Political cartoons merged graphic art with social and political commentary, seeking to amuse readers and sell copies of the journal in which they appeared. Kladderadatsch, founded in Berlin in the revolutionary days of 1848, was one the most influential satirical journals of its time. This cartoon and the two that follow show how image and text were combined to create memorable impressions for the target audience. At the beginning of the decade, the question of whether a “greater” or “small” Germany [Großdeutschland or Kleindeutschland] would emerge from the struggle between Prussia, Austria, and the smaller federal states was complicated by another question: what sort of political and constitutional structure would the new state assume? The issue of federal reform thus offered many possibilities—and little agreement—as to which state, or group of states, would take the lead in proposing and rallying consensus for a particular solution to the German question. In this cartoon, the impish figure known as Kladderadatsch (top right) visits the “National Workshop” ["National-Werkstätte"], where German nationalists are busily sculpting the statue Germania. The legs, arms, and torso are complete, and the figure already wields a sword labeled “In Unity is Strength” [“Einigkeit macht stark”]. But the head (of state) has yet to be chosen among various options. The first option (from left to right) is a head whose only distinct feature is a question mark where the face should be. The next head is adorned with a spiked helmet and labeled “Borussia,” meaning Prussia. The third, a Janus face, seems to offer the possibility of an ongoing Austro-Prussian dualism. The fourth, labeled “Würzburg,” refers to an 1859 plan devised in that city by Saxony, Bavaria, Württemberg, and various minor states to prevent both Austria and Prussia from monopolizing power by creating a “Third Germany.” But a clown’s hat and other indicators suggest that this option has already been recognized as unworthy. The last head wears an old-fashioned nightcap, suggesting that “the old Confederation” [“der alte Bund”] was not likely to fire the imagination of German patriots in the new decade. Kladderadatsch inquires, “Well, friends, how are things? Have you sorted it out?” The reply: “We’re agreed on the bottom part but still racking our brains about the top.”

“The Extent of Our Agreement” (October 13, 1861)

  • Wilhelm Scholz


Source: “Wie weit wir einig sind” [“The Extent of Our Agreement”] by Wilhelm Scholz, Kladderadatsch, vol. 14, no. 47 (October 13, 1861), p. 188. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, vol. 14, no. 47, October 1861, https://doi.org/10.11588/diglit.2242#0188

 Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg