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Louis Raemaekers Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: –
Date: 2002

Biographical History

Slow Asphyxiation, painting by Raemakers[Photo at right: "Slow Asphyxiation" by Louis Raemaekers depicting soldiers who were exposed to irritating gases while fighting in the trenches.]

Louis Raemaekers (1869-1956) was a Dutch painter and cartoonist known for his anti-German cartoons during World War I.

Louis Raemaekers was born in 1869 in Roermond, in the Netherlands. His father was a newspaper editor and his mother was originally from Germany. Raemaekers studied art in Holland and Brussels.

Beginning his career as a painter and illustrator, Raemaekers joined the Algemeen Handelsblad in 1907 and in 1909 starting drawing for the De Telegraaf after the Algemeen Handelsblad became uncomfortable with his strong inclination towards producing anti-German cartoons.

Raemaekers became known for his biting portrayals of the cruelty of war, particularly as brought about by the German military’s actions in Belgium. Germany was outraged by Raemaekers’ works and the Netherlands charged him with endangering the country's neutrality in the war (although he was never convicted) while a bounty was put on him by Kaiser Wilhelm II. Raemaekers' work was well received among allied countries. Raemaekers fled to Britain and was welcomed by British dignitaries and journalists. France presented Raemaekers with the Cross of the Legion of Honour and hosted a reception for him at the Sorbonne. In 1917 he toured the United States and being critical of the United States' neutrality, urged the United States to intervene in the war.

Raemaekers’ cartoons were widely popular throughout the world and heavily reproduced. Some were compiled in books and reprinted as posters and postcards. An estimated 1200 cartoons were reproduced in allied countries and an estimated 1 billion copies were published in the United States during 1917. Several books about the war were published with his cartoons including the 1916 work, Raemaeker’s Cartoons (1916) and Raemaeker’s Cartoon History of the War (1919).

During World War I, Raemaekers’ cartoons were exhibited throughout the world including in Spain, Britain, France and the United States and in 1942, he lent works to the “Cartoons of the Day” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Raemaekers, also critical of widespread fascism and Nazism in the 1930s, ended his career in the early 1940s.

Louis Raemaekers died on July 26, 1956 in Scheveningen, Netherlands.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Louis Raemaekers Cartoons are comprised of 56 original political cartoons from World War I (1914-1918). Many of these cartoons appeared in the book, Raemaekers' Cartoon History of the War (1919).

Raemaekers used the medium of cartooning to communicate Germany's actions during World War I, particularly against the Belgians to a worldwide audience. Raemaekers was an outspoken critic of Germany and often depicted the war crimes and atrocities the country was alleged to have committed. One theme of interest is Raemaekers' portrayal of Christianity and its relationship to the war.

The cartoons were drawn in charcoal, ink and gouache on illustration board and none bear specific dates.

Arrangement of the Collection

The cartoons have been numbered and are foldered individually.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Due to the fragile nature of these cartoons, users are required to wear gloves when handling the material.

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The book, Raemaekers' Cartoon History of the War (1919) is available in the Special Collections Research Center Rare Book collections. Please see SUMMIT for more information.

Special Collections Research Center has collections of over one hundred cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Raemaekers, Louis, 1869-1956.


Imperialism -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Caricatures and cartoons -- Europe.
Cartoonists -- Netherlands.
Military -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Political cartoons -- 20th century.
War -- Religious aspects -- Christianity.
War crimes -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Belgium -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Germany -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World politics -- Caricatures and cartoons.


Belgium -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Germany -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

Editorial cartoons.
Political cartoons.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Louis Raemaekers Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Yale University Art Gallery, 1985.

Table of Contents

Cartoons 1914-1918