On 9 May 1950, the French Foreign Minister, Robert Schuman, invites Germany and other interested European states to place their iron and steel production under the authority of a supranational European institution. As Schuman’s address could not be recorded on 9 May 1950, the Minister had to take part in a re-enactment of the event for posterity.
‘On the Schuman Plan. Right! — Now that we’ve got the right starting handle in the right place, it would be strange if neither of us managed to get this car going again!’ In May 1950, German cartoonist Roland Stigulinszky illustrates the efforts made by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to restart the engine of European integration, with the encouragements of the crowd. Sat in the car with a European flag, we see the main European leaders and politicians, including General de Gaulle, Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi, Belgian Paul-Henri Spaak and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Joseph Bech.
‘The Schuman–Adenauer “complex”’. On 11 May 1950, cartoonist Curry emphasises the importance of the new partnership between France and the Federal Republic of Germany that has resulted in the Schuman Plan, and illustrates the pooling of Franco-German coal and steel resources. Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (on the right) is feeding the French blast furnace (Schuman’s face) with German coal. The declaration by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman offers a first chance for Europe to free itself of the oppressive yoke of nationalism by providing a framework to pool the coal and steel output of France and Germany in a supranational organisation open to the other countries of Europe. The Schuman Plan represents a decisive stage in the European integration process.
‘Judicious dismantling. French steel. German coal. The peace pipe. Steel. Coal. This is where the hatchet was buried.’ On 11 and 17 May 1950, German cartoonist Beuth illustrates the economic and political significance of the Schuman Plan, which is contributing to the establishment of closer relations between France and the Federal Republic of Germany within a European coal and steel pool. French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman and Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer are working together to dismantle all the obstacles (the barbed wire) in order to facilitate this new agreement based on French steel and German coal. The political aim is also to bury the hatchet and put an end to the age-old antagonism between France and Germany.
‘Sit Europa in the saddle — she’ll know how to ride!’ On 13 May 1950, German cartoonist Fritz Meinhard highlights the historic nature of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 in bringing reconciliation to France and Germany and laying the foundations of a united Europe. Taking inspiration from the Greek myth of the abduction of the princess Europa by Zeus in the guise of a bull, Meinhard emphasises the combined efforts of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman (on the right) and Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (on the left) to help Europa climb onto the bull, whose markings form a map of the European continent. The cartoonist also makes reference to the famous metaphor used on 11 March 1867 by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the main architect of the future North German Confederation, which would be subjected to Prussian hegemony: Setzen wir Deutschland in den Sattel, reiten wird es schon können.
‘Steel and coal economic union’. On 13 May 1950, German cartoonist Koob illustrates how the Schuman Plan is leading to Franco-German rapprochement and bringing about reconciliation between the two countries. From left to right: Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, and Konrad Adenauer, German Chancellor, portrayed as factory chimneys entwined in a friendly embrace
‘Love and coal’. On 13 May 1950, German cartoonist Mirko Szewczuk illustrates the impact of the Schuman Declaration of 9 May, which paves the way to closer cooperation between France and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). From left to right: French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman (depicted as Marianne wearing a Phrygian cap) and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (as the German Michel) flirt together on a coal heap, while behind them the Kohlenklau continues his work. The Kohlenklau refers to a coal thief cartoon character created during the Second World War in Germany to urge people not to waste available energy resources. In the post-war context, the image of the coal thief is used to criticise the role played by French mining companies that mine coal in the Saar and send it to France.
‘The Franco-German forge. Schuman: Allez — while it’s still hot.’ On 13 May 1950, German cartoonist Ernst Maria Lang emphasises the implications of the Schuman Plan, which marks a rapprochement between France and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) based on the coal and steel production of the two countries’ main industrial basins (Lorraine, Saar and Ruhr). This historic initiative lays the foundations for renewed Franco-German cooperation. French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman and Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer are depicted as blacksmiths, each holding a hammer and preparing to mould their future cooperation on an anvil. In the background, the third blacksmith, US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, who welcomes this rapprochement, holds a bellows to supply air to the forge.
