On Freedom of Speech in the USA

from Bill Mauldin. Back Home. (New York: William Sloane, 1947)

"I was losing papers at a terrific pace. During one period my loss averaged one paper a day. The syndicate stopped trying to reason with me and started butchering the drawings as they came in. In the five years I had been in the army, working part time for the 45th Division News for three years and full time for Stars and Stripes for two years, I had turned out hundreds upon hundreds of cartoons, most of which took one kind of dirty crack or another at the army and its ways. The army is by necessity a totalitarian system, which makes no pretense of allowing freedom of speech or behavior; yet in five years only three of my drawings had been stopped. Each of the three contained background sketches of equipment I had noticed in the field overseas and hadn't known was new stuff that, for security reasons, could not be described in words or pictures. I remember one of the pictures was of a new tank destroyer. In other words, my army censorship had been for stern and logical security reasons, and never once for policy. Several gents of high rank had tried to have the cartoons emasculated, but there were always other gents of equal rank who felt the stuff I was doing was justified.
In the first year after my discharge from the army and my introduction into civilian life in the land of the free and the stronghold of the independent press, I had done about two hundred drawings -- only a fraction of my army production -- and more than forty of the two hundred had been censored by the syndicate.

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