The Reichskolonialbund (English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

: German Colonial League) was a collective body that absorbed all German colonial organizations during the time of the Third Reich. It was led by Franz Ritter von Epp.

The Reichskolonialbund was active between 1936 and 1943.


The purpose of the Reichskolonialbund was to reclaim the overseas colonies that Germany
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 had lost as a result of the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 at the end of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. In order to expand its forerunner organizations played on the feeling, shared by most Germans, that Germany as a nation had been humiliated by the Versailles Treaty.

The first efforts in the direction of rallying support for a re-establishment of a German Colonial Empire in Germany can be traced back to 1923. As a result a number of pro-colonial organizations, supported by conservative-minded Germans as well as nationalists were established in different parts of Germany. Founded in 1925, the foremost outfit was the Koloniale Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft (KORAG). This organization, along with other groups, led to the foundation of the preliminary Reichskolonialbund in 1933. The establishment was made in two steps, the second one being its incorporation (Gliederung) into the Nazi Party structure; as a result many references give two different years for the Nazi Reichskolonialbund foundation, 1933 and 1936.


The Reichskolonialbund was established on 13 June 1936 by the former governor of German East Africa
German East Africa
German East Africa was a German colony in East Africa, which included what are now :Burundi, :Rwanda and Tanganyika . Its area was , nearly three times the size of Germany today....

, Dr. Heinrich Schnee. Whether the organizations that joined it did so freely, or were forced to do so in the name of Gleichschaltung
Gleichschaltung , meaning "coordination", "making the same", "bringing into line", is a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control and tight coordination over all aspects of society. The historian Richard J...

, is a subject of much discussion.
Led by Ritter von Epp, the organization's alleged purpose was to ..."keep the population informed about the loss of the German Imperial colonies
German colonial empire
The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

, to maintain contact with the former colonial territories and to create conditions in opinion favorable to a new German African Empire."
At any rate, the foundation of the RKB was marred with difficulties, for only two months after its establishment, Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Hess
Rudolf Walter Richard Hess was a prominent Nazi politician who was Adolf Hitler's deputy in the Nazi Party during the 1930s and early 1940s...

 decreed its disbandment. The decree was revoked, however, in November the same year after lengthy negotiations.

As part of the Nazi triumphalism for the Third Reich, the Reichskolonialbund was intended to take over the role of the then-disbanded German Colonial Society, (Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft) (DKG). Since Germany had no colonies, the Reichskolonialbund was mainly engaged in mostly virulent political agitation.

The agitation was conducted largely in Germany by means of newspapers, magazines, conferences and "Colonial Exhibitions". This activity was meant to keep open the so-called Colonial Question (Kolonialfrage) and to gather funds for the organization. The most important regular weekly publications of the Reichskolonialbund between 1937 and 1943 were Kolonie und Heimat and the Deutsche Kolonialzeitung, the former mouthpiece of the German Colonial Company. The RKB also printed colorful posters for the advancement of its cause.

The Reichskolonialbund had its own youth organization, the Colonial Youth, which was incorporated as a wing of the Hitler Youth
Hitler Youth
The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

. Its members wore the regular Hitler Youth uniform with Reichskolonialbund badges and insignias. The youth regularly staged rallies and collected money for the colonial cause during the events organized by the Reichskolonialbund.
Adult members of the Reichskolonialbund also wore a uniform during parades and rallies. Its design was inspired in the Schutztruppe
Schutztruppe was the African colonial armed force of Imperial Germany from the late 19th century to 1918, when Germany lost its colonies. Similar to other colonial forces, the Schutztruppe consisted of volunteer European commissioned and non-commissioned officers, medical and veterinary officers. ...

 uniforms of the German Imperial Era.

The Reichskolonialbund even held two parliamentary sessions during its heyday, the first one was in Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

 in May 1938 and the last one in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 in May 1939.

