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The exhibition

In the exhibition ‘German Colonialism. Fragments Past and Present’, featuring more than 500 exhibits, the Deutsches Historisches Museum addresses various aspects of German colonialism for the first time. Although the German Empire was one of the major European colonial powers from 1884 until the end of the First World War, it is only in the past few years that the colonial past has increasingly begun to enter public consciousness in Germany. The exhibition offers fascinating insight into the interests, development and dynamics of German colonial history and tells of the scope of action within which a broad spectrum of German, African and Oceanian players pursued their aims and motives.

'Lost Territories' card game

Although Germany’s defeat marked the end of its colonial empire, it did not bring an end to its colonial ambitions. Even after 1918, the German Reich continued to be shaped by colonialism and the idea of European superiority. As a result of its defeat, Germany was stripped of all its colonies under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles. From the far right to the Social Democrats, the demand for a return of the former colonies was an integral part of the general opposition to the peace terms of the Treaty of Versailles. A colonial revisionist movement emerged. Emphasizing the supposedly excellent relations between Germans and the local population, it called for a return of the colonies. Like this card game, a large number of books, films and propagandistic articles continued under the Nazi regime to promote the myth of ‘idyllic life’ in the colonies. This myth had a broad influence on public perceptions of German colonial history throughout the 20th century.