The First Stirrings of German Irridentism After World War I.
Die Zerstückelung Deutschlands! or "The Dismemberment of Germany," is an important historical map published by the Gea Verlag G. m. b. H. in Berlin. This scarce German map is a powerful representation of the national discontent stirred by the Treaty of Versailles, highlighting its policy to "separate 5 1/2 million Germans from the nation."
The map bears witness to the stirrings of German irredentism post-World War I, a sentiment that would contribute significantly to the genesis of the Second World War.
The creators of this map leveraged visual cartography to manifest a potent narrative, one that underscored their opposition to the Treaty of Versailles. It is apparent in the delineation of territories meant to be "surrendered without a plebiscite," those under "enemy administration," and regions "occupied by enemy armies until further notice." Such stark demarcations, combined with the evocative title, fueled a sense of national victimhood.
The map's publication is linked to the wider sociopolitical milieu of the time, particularly the rise of the "stab-in-the-back myth," which alleged that the German army was undermined by civilians, particularly Republicans, on the home front. These beliefs, paired with the perceived injustices of the Treaty of Versailles as portrayed in the map, seeded the ground for the rise of German nationalism and, ultimately, the Second World War.