Since their historic meeting on 14 September 1958 at Colombey-les-deux-Églises, General de Gaulle, President of the French Republic, and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), have worked tirelessly for Franco-German rapprochement. The official visits of Adenauer to Paris and de Gaulle to Bonn in 1962 show the successful outcome of this reconciliation.
‘The knight from Bonn’. On 20 July 1958, the Soviet satirical weekly magazine Krokodil deplores the policy of rapprochement between the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and France. The Soviet Union sees this rapprochement as a marriage of convenience and a political calculation on the part of the FRG to speed up its rearmament and give itself a key role on the international stage. France, represented by Marianne with her characteristic Phrygian cap symbolising freedom and democracy, is overwhelmed by the chivalrous gallantry of the German soldier, who greets her with a kiss on the hand. The tip of the soldier’s bayonet, covered in blood, comes dangerously close to Marianne, who seems to recoil. The Soviet cartoonist warns against the dangerous resurgence of a militaristic, bellicose Germany. The soldier in the cartoon still has all the garb of the Nazi regime: the Iron Cross, a German military decoration; the swastika used by the Third Reich as an emblem of the Aryan race; the steel helmet of the Wehrmacht and the uniform.
‘May I be — please don’t forget! — the third person in your union.’ On 1 July 1962, as the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer visits France, German cartoonist Herbert Kolfhaus — taking inspiration from a famous couplet in the poem Die Bürgschaft (‘The Hostage’), by Friedrich von Schiller — emphasises that European unity should not be sacrificed for the sake of good Franco-German relations.
‘Viewed from above’. On 9 July 1962, Fritz Behrendt, a Dutch cartoonist originally from Berlin, depicts the meditations of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and General de Gaulle in Reims Cathedral as a powerful demonstration of the new solidarity and reconciliation between France and Germany, observed by Frederick the Great, Napoleon and Bismarck. After centuries of violent clashes, this fraternal handshake between the two men signals the new found friendship between the two countries.
On 4 September 1962, in Bonn, the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, welcomes General de Gaulle on a five-day official visit to Germany to the applause of a crowd calling for greater European integration.
On 4 September 1962 in Bonn, during an offficial five-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), General de Gaulle, President of the French Republic, expresses his admiration for the German people amid applause from the crowd.
‘Do you think I like this soup?’ In 1963, the cartoonist Hans Geisen illustrates the efforts of the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer (right), to persuade the French President, General de Gaulle, to change his views on the subject of European integration.
Dans ses Mémoires, le chancelier allemand Konrad Adenauer rappelle les circonstances de la visite, du 4 au 9 septembre 1962, du général de Gaulle en Allemagne à l'origine du traité d'amitié franco-allemand.
On 22 January 1963, on the occasion of the signing of the Élysée Treaty, the French President, Charles de Gaulle, and the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, issue a joint statement highlighting the importance of Franco-German cooperation.
On 22 January 1963, in Paris, the representatives of France and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) sign the treaty known as the Élysée Treaty on Franco-German cooperation which enshrines the reconciliation between the two countries and under which they undertake to cooperate in particular in the fields of foreign policy, defence, education and culture.
On 22 January 1963, in Paris, the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, and General de Gaulle sign the Elysée Treaty which strengthens Franco-German cooperation in the fields of defence, economic affairs and the arts.
On 22 January 1963, in Paris, French President General de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, sign the Élysée Treaty, which provides for consultation between the two partners and closer cooperation in the areas of international relations, defence and education. By embracing Chancellor Adenauer in front of the cameras, President de Gaulle is making a strong statement that signals the beginning of a new era between the two countries and emphasises the friendship between the two men.
Maurice Couve de Murville, former French Foreign Minister, and Gerhard Schröder, former Foreign Minister of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), comment in retrospect on the political impact of the Elysée Treaty which was signed by France and the FRG on 22 January 1963.
On 23 January 1963, several representatives from the European media are invited to Paris by RTL to discuss the Franco-German Friendship Treaty, signed the day before by the French President Charles de Gaulle and the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
On 15 June 1963, the Bundestag of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) adopts the preamble to the Bill for the ratification of the Treaty of Friendship between France and Germany, signed on 22 January 1963 in Paris.
‘The proud grandfathers...' In January 1963, the Swiss cartoonist Geisen emphasises the historic significance of the Élysée Treaty signed by General de Gaulle, President of the French Republic, and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. This treaty provides for consultations between the two partners and the establishment of closer relations in the fields of external relations, defence and education.
Accepting an invitation by RTL on the occasion of the tenth Franco-German summit, François Seydoux, former French Ambassador to Germany, describes the roles played by Konrad Adenauer and by General de Gaulle in the conclusion of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship, on 22 January 1963, at the Élysée Palace.
On 23 January 1993, 30 years after the signing of the Élysée Treaty, Fritz Behrendt, a Dutch cartoonist originally from Berlin, illustrates the historical development of relations between France and Germany. After the era of deadly wars between the former long-standing enemies (the Napoleonic Wars, the Franco-German War of 1870, the First World War (1914–1918) and the Second World War (1939–1945)), France and Germany have embarked on the path of reconciliation and cooperation.
On 22 January 1963, the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung comments on Franco-German cooperation, on the occasion of the signature, in Paris, of the Elysée Treaty between France and the Federal Republic of Germany.
On 23 January 1963, German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, delivers a televised speech to comment on the signature, the previous day at the Élysée Palace, of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship relating to security and to diplomacy.