Twilight and end

The decline of the Reichskolonialbund began with the onset of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, when the Nazi State focused on other priorities, foremost of which was the search for a Lebensraum
was one of the major political ideas of Adolf Hitler, and an important component of Nazi ideology. It served as the motivation for the expansionist policies of Nazi Germany, aiming to provide extra space for the growth of the German population, for a Greater Germany...

 in the East of Europe. Finally in 1943 the Reichsleiter Martin Bormann
Martin Bormann
Martin Ludwig Bormann was a prominent Nazi official. He became head of the Party Chancellery and private secretary to Adolf Hitler...

 pressed for the dissolution of the Reichskolonialbund on the grounds of "kriegsunwichtiger Tätigkeit" ("activity irrelevant to the war"). Hence the Reichskolonialbund was swiftly disbanded by virtue of a decree of the Führer
Führer , alternatively spelled Fuehrer in both English and German when the umlaut is not available, is a German title meaning leader or guide now most associated with Adolf Hitler, who modelled it on Benito Mussolini's title il Duce, as well as with Georg von Schönerer, whose followers also...

 in 1943.

Perhaps owing to the dire war situation, the disbandment of the organization and its assets was harsh and without ceremony, almost equaling a requisition (Beschlagnahmung). Most of the Reichskolonialbund's files lie in the archives in Koblenz
Koblenz is a German city situated on both banks of the Rhine at its confluence with the Moselle, where the Deutsches Eck and its monument are situated.As Koblenz was one of the military posts established by Drusus about 8 BC, the...

, where there are 5,140 documents belonging to this organization from the period ranging between 1925 and 1943.

See also

  • German colonial empire
    German colonial empire
    The German colonial empire was an overseas domain formed in the late 19th century as part of the German Empire. Short-lived colonial efforts by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but Imperial Germany's colonial efforts began in 1884...

  • NSDAP Office of Colonial Policy
  • Society for German Colonization
    Society for German Colonization
    The Society for German Colonization was founded on March 28, 1884, by Dr. Karl Peters. The goal of the Gesellschaft für Deutsche Kolonisation was to acquire German colonial territories in overseas countries.In the autumn of 1884 Dr. Peters proceeded, together with Count Joachim von Pfeil und Klein...

  • List of former German colonies
  • German East Africa Company
    German East Africa Company
    The German East Africa Company was an organization established at the start of the German colonization of East Africa. This company, in short, was responsible for the activities in the new colony such as setting up leadership, future explorations, and the development of the region.In 1888, the...

  • Mittelafrika
    Mittelafrika is the name created for a geostrategic region in central and east Africa. Much like Mitteleuropa, it articulated Germany's foreign policy aim, prior to World War I, of bringing the region under German domination...

  • Wituland
    Wituland was an approximately territory in East Africa centered on the town of Witu just inland from Indian Ocean port of Lamu north of the mouth of the Tana River in what is now Kenya.-History:Founded in 1858 by the former ruler of the insular Pate sultanate after several abortive moves to the...

  • Karl Peters
    Karl Peters
    Karl Peters , was a German colonial ruler, explorer, politician and author, the prime mover behind the foundation of the German colony of East Africa...

  • Hitler Youth
    Hitler Youth
    The Hitler Youth was a paramilitary organization of the Nazi Party. It existed from 1922 to 1945. The HJ was the second oldest paramilitary Nazi group, founded one year after its adult counterpart, the Sturmabteilung...

Further reading

  • Hanswerner Nachrodt: Der Reichskolonialbund. Schriften der Hochschule für Politik - Der organisatorische Aufbau des Dritten Reiches, Heft 30, Berlin 1939.
  • H. Jünemann und H. Mietz: Der Reichskolonialbund – Wiedergabe der Jünemannschen `Rechtfertigungen. Im Mitteilungsblatt des Traditionsverbandes ehem. Schutz- und Überseetruppen e.V. Nr.83 (Jubiläumsausgabe, 100 Jahre Traditionsverband) 1998.

External links

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