Cartoon by Mitelberg on the question of German rearmament (8 December 1949)

‘The new German army. Trust in the German soldier. Acheson. — “Here’s an idea, Schuman! Show it to the French people to help persuade them …”’ On 8 December 1949, French cartoonist Louis Mitelberg illustrates the awkward position of French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman (on the right) over German rearmament. The United States, worried that the Soviet Union will launch an offensive war in Western Europe, is actively promoting the prompt rearmament of the fledgling Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). But Schuman remains perplexed at the poster presented by US Secretary of State Dean Acheson, which highlights the merits of the German soldier. This poster stirs up bad memories as it resembles the Nazi propaganda that was widely distributed from the early days of the occupation of France during the Second World War. These wartime posters, designed to reassure civilians, showed a smiling Wehrmacht soldier holding a child in his arms, together with the slogan ‘Abandoned populations, trust in the German soldier!’. In 1949, the majority of the general public, especially in France, did not seem ready to accept a new German army, with memories of the Second World War and the German occupation still painfully present.

Source and copyright

Source: MITELBERG, Louis. "La nouvelle armée allemande. ACHESON. Une idée, Schuman! Montrez donc ça aux Français pour les décider." dans Action Hebdomadaire de l'indépendance française. 08-14.12.1949, n°271, p.2.

Copyright: (c) Mitelberg, Adagp

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Cartoon by Mitelberg on the question of German rearmament (8 December 1949)