Cartoon by Effel on the creation of the FRG (31 May 1949)

‘The great revivals — Ondine.’ On 31 May 1949, five years after the end of the Second World War, French cartoonist Effel illustrates the fears of France (Marianne), Belgium (the Manneken-Pis) and the Netherlands (Meisje) at the creation of the fledgling Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). On 23 May 1949, at a public session of the Parliamentary Council in Bonn, Konrad Adenauer, President of the Council, proclaimed the adoption of the Basic Law of the FRG. In the cartoon, the figures representing the three countries are sat on the banks of the Rhine near Bonn and watch with concern as this ‘new’ Germania bathes in the river. Germania is depicted as ‘Ondine’, an incredibly beautiful water nymph in German mythology who lures men into the water to drown them. The reference to Ondine recalls the 1939 play by Jean Giraudoux, based on the tale of ‘Undine’ by Friedrich la Motte Fouqué (1777–1843). As history repeats itself, we are reminded of the fact that in all the different versions of the myth of the nymph Ondine, her romances with mortals end in tragedy.

Source and copyright

Source: EFFEL, Jean (François LEJEUNE, dit). "Les grandes reprises, Ondine", dans Le Canard enchaîné. Paris: Le Canard enchaîné. 31.05.1949, n°1490, p.1.

Copyright: (c) Effel, ADAGP

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Cartoon by Effel on the creation of the FRG (31 May 1949)