Rise of Hitler & Yertle the Turtle

Yertle the Turtle is a children’s storybook written by the renowned author Dr Seuss. It is known to be a representation of Hitler and the Nazi regime during World War II.

In this storybook, Yertle the Turtle represents Hitler. Yertle’s dictatorial rule of the pond and takeover of the surrounding area parallel to Hitler’s regime in Germany and invasion of various parts of Europe. In the second paragraph of the story, Yertle decides the kingdom he ruled was too small. He says, “I’m a ruler of all that I see. But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.” Yertle’s desire for a larger kingdom is in real world connection to Hitler’s belief in Germany’s need for lebensraum. Yertle calls for turtle’s to stack up under him so he will have a high throne too rule everything he sees. This relates to Hitler as he wanted everything he saw, such as a world of “pure” race.

In the story, Mack represents the German society. He stands for the German people who follow Hitler’s rules and beliefs due to fear. Mack supports Yertle in the form of being a turtle in the stack keeping the king up high though he is going through pain. He says, “but down here below, we are feeling great pain. I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights. We turtles can’t stand it. Our shells will all crack! Besides, we need food. We are starving!” This relates to how the German society felt about Hitler being in power. The people were poor and had to live with rationed food, while Hitler was in great power at the top. They did not have rights and were suffering greatly.

While Yertle is bragging about his power and everything he rules, he is taken aback as he notices the moon starting to rise. He is absolutely furious that the moon dares to be higher than him and as a result, he orders for more turtles to be stacked below him for him to be higher. As he is doing so, Mack, the innocent turtle at the bottom of the stack, decided that he had taken enough and so, he burped. As it says in the story, “Decided he’d taken enough. And he had. And that plain little lad got a bit mad. And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing. He burped! And his burp shook the throne of the king!” This action caused the whole stack of turtles to shake, resulting in Yertle the Turtle King to fall of his throne, and into the mud. This represents the German society not being able to tolerate and having enough of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Mack’s burp is significant because it symbolizes the uprising of voices from the society.

At the end of the story, a quote is written, saying, “And the turtle, of course… all turtles are free as turtles and maybe, all creatures should be.” The turtles signify the Germans and the people affected by Hitler’s reign, therefore, Dr Seuss states that they should be free as all people should be. 

Reparations

On June 28, 1919, a £22 Billion reparation were set by the Allies – Britain, France and America – at the Treaty of Versailles as compensation and punishment for the 1914-18 war. After 92 long years Germany was finally clear of their debt and had paid of the final portion of the reparation on October 3rd 2010.

This large amount of reparation had taken an extremely long time to repay for several reasons. Firstly, Germany themselves had suffered financial crisis, hyperinflation, cancelled debts and broken promises. Germany had struggled to keep its economy high. The Treaty of Versailles had already taken so much from them, that it made it harder to repay. The German currency was extremely useless at one point in time and wheelbarrows of cash were need to buy a loaf of bread. Money was printed for absolutely everything, therefore devaluing their currency. Germany had also stopped paying their debts several times that other countries had to force them to do so. Furthermore, when the rise of the Nazi Party came along, all reparations was cancelled by Germany. Hitler reneged on reparations during his reign. Another reason why the payment rook so long was that Germany was split into East and West and a conflict about which side repays what came about.

The initial sum agreed upon for war damages in 1919 was 226billion Reichsmarks, a sum later reduced to 132billion.

It was obvious Germany didn’t agree with the terms set by the Treaty of Versailles. It angered them to sign the treaty and go through rough repayments. By paying all their depts and having a great burden lifted of their shoulders, it is sure that Germany was in relief and under less pressure.

Most of the money Germany had to repay was intended to go to Belgium and France, whose land, towns and villages were devastated by the war, and to pay the Allies some of the costs of waging it. Most of the money paid went to private individuals, pension funds and corporations holding debenture bonds as agreed under the Treaty of Versailles. The original purpose was to rebuild the French cities, but after 92 years, this purpose definitely would have changed. France’s cities were rebuilt long before Germany’s final repayment. The money now would be used in different ways.

