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T. E. Powers

Dictators speak from high balconies : out of range

T. E. Powers (1870-1939)
Dictators Speak from High Balconies: Out of Range
Published in 1939 in the New York American

In this cartoon, “dictators” are shown in high windows above their subjects. Mussolini waves to unseen constituents. Hitler gives a Nazi salute from a distance. Dollfuss appears far shorter than his bodyguards and was in fact only 4’ 11” tall. Although the European dictators are pictured from a low angle, and the subjects of the dictator are assumed to be at the same level as the eye of the artist, the American dictator is shown from an angle above the window in order to depict her “subject” (her husband) at the door beneath her. We are not told why she is angry, but the reader is led to believe that the wife will hit her husband when he arrives in his flat.

Powers suggests that while Europe has its dictators as heads of state, in America the dictators are the women who are heads of their households. This further suggests that the subjects of the European dictators are, unfortunately, as compliant as the American husband.