‘The patent solution. “This way, we shall be twice as fast …”’ On 26 January 1963, for German cartoonist Ernst Maria Lang, close cooperation between German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French President Charles de Gaulle is a crucial requirement for the success of a friendship treaty between the two countries.
‘Two friends from little Europe.’ On 16 March 1963, on the front page of the satirical magazine Simplicissimus, German cartoonist Oesterle illustrates the uncannily close rapprochement between the France of General de Gaulle and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
In his diary, Herbert Blankenhorn, diplomatic adviser to Konrad Adenauer in the German Foreign Ministry and NATO Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany from 1955 to 1959, gives his impressions on the signing of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship on 22 January 1963.
In 1965, during the campaign for the legislative elections in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), a party political broadcast by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) promotes the party’s commitment and, in particular, the commitment of its very first leader, Konrad Adenauer, to Franco-German rapprochement.
In 1965, during the campaign for the legislative elections in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) makes a party political broadcast in which Konrad Adenauer, former Federal Chancellor, highlights the importance of Franco-German rapprochement for the establishment of a united Europe and for the fight against Communism.
'Pierre Laval: shot for collaborating with Germany 1940-44. Poor chap. He lived before his time!' On 17 August 1959, the British cartoonist, Cummings, expresses the United Kingdom's worries about the friendship and the rapprochement developing between France and Germany, awakening old fears associated, in particular, with the period of the Second World War.
On 25 January 1963, three days after the signing of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship at the Élysée Palace, British cartoonist David Low takes an ironic look at the driving role that General de Gaulle intends to play in the new Franco-German duo, particularly in the area of the revival of European integration. From left to right, French President Charles de Gaulle and Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. At the window, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and US President John F. Kennedy symbolise the Anglo-American duo.
‘Am I not entitled to a treaty of reconciliation, too?’ On 7 February 1963, referring to the signing, on 22 January at the Élysée Palace, of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship, the British cartoonist, Cummings, takes an ironic look at the marginal position of the United Kingdom and of its Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan.
'This is the basis of Franco-German friendship' accuses the Russian newspaper. In 1960, the USSR took a very dim view of the friendship between France and Germany, seeing in their cooperation the spectre of resurgent Nazism in France.
Increased cooperation between France and the Federal Republic of Germany forces the Soviet Union into a defensive corner. Moscow is staunchly critical of the role played by General de Gaulle and by the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, in the establishment of the 'Paris-Bonn axis.'
‘Now France can breathe more easily. Franco-German military agreement’. On 10 February 1963, the satirical Soviet weekly magazine Krokodil criticises the signing of the Élysée Treaty. The cartoonist sees this new cooperation between France and Germany as a subjugation of France by the Federal Republic of Germany and a dangerous step towards German military rearmament. German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, wearing the Wehrmacht military uniform, is sitting on the back of French President Charles de Gaulle and cheerfully signing the future Franco-German treaty. The two are piled on top of a ‘Marianne’, whose arms are tied up. The allegorical figure of France, a symbol of freedom and the Republic, does not appreciate the submissive position in which she finds herself.
'Under the protection of the ally - the Paris-Bonn Axis'. In June 1963, the Soviet weekly publication Krokodil strongly condems Franco-German cooperation, seen by the USSR as being the first step towards German rearmament.
‘Celebrations in Brussels. “We’re engaged!”’ On 26 January 1963, Opland, Dutch cartoonist, depicts the anxiety arising from the signing of the Franco-German Friendship Treaty in the states of the European Community.
'Here's to fruitful cooperation!' declare General de Gaulle and the German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, at the signing, on 22 January 1963, of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship. This cartoon suggests that this collaboration conceals the desire of each to dominate the other.
On 23 January 1963, the day after the signing of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship, Karl Heinrich Knappstein, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) to Washington, drafts a summary record of his meeting with the US President, John F. Kennedy, who has expressed his dissatisfaction with the conclusion of this Treaty.
On 24 June 1963, at a press conference held in Bonn, the US President, John F. Kennedy, acknowledges the importance for stability in Europe of Franco-German reconciliation and emphasises the essential role of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
‘You shouldn’t try that with Charlie!’ In 1964, Swiss cartoonist Hans Geisen illustrates the relationship between France and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), characterised by a cooling of relations between the French President de Gaulle and the Federal Chancellor Ludwig Erhard.
On 14 and 15 February 1964, the third Franco-German Summit is held in Paris. The photo taken at the German Embassy in Paris shows, from left to right: Maurice Couve de Murville, French Foreign Minister, Gerhard Schröder, German Foreign Minister, Charles de Gaulle, President of the French Republic, Ludwig Erhard, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), and Georges Pompidou, French Prime Minister.
In this political programme hosted by Raymond Thévenin and broadcast on 14 February 1964 on RTL radio, journalists Georges Broussine from La Nation, Jacques Fauvet from Le Monde and Jean-Claude Vajou from Combat comment on the implications of the Franco-German talks being held in Paris, with particular regard to France’s policies towards NATO and the People’s Republic of China, to the visit of Gaullist MPs to the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and to the possible establishment of a European political union.
‘Ludwig, why are you opposed to this union?’ In 1964, Swiss cartoonist Hans Geisen illustrates the difficult relations between the French President Charles de Gaulle and the new German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard and speculates on the future of Franco-German cooperation.
On 21 July 1965, in Bonn, the German Chancellor, Ludwig Erhard (centre), the former Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer (right) and the French President, Charles de Gaulle (left) discuss Franco-German relations and the progress of European integration.