‘Dr Schuman’s Bonn Am “Pool” for renazification’. On 12 June 1950, in the Communist daily newspaper L’Humanité, French cartoonist Deran harshly criticises French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman’s plan for a coal and steel pool, which, in his view, with the help of the United States (the ‘Truman’ chest on Uncle Sam’s hat) and the support of Germany’s war industry, will result in German remilitarisation and renazification. Deran depicts Robert Schuman as seemingly flouting all the decisions taken at the Allied conferences in Yalta and Potsdam.
On 21 June 1950, the day after the opening of negotiations on the Schuman Plan in Paris, German-born cartoonist Woop (William Wolpe) illustrates the various contributions that the Six can make towards the implementation of a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC).
‘“Come Poo-Pool, come Poo-Pool, come …!” (Melody of a French song).’ On 24 June 1950, playing on the words of the song Viens, poupoule!, written in 1902 by French singer Félix Mayol, cartoonist Henri-Paul Gassier illustrates the dangers of the new Franco-German agreement over the coal and steel pool. Allusions to the Second World War abound. French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman and Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, depicted as conjoined twins sharing an arm and a leg, appear to move with near-perfect symmetry. The two men, performing the Hitler salute with their free arms and goose-stepping with their free legs, are stuffed together into a single Wehrmacht uniform as they sing the famous line from the Deutschlandlied (the Song of Germany), ‘Deutschland, Deutschland über alles …!’, while chanting ‘Heil Truman’. While the French cartoonist deplores this act of treason with the former enemy, he also criticises US support for the project. The belt buckle is decorated with a dollar symbol, while Chancellor Adenauer is wearing an armband bearing a swastika.
‘From Montoire to the Clock Room and vice versa.' For the French cartoonist Henri-Paul Gassier, commenting on 24 June 1950 in the French Communist daily newspaper L'Humanité on the opening of negotiations on the Schuman Plan four days earlier in Paris, the proposed coal and steel pool endorsed by Robert Schuman and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer is comparable to an act of treason against French interests and a repeat of the meeting that took place between Pétain and Hitler in Montoire on 24 October 1940.
‘The pride of the inventor: Let’s hope that the thing develops better than the safety pins.’ After the declaration of 9 May 1950, German cartoonist Klaus Pielert emphasises the importance of the new Franco-German partnership at the heart of the Schuman Plan. The French Foreign Minister is trying to restore ties between France and Germany, and hopes that his plan will be more effective than the Maginot Line,. This system of fortifications built during the 1920s and 1930s in eastern and north-eastern France was intended to protect the country from further German invasion and buy the time needed to mobilise the French troops.
‘The Schuman Plan. A fine paper … offering really quite … improbable … opportunities.’ In 1951, German cartoonist Ernst Maria Lang takes an ironic view of the opportunities that the Schuman Plan offers the Franco-German duo, Robert Schuman and Konrad Adenauer.
‘The goose with the eggs of steel’. In the 5 December 1951 edition of the French communist daily newspaper L’Humanité, as debates are held in France on ratification of the Treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), French cartoonist Vincent Carrier deplores the risks of the Schuman Plan, which will inevitably lead to West German rearmament. Feeding on French coal and steel, the goose (depicted as Robert Schuman), with Chancellor Adenauer on its back, is only managing to produce military helmets for Germany.
‘The Schuman plan to restore German militarism’. In 1953, in the satirical East German magazine Frischer Wind, French cartoonist Tim (Louis Mitelberg) criticises the dangers of the Schuman Plan, which encourages a revival of West German militarism. On the left, the face of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, depicted as a crane, is using French coal and iron ore to feed the military–industrial complex of the Federal Republic of Germany, symbolised by a Chancellor Konrad Adenauer that is half-man, half-machine, wearing a Prussian helmet with a skull and crossbones.