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Album - 'Der Weltkrieg', Cigarette Cards, Dresden, Germany, 1937 Object Reg. No: HT 30657

Cigarette card collector's book titled Der Weltkrieg (The World War) compiled in Germany 1937 as a commemoration of World War I. It features 270 full-colour cigarette cards illustrating significant German battles and events. The scrapbook was issued by Cigaretten-Bilderdienst Dresden.

This scrapbook captures the German perspective of World War I in pictures and writing. Themes such as nationalism, armed forces, everyday life during the war and stereotypical images of the enemy forces are referenced by the visual iconography. Through the chapters the progression of the war is illustrated. The individual sections are organised around each year of the war, 1914-18. The introduction to each chapter lists the different theatres and progression of the war. This summary is followed by sections, which under individual headings like 'Reason and Start of War', display cigarette cards and a short description of the image on that card. The first chapter also features a map of Belgium, France, Germany and parts of Switzerland in 1914 with the German armies and their campaigns. The appendix features cards depicting life behind the front line, the war in the colonies, and Germany's enemies. While the cigarette cards are in colour, the chapters are predominantly printed in sepia. The exception are maps of the East and West front, and the battles in Italy, Serbia and the Orient, which took place in 1915.
Paper and cardboard scrapbook. Red coloured card cover shows a colour image of a map of Europe from the early 20th century. Back cover depicts a colour image of the world map at the time of the First World War, 1914-1918. Printed throughout in predominantly black ink.
Statement Of Significance:
This scrapbook for cigarette cards from the 1930s provides an invaluable pictorial record of World War I. It captures the German perspective of the War in picture and writing and functions as a reference book for multiple generations. Themes such as nationalism, everyday life during the war and (stereotypical) images of other nationals are also referenced by the visual iconography. The war theme of these albums was especially prominent in the 1930s and was later on used for propaganda purposes by the Nazis until the production of scrapbooks stops, due to the Second World War, in the early/mid 1940s.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 255 mm (Height), 345 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: german communities, world war i 1914-1918, commemorations, military memorabilia, collectors, aboriginal depictions, tapiau, scrapbooks
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection
Primary Classification: MILITARY HISTORY
Secondary Classification: Civilian Life
Tertiary Classification: scrapbooks
Inscriptions: Printed in ink across the front cover: Der Welt/ krieg
Issued By: Cigaretten Bilderdienst Dresden, Dresden, Germany, 1937
Place & Date Collected: Germany, after 1937


Ross Murray Posted on 04 May 2013 4:08 PM
I wish to comment on the description of the German cigarette card set "Der Weltkrieg". You date the series as c. 1935. According to the following site, the definite date was 1937: The site has some significant information about this series of cards.

There is one important aspect of the cards that I think should be added to your description. On page 70, in the section "Unsere Gegner im Weltkrieg" (Our Enemy in the World War), the Australian servicemen are represented by an Aboriginal soldier (picture 263: Australischer Ureinwohner).

This is remarkable in several ways. In particular, it illustrates that although Australia at the time played down the role of its indigenous soldiers, every German card collector knew that there were Aboriginal soldiers in the Great War. The drawing resembles photos I have seen of Aboriginal POWs in the Great War. The picture does not appear to be drawn in such a way as to denigrate Aboriginal or Australian soldiers. It is surely ironic that in a racist nation like Germany in the late 1930s, the representive of the Australian soldier of the Great War is Aboriginal.

Surely this is the first, and possibly the only, place in the world where the representation of the Australian serviceman of the Great War is Aboriginal.

I would be interested in your comments on this. I have a personal copy of this set of cards which I used for many years as a History teacher in NSW. I purchased the book at a flea market beside the lake at Schleswig during a visit to Germany many years ago.
Morgan Gillham Posted on 22 May 2013 7:44 PM
I agree Ross, this is extraordinary. What a marvelous book though. My father collected several cigarette card books whilst serving in the allied occupation and I still have them, Der Weltkrieg being one of them. Alles für Deutschland and die deutsche wehrmacht, being the others.

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