both times. It was following the defeat of the second referendum that Strange published one of his most notable cartoons’ East is East and West is West’ which strongly criticizes the result.
“East is East And West is West” --- Kipling
Some of the anti leaders domiciled in this State profess surprise at the overwhelming “Yes” vote in Western Australia. One of the anti’s said that at one time this State could boast of leading democracy in Australia, but the result of the last two referendums shows that we are lagging behind in both democracy and humanity, and are out of step with Australian sentiment.
This cartoon was published following the defeat of the second Australian referendum on conscription. It was inspired by a statement made by Alex McCallum, a leading anti-conscriptionist, following the 1917 referendum that Western Australia was lagging behind the Eastern States in democracy and humanity and was out of step with the national sentiment by twice voting Yes for conscription. The quote is from the opening line of The Ballad of East and West by Rudyard Kipling, first published in 1889.
The Triumph of the Cross
The “Cologne Gazette,” the organ of the German Government, declares that the capture of Jerusalem by the British is of serious political importance.
This cartoon is celebrating the news that General Edmund Allenby’s Egyptian Expeditionary Force was moving into position to capture Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire. Allenby would capture the city on December 7, a week after the cartoon was published. The image of Jesus Christ and the Christian Cross looking down on the fleeing enemy is implying a number of messages from the evil Ottomans and their beastly German allies about to be driven out; to celebrating that for the first time since 1517 the holy city was again under Christian control.