An Analysis on “The Temporary Triangle” by Bernard Partridge

The Temporary Triangle, 1933 by Bernard Partridge

“The Temporary Triangle,” by Bernard Partridge, is a political cartoon created when Germany was known as the German Reich (also known as Nazi Germany). This cartoon is about Hitler’s appointment as chancellor of Germany in 1933.

The cartoon shows how Hitler’s rise to power was heavily influenced by other individuals, rather than Hitler himself.

While Hitler had lost to Hindenburg in the presidential election of 1932, he still had the aspiration of being the Chancellor. Although appointed by Hindenburg, Von Papen and Von Schleicher had failed as Chancellor previously. Because of this, Hindenburg considered Hitler to become the next Chancellor. As a result, Hitler became the Chancellor on January 30, 1933 because Hindenburg believed that using his many seats in the Reichstag, he could get laws passed. Hitler’s position as Chancellor was unstable since he was given the role as chancellor — and what is given can easily be taken back. Hindenburg and Von Papen, who was Vice Chancellor at the time, used this as leverage against Hitler.

“The Temporary Triangle” shows how his position as Chancellor was mostly reliant on President Hindenburg and Vice Chancellor Von Papen. By observing how Hitler sits on the shoulders of Hindenburg and Von Papen, it seems as though Hindenburg and Von Papen are in control of the direction that Hitler is going, as they are the ones navigating the way. Their facial expressions look uncomfortable, as if the weight of Hitler is too heavy to carry. This ties back to the idea that what is given can be taken away. Hitler’s position in the government is only possible with the support of Hindenburg and Von Papen. However, it is also shown that Hitler is grabbing the heads of both individuals. This action seems to reflect that Hitler holds a power superior to that of both Hindenburg and Von Papen.

Actions in the near future show that both Hindenburg and Von Papen had underestimated Hitler, as events to come in the future would further stabilize his power on its own.

Student based in Seoul, South Korea.