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German History in Documents and Images
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"Reaction": The Decline of the Aristocracy (1898)
Thomas Theodor Heine’s (1867-1948) cartoon “Reaction” appeared in the satirical journal Simplicissimus in January 1898. Set during a New Year’s celebration, it mocks the culture of the German aristocracy. A nobleman orders his courtiers to make time “go backwards” – a critique of the reactionary outlook of many aristocrats, who felt threatened by popular participation in politics and saw their privileges waning.