|Born||29 Oct 1921|
|Died||22 Jan 2003|
Contributor: Bryan Hiatt
ww2dbaseBill Mauldin isn't famous for any heroic exploits during World War II. Rather, he created the cartoon characters Willie and Joe, two battle-hardened, sardonic dogfaces for the 45th Division News.
ww2dbaseMauldin just wasn't a journalist along for the ride. He joined the Army in 1940 and participated in the invasions of Sicily and Italy with the 45th Division before going to work full-time with Stars and Stripes. His work was eventually syndicated by the United Feature Syndicate and Willie and Joe reached millions of Americans.
ww2dbaseHe published the book Up Front in 1945 using his cartoons and accompanying text to illustrate the conditions of American fighting men in the ETO. He wrote:
ww2dbaseMauldin's cartoons even reached the desks of the Army's top brass, including George Patton, who thought Willie and Joe undermined discipline in the ranks. Patton even threatened to ban the newspaper from soldiers under his command. The two eventually met at the urging of General Eisenhower, though Mauldin remained committed to showing the life of a solider, gripes and all.
ww2dbaseMauldin won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1945. Rather than singling out one cartoon as the winner, the Pulitzer Committee noted the following:
ww2dbaseThe cartoon, however, shows American troops as demoralized and battle weary as the prisoners they guard, noting the ironic difference between hopeful news copy and reality.
ww2dbaseAfter the war, Mauldin introduced Willie and Joe back into American life in the newspapers and later in the book Back Home (1949). He won a second Pulitzer Prize in 1959 and continued addressing pressing issues of the day in American culture and beyond. He died in 2003.
ww2dbaseStars and Stripes maintains an archive of Mauldin’s work here.
ww2dbaseSources: 45th Infantry Division Museum Website, the Pulitzer Prizes, Spartacus Educational.
Bill Mauldin Timeline
|29 Oct 1921||Bill Mauldin was born.|
|22 Jan 2003||Bill Mauldin passed away.|
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Thomas Dodd, late 1945