The setting was the early 20th century, and things had become tense in European politics. A series of secret treatises and concrete alliances had helped to build the situation which will tear apart families, countries and destroy lives. This was all sparked by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria.
The investigation into the 187, the police code for murder, pinned the death on Serbian nationals. So it seems the words of Freddie Gibbs ring true, murder is an obvious way to start conflict, even one of international magnitude.
The cartoon captures the blame game that ensues as soon as the war begins. It should be noted that the countries are sized appropriately with their military power, Belgium and Serbia, being the minor powers, are drawn in smaller stature than the other countries. In the background the body in burial position is the embodiment of peace.
However the important piece is the direction of the sword entering the corpse. The sword is coming from below, suggesting that the assassin is one of smaller stature. Hence the culprits are limited to Belgium and Serbia. Both could be it, as a Serbian national murdered Duke Ferdinand starting an international conflict. However, Belgium played victim causing England to become involved turning what would’ve been a short conflict into a world war which consumed countless lives, destroying even more families.
However the truth of who caused the final blow to international peace is not as important as who is blamed for it. The image involves all of the nations pointing at one nation in specific, the only exception being Italy, the only major country to switch sides midway the war. In a way they are all right, each specific country had a hand in the death of peace.
It should be addressed that on the left hand side there is a hand from an unknown origin. It could be the United States who was profiting off of international trade, which was damaged by the blockade of Germany and by the sporadic attacks on trade ships by German U boats. The cartoon was published in a Chicago newspaper supporting the over inflation of US importance. However the United States was not nearly powerful enough to justify the size, so perhaps its the social outcry against the atrocities of the war. This being the case, it is the fault of the death of peace to create such discourse and irreparable damage to society.