In March 1936, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin’s National Government appointed the first Minister for Co-ordination of Defence, a position established in response to criticism that Britain’s armed forces were understrength in comparison to Nazi Germany. A vocal critic of Baldwin’s perceived reluctance towards rearmament was Winston Churchill, and many expected him to be appointed to the position to oversee the process. In the end, on 13 March 1936, Baldwin named Sir Thomas Inskip as the new Minister, a
politician with an exclusively legal track record and no experience of military matters. An unknown source at the time was quoted as calling it ‘the most cynical appointment since Caligula made his horse a consul’.
Published a little over a week before the new Minister for Co-Ordination of Defence was announced, Sir David Low’s cartoon appeared at a time of much speculation amongst journalists and commentators over who would be chosen for the role. The cartoon suggests a concern felt by a British public that largely supported a policy of pacifism, that certain figures in the Government would use the role and the policy of rearmament for more aggressive means, rather than for support of the League of Nations as Stanley Baldwin had indicated. David Low suggests a queue of ideal ‘applicants for the job’ based on their pacifist leanings.
(For further information about the characters in this cartoon please see The Illustrators 1871-2022, page 112)