Every year, floats address current national and global political issues with biting sarcasm.
This year, a larger-than-life Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy progressed through the streets of Cologne with a sign reading “To be or NATO be.” Zelenskyy wants Ukraine to be able to join the Western military alliance.
In Duesseldorf, a float depicted Trump stabbing a Ukrainian soldier in the back — a reference to opposition among Republicans to aid for Ukraine. Another had the ex-president and 2024 presidential candidate carrying scissors and a U.S. flag cut into the shape of a swastika.
In Mainz, a “Barbies and Ken” pink car float featured Russian President Vladimir Putin behind the co-leaders of two German political parties, the far-right Alternative for Germany and the new Sahra Wagenknecht Alliance, that criticize sanctions against Russia and oppose weapons deliveries to Ukraine.
The war between Israel and Hamas was also a theme. A float in Duesseldorf depicted a figure in military garb labeled “Hamas” pushing what appeared to be a family toward an Israeli tank.