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This ominously prophetic illustration of the impending horrors of war in Western Europe was published during a period that has become known as the ‘Phoney War’. Though Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September 1939, two days after Germany had invaded Poland, by February 1940 the major Western powers had not yet engaged in serious conflict. David Low’s cartoon likely represents the scene at the Franco-German border, where the heavy artillery and defensive fortifications of the French Maginot Line and the German Siegfried Line faced one another. This uneasy sense of calm ended in May 1940, when German forces simultaneously invaded Denmark and Norway, and launched its offensive into France by invading the neutral nations of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, to the north of the Maginot Line.