‘A minor contretemps over coffee.’ On 15 January 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman (on the right) and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (on the left) meet in Bonn. Three days later, German cartoonist Fritz Meinhard illustrates how the thorny question of the political and economic autonomy of the Saar (depicted as a mouse) is disrupting this Franco-German meeting.
‘Saar coal. Exchange. Up for offer: Saar. In return: Friendly smile.’ On 18 January 1950, shortly after the visit of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to the Federal Republic of Germany, German cartoonist Ekö (Egon Körbi) harshly criticises the French proposals on the political and economic future of the Saar territory. The unacceptable trading conditions concerning the Saar imposed by Robert Schuman, standing behind the counter of the coal exchange, come as a shock to Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
‘Commentary on the situation. In the European forge.’ In March 1950, the front page of the Saar-based satirical journal Der Tintenfisch features a cartoon by German cartoonist Stig (Roland Stigulinszky) illustrating how the Saar is maintaining its European credentials under the benevolent gaze of the neighbouring countries. From left to right: former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President of the Italian Council of Ministers Alcide De Gasperi, former Belgian Prime Minister Paul-Henri Spaak, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman and Johannes Hoffmann, Minister-President of the Saar. In the background, Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (on the right) and General de Gaulle (on the left) observe the scene.
‘The abduction of the Saar — “You’ll get it back in 50 years.”’ On 7 March 1950, the German newspaper Rheinische Zeitung illustrates the consequences of the signing of the Franco-Saar conventions for the Saar territory and emphasises the strong emotions that they are arousing in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Although these agreements confer a greater degree of autonomy on the Saar Government, they hand the responsibility for operating the Saar’s mines to France for the next 50 years. From left to right: French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman, riding his horse, ‘abducts’ the ‘young Saar’ under the disapproving gaze of Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
‘There were two child kings — but unfortunately one took down the bridge that was supposed to lead to the peace treaty!’ On 7 March 1950, commenting on the signing of the Franco-Saar conventions on 3 March in Paris, German cartoonist Peter Leger criticises French policy regarding the Saar and expresses concern for the future of Franco-German rapprochement. Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, and Johannes Hoffman, Minister-President of the Saar, dismantle the ‘Saar territory’ bridge that would have allowed France (Marianne) and the FRG (Michel) to meet safely. At the bottom of the ravine that separates the two countries, the ominous spectre of war still looms, depicted here as the face of Adolf Hitler.
‘Frigidity on the wedding night.’ On 2 February 1952, German cartoonist Ernst Maria Lang shows that settling the issue of the Saar is a source of friction between France and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The ‘young Franco-German couple’, represented by Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (on the left) and France depicted as Marianne wearing a Phrygian cap (on the left), fight over the bed covers, which display the word ‘Saar’.
‘Hard Saar-fruit.’ In March 1952, German cartoonist Ernst Maria Lang takes an ironic look at the difficulties faced by Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to resolve the Saar question. The Europeanisation of the Saar territory could be a solution to the problem.
‘For the Saar. Germany’s eastern border.’ On 28 March 1952, as discussions are held for the settlement of the Saar question, French cartoonist Louis Mitelberg harshly criticises the actions of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman (on the right), who seems to be working in favour of German and US interests. Sat on top of the signpost is US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, who has taken a keen interest in the future of the Saar territory. During the negotiations between France and the Saar authorities, Schuman raises the idea of giving the Saar European status. But the German Federal Government, led by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (sat under the border sign), is openly calling for an end to the special status of the Saar and for its reincorporation into the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). France refuses to yield to these requests, which it sees as compromising its own political, economic and military interests. The question would eventually be settled with the Luxembourg Agreement of 27 October 1956, signed by France and the FRG, which provided for the political reintegration of the Saar into the FRG on 1 January 1957.
‘Commentary on the situation! Marianne: “But Michel, the boy already has too much experience! Let’s give him his independence!” Michel: “Yes, Marianne, you are right! If we accept his wish to join the first Europe House, we will avoid a great deal of bother in the future.”’ On 1 August 1952, the cartoonist for the journal CVP-Rundschau, mouthpiece of the Saar Christian People’s Party, illustrates the Franco-German discussions on the future of the Saar territory. On the road leading to Europe, France, depicted as a modern-day Marianne wearing a Phrygian cap, and Federal Chancellor Adenauer, wearing the German Michel’s cap and pushing a buggy marked ‘FRG’, discuss the future of a little boy dressed as a miner and symbolising the Saar.
‘Holiday match between Schuman and Adenauer (with Hallstein as ballboy).’ On 7 August 1952, German cartoonist Wolfgang Hicks paints an ironic picture of the disappointing outcome of the negotiations between France and the Federal Republic of Germany on the question of the Saar’s future. Lying back on their deckchairs with their backs to each other, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer play a tennis match that looks to have little chance of succeeding. Despite the efforts of Walter Hallstein, German State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, to pick up the ‘Saar’ balls and get the game going, it makes no difference: the bilateral conversations on the Saar don’t lead anywhere.
‘The Paris ‘52 post-Olympics: Unbelievable, unbelievable — putting the most difficult obstacle right at the start ...!’ In August 1952, the cartoonist for the German satirical magazine Der Tintenfisch portrays the Saar question as the first hurdle to be cleared by ‘runners’ Robert Schuman, French Foreign Minister, and Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), on the hazardous route to a united Europe.
‘Daddies!’ On 27 October 1954, four days after the signing of the Paris Agreements restoring sovereignty to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), French cartoonist Kb2 paints an ironic picture of the consequences of the treaty, under which the Saar territory is to be granted European status within the wider framework of Western European Union (WEU). Europe, lying in a hospital bed, proudly presents the newborn ‘Saar’ to the two ‘daddies’, Pierre Mendès France, President of the French Council, and German Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. But in the referendum held on 23 October 1955, 67.7 % of Saar voters reject the European status proposed by the Paris Agreements, and France has to accept the idea of the Saar being returned to West Germany.
‘The problem child. Marianne always used to swallow everything!’ On 13 August 1955, the periodical Deutsche Saar, mouthpiece of the Democratic Party of the Saar (DPS), publishes a cartoon criticising the action taken by France and Johannes Hoffman, Minister-President of the Saar, who claim to be the main supporters of the new Saar Statute.
‘Adenauer — Saar. Ja Bonn, ma mine, schönen Dank!’ On 2 November 1955, Spanish-born cartoonist César illustrates the delight of Chancellor Adenauer at the return of the Saar to Federal Germany. In the referendum held on 23 October 1955, 67.7 % of Saar voters rejected the European status proposed by the Paris Agreements, and France had to accept the idea of the Saar being returned to West Germany. The Saar, one of Europe’s richest, most productive mining regions, had been occupied by France as part of Germany’s war reparations.