Until recently, political scientists have interpreted myths and political symbols as deprivations and as a kind of a manipulative policy of compensation. New research, though, has shown that they are important media when it comes to forging identity and national consciousness. My dissertation deals with the social and political relevance of the allegories Germania and Marianne during the 19th century. In this context, I analyse the mechanisms of symbolic politics, their effectiveness and their impact on different sketches of national identity. Furthermore, I ask whether people did accept these visualisations of their community with this set of inherent values, duties and expectations. Two premises are relevant. Firstly, the separation of code and medium. One single illustration of various media can have completely different meanings and a diverse social and political relevance. Secondly, the meaning of the allegories are variable. (Germania and Marianne are not always symbols of the German and French nations respectively.) Allegories are projection surfaces since their meaning is not fixed. It is not only the strategy of the elites concerning political symbols that ensures the acceptance of and guarantees a unique interpretation of the symbol . In order to understand the meaning and eventually the success or failure of a symbol, it is necessary to examine interpretations an re-interpretations during the centuries. One result of the comparison of the two symbols Germania and Marianne is that the variety of different meanings which is typical of the French allegory was decided on a governmental level. The government decreed the expression and manifestation of the republican allegory. Consequently, the code of the French allegory was rather rigid. Germania, however, never had such a clear and distinctive meaning. The political parties used to struggle about a "true" interpretation of Germania, a discussion which was possible because of the inconsistent attributes of the German allegory. On the one hand, it can be concluded that semantic ambiguities offer the advantage to integrate people with different political convictions. On the other hand, semantic ambiguities were not be very useful to initiate political mobilisations. The representation of Marianne, though, initiated strong political conflicts because of her rigid code. She seems to be a belligerent symbol but at the same time she expresses a strong political obligation to the society. Nevertheless, political symbols or symbolic politics cannot be considered as a phenomenon of the artistic and literary domain but they are used as effective strategies in the struggle for national consciousness and identity as well as in the political claim to power.