What do the symbols in this cartoon mean? http://www.cartoons.ac.uk/record/LSE6497

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This cartoon is a commentary on the process of deciding how much Germany would pay in reparations for World War I.  The Treaty of Versailles had required that Germany pay reparations, but the details had not yet been worked out.  The symbols in this cartoon show that the cartoonist believes that Britain and France are being too demanding.  The main symbols are the two eggs.

This cartoon is an allusion to the fable of the goose that laid the golden egg.  The golden egg on the ground represents Germany’s proposal with regard to reparations.  The cartoonist evidently feels it is a good offer.  The egg in the men’s hands represents the ideal, much larger, reparations desired by the French and British.  The idea here is that the French and British are going to kill the goose because they do not feel its egg is good enough.  By doing so, they will deprive themselves of the perfectly good golden egg.  In short, by being greedy for more reparations, they will kill Germany and create a situation where they get no reparations at all.

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