45th Infantry Division Thunderbird Second WorldWar

William Henry Mauldin

A Legend Passes On

45th Infantry Division Thunderbird, Second WorldWar

Introduction to the WWIIRA and 45th Infantry Division, World War II Reenactors

An explanation of who the WWIIRA and World War Two reenactors are

What you will want to know if you have an interest in working with us.

The photo gallery has historical images of the WWII, Thunderbirds and 45th ID reenacting photos.

Information about Venturing Crew 1941, Boy Scouts of America

HomeWho We AreWant to volunteerPhoto Gallery Venturing Crew

These are the World War II events that you will find the WWIIRA in attendance.

Learn about the Men and campaigns of the 45th Infantry Division in WW II.

Links to 45th related, World War 2, or community support websites

Learn about our project to help our present day Military with civilian relations

Table of Contents listing all of the pages on our WW II 45th Division and Reenacting website, including a list of Maps.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Bill Mauldin Dies at Age 81

Bill Mauldin 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Division News, Stars and Stripes

William Henry Mauldin was born October, 29 1921 in Mountain Park, New Mexico. Though he did not graduate from high school, he took a correspondence course in cartooning, and later attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. In 1940, just five days before the National Guard was federalized, Bill Mauldin enlisted in the Arizona National Guard. This is truly where his career as the world knows it began. While serving in Oklahoma Mauldin began doing drawings for the Oklahoma City newspaper, and the 45th Division News.

Sergeant Bill Mauldin, K Company, 180th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division was with the division when it shipped out for combat duty in the European Theater of Operations. Upon his arrival in Sicily, he joined the Stars & Stripes, while still drawing for the 45th Division News. Willie and Joe, Mauldin's now famous cartoon characters, were two combat hardened dogfaces. These were muddy and exhausted, but their spirit was never broken. They hated every second of sitting in rain filled foxholes, trudging through hills and valleys loaded down with rifle and pack, and facing enemy fire, but they never gave up. Mauldin's characters were the average GI. He depicted their boredom, rebellion against bad food, lousy living conditions, and clueless officers. Willie and Joe came to be loved by the lower ranks, and by their families back home.

A notable exception to the American love of Bill Mauldin's Willie and Joe was General George Patton. In 1945 he wrote a letter to the Stars & Stripes threatening to ban the newspaper from Third Army if it did not stop carrying "Mauldin's scurrilous attempts to undermine military discipline." General Dwight Eisenhower did not agree and was concerned that any attempt at censorship would undermine morale. In hopes of reconciling the differences he set up a meeting between Mauldin and Patton. Mauldin went to see Patton in March 1945. He had to endure a lengthy lecture on the dangers of producing "anti-officer cartoons". Mauldin's response was the rightful argument that the soldiers had legitimate grievances that needed to be addressed.

Printed with permision from the Stars and Stripes,
Copywrite 2003 Stars and Stripes

Official recognition for his work came in 1945, when Mauldin was awarded his first Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. The award read, "For distinguished service as a cartoonist, as exemplified by the cartoon entitled, 'Fresh, spirited American troops, flushed with victory, are bringing in thousands of hungry, ragged, battle-weary prisoners,' in the series entitled, 'Up Front With Mauldin.'". Bill Mauldin was 23 years old at the time.


The first collection of cartoons "Up Front" was published in 1945 in book form, and later republished for it's 50th Anniversary in 1995. His first collection of postwar cartoons was entitled "Back Home" and was published in 1947. These cartoons focused on the plight of the GI upon returning to the States, and the political situations that abounded.

Mr. Mauldin became a national phenomenon for awhile. He was on the cover of Time magazine, acted in two movies in 1951 -- "The Red Badge of Courage" and "Up Front". He wrote about the war in Korea for Collier's magazine, and unsuccessfully ran as a Democratic candidate for Congress from the state of New York.

He next found a home with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 1958, and proceeded to win his second Pulitzer prize the following year. In this prize winning cartoon, Mauldin was commenting on the plight of Soviet author Boris Pasternak. One prisoner in a Siberian camp says to another, "I won the Nobel Prize for literature. What was your crime?" The year 1962 found Mauldin working for the Chicago Sun-Times. While there, one of his best-known cartoons was created. After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy this cartoon (showing Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, with his hands covering his face) was published.

On Wednesday, January 22, 2003 Bill Mauldin died of respiratory arrest in a nursing home in Newport Beach, California. He will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

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