Treaty Of Versailles – Cartoon Analysis

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In this cartoon, three men in suits are looking over their shoulder to a naked child weeping behind a pillar in a corner. The three men are drawn to be the Big Four- Georges Clemenceau, Woodrow Wilson and David Lloyd George. They are shown to be leaving a building, possibly the Palace of Versailles where the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Clemenceau who is drawn at the front of the other men is wearing a white suit, while the other two men are dressed in black. This makes Clemenceau stand out and seem to be the leader. The crying child represents Germany who was forced to sign the peace terms. Beside the feet of the young boy is the peace treaty, which explains that Germany does not agree with these terms, as they are harsh and incredibly one-sided. By drawing him naked, the illustrator tells the audience that what Germany had has been stripped away from them. The innocence of the boy crying creates a sense of sympathy towards Germany. Furthermore, this shows how powerless Germany was during the signing of the treaty. On the other hand, Clemenceau looking over his shoulder while commenting “Curious! I seem to hear a child weeping!” gets the audience to depict him as a pitiless and callous man. His comment suggests that he does not notice or understand Germany’s cries for more considerate terms. Georges Clemenceau earned the nickname ‘The Tiger’ for several reasons, but in this cartoon it is due to his fierce and harsh terms and punishment for Germany.

The title of the cartoon is “Peace and Future Cannon Fodder.” This phrase contradicts the two themes of peace and future cannon fodder. A “Cannon Fodder” is soldiers regarded or treated as expendable in battle. This title was given to this cartoon, as it was believed that all the Treaty of Versailles did was set up the future generations of the world to be nothing more than “cannon fodder”. In addition, this tells us that there is peace now but there will be war in the future. This suggests that the illustrator of this cartoon does not agree completely with the terms set by the powers on the Treaty of Versailles as he predicts that the present peace will just stir up anger in the Germans and eventually lead to future war.

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In this cartoon, a horse is shown to be strapped to a cart with a load of ‘Unlimited Indemnity’ on it. Indemnity is the money paid as compensation. The load is drawn to be extremely heavy that the horse is lifted up and is unable to touch the ground. The horse represents Germany, as the name of the country is written across the neck of the animal. The large load represents the reparation settlement the countries had decided for Germany. £6.6 billion is an extremely large settlement to pay and this was the reason for the load on the cart. The horse being lifted up represents Germanys inability to move, as there are too many repayments on their shoulders. Under the illustration, the words “Perhaps it would gee-up better if we let it touch earth” are written. Gee-up is commonly directed at horses to move faster. This comment suggests that Germany should be carrying less of a burden in order for them to payback the reparation. There are two men in front of the horse; one is shown to be holding a whip, while the other is holding a shovel. The man with the whip is France, as in reality France wanted Germany to pay back for all the French land and lives destroyed. The man with the shovel is British. He is the one who says “Perhaps it would gee-up better if we let it touch earth.” This is true, as the British leader did not want Germany to be treated as harshly as the France wanted. The French man’s face expression shows disagreement towards Britain and hatred towards Germany. On the other hand, the British man’s face expression indicates worry and sympathy. The shovel in his hand tells us that he has been loading the ‘indemnity’ onto the cart for Germany to take as their responsibility. By holding onto the reigns of the horse, the audience can tell that France is in charge and has power over Germany.

Both these illustrators convey a similar opinion that the terms on the Treaty of Versailles are much too harsh for Germany to handle.

These messages don’t really differ in attitude towards Germany as they both convey a feel of sympathy towards her and extreme harshness from France. The “Peace and Future Cannon Fodder” cartoon is lightly more sympathetic of Germany’s situation because it involves an innocent child crying, which generally creates more sympathy from its audience.