War is not a Game War is not a Game
War is not a Game
© Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, Bildarchiv
Photo: Frank Hellwig


2. August 2014 – 19. October 2014

Games on the First World War

Games From the Dieter Mensenkamp Collection

With the outbreak of the First World War, patriotic propaganda began to accumulate in toys and especially in parlour games. The national wave of war glorification was accompanied by publishers of games, children's and young people's books and the toy industry. What was needed was the spreading of confidence in victory, a picture of the absolute superiority of Germany and its allies and the trivialisation of the fighting. The share of war toys and war games within toy sales increased with the beginning of the First World War. The war or its mobilisation and the militarisation of everyday life are accordingly reflected in the presentation and content of many games.

What was bloodily serious on the battlefields of the First World War could be played safely at home with the family at the same time, hopefully to emerge victorious. Board and card games, among other things, were intended to stir up and keep alive the enthusiasm for war on the home front. Children's picture books, magic lantern picture strips, puzzles, cut-out sheets, quartets, construction kits, but also games for soldiers – the many different games presented in the exhibition all date from shortly before or during the First World War.

"If your father or brother tells you about the battles and victories of our good soldiers, I am sure you all wish to experience the joy of battle and victory, but also the suffering and privations of a warrior. In this game your wish will be fulfilled.


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Arbeitsgemeinschaft Friedhof und Denkmal e.V.

Zentralinstitut für Sepulkralkultur

Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Weinbergstraße 25–27
D-34117 Kassel | Germany
Tel. +49 (0)561 918 93-0

Die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien
Hessisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kunst
Kassel Documenta Stadt
Deutsche Bischofskonferenz