East German Political Cartoon
This cartoon from the East German weekly magazine Eulenspiegel (a weekly magazine of humor and satire), is poking fun at the possibility of German reunification. Once the Berlin Wall was torn down, unification became the goal of most (but not all) Germans on both sides of the border. The caption under the cartoon reads: "A common European home - but, only when I can collect the rent!" The reference here is to Mikhail Gorbachev's call for a "Common European Home" in a speech earlier in the summer of 1989 in which he signaled his willingness to see East European societies move away from Communism. Since the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 it had been the policy of the Soviet Union to prevent any such movement and so Gorbachev's speech encouraged many opposition groups in the region to begin protesting against their local regimes. In this cartoon, two West Germans are taking what is portrayed as a typically capitalist approach to reunification--it can happen so long as they can make money on the deal. The East German regime used its control of the media to try to convince East German citizens that reunification would likely lead to their mistreatment at the hands of West Germans and this cartoon is evidence that the regime tried humor as well as more serious forms of persuasion to make its points.