The Prussian Cabinet and Bismarck after Königgrätz (1866)
This satirical cartoon by Wilhelm Scholz (1824-1893) appeared in Kladderadatsch in December 1866. It shows Bismarck (left) pulling a triumphal chariot that represents Prussia’s stunning victory over Austria at the Battle of Königgrätz in July of that same year. Clinging to the rope, slowing his progress, are his ministerial colleagues, mostly members of the Conservative Party. Among them, the banker and liberal politician August von der Heydt (1801-1874) is clearly visible. Von der Heydt had first been appointed Prussian Minister of Finance back in March 1862; he resigned only a half-year later, shortly after Bismarck’s appointment as Prussian Minister President. Despite his ongoing discomfort with Bismarck’s authoritarian tendencies, von der Heydt reprised his role as finance minister in 1866, shortly before the Battle of Königgrätz, but continued differences with Bismarck led him to resign for good in 1869. The cartoon satirizes Bismarck’s struggles with various members of his cabinet, notably other conservatives. The cartoon portrays the cabinet members as fellow travelers who accompany Bismarck – but also hinder him – on his arduous path out of war. The caption, which is attributed to Count Eulenburg, then Prussian Minister of the Interior and a longtime Conservative Party member, reads: “And in this sense, we, too, are in agreement with Count Bismarck and we have pulled the same rope as him.” Although Eulenburg and the others claim to be pulling in the same direction as Bismarck, they are obviously burdening rather than helping him. Source: “Parlamentarisches mit Illustrationen,” Kladderadatsch, vol. 19, no. 57 (December 16, 1866), p. 228.
© Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz
Photo: Dieter Katz, 2002.