terminology “Everybody Talks about the Weather… We don’t.”

Everybody Talks about the Weather… We don’t.
All reden vom Wetter… Wir nicht

1960s Deutsche Bahn advertisement promoting the reliability and power the German national passenger train service

“Everybody talks about the Weather… We Don’t” is a phrased derived from a German national rail service (Deutsche Bahn) poster of the mid 1960s, that was later co-opted for a poster by the German student organization, the SDS. The original poster shows a train barreling through the German snow. The implication is that many people wring their hangs about bad weather and other obstacles, but the Deutsche Bahn trains just plow right through those obstacles.

Late 1960s SDS poster spoofing the famous Deutsche Bahn poster, this time promoting the power of Socialism.

Rather than showing a train, the SDS poster featured portraits of the titan’s of Marxism: Lenin, Marx, and Engels. The implication from this poster, which was intended to be humorous and hip, was that Socialism as a philosophy was powerful force that would plow right through obstacles offering real change. The SDS version was created by two students named Ulrich Bernhardt and Jürgen Holtfreter from the Stuttgart Academy of Art in early 1968.

The German History museum in Bonn has recently reproduced the SDS version on posters, mugs, and other knickknacks, available for purchase online. Visit their website to learn more about the history of the poster and to purchase your own copy. (Deutsche Bahn originally derived their phrase from a joke that American author Mark Twain used to tell: “Everybody always talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it…”)

The SDS poster became as ubiquitous on the walls of leftists and college students as the ever-present portrait of Che Guevara.

Ulrike Meinhof used the phrase as a title and jumping off-point for one of her famous 100 essays that she wrote for konkret magazine. Meinhof’s “Weather” essay appeared in 1969 and focused on the efforts to expel an Iranian critic of the Persian Shah dictatorship and his family.

Karin Bauer, editor of a book of Meinhof’s essays translated into English, used “Everybody Talks about the Weather… We Don’t” as the title for her book.