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1938 was a tumultuous year, not only in Germany but in other parts of Europe too. By the end of the year Austria will become a part of Greater Germany and Czechoslovakia will be dismantled and erased from the map of Europe. The appeasement of Adolf Hilter by the European powers would embolden Adolf Hitler to seek more and more 'lebansraum' and would ultimately lead the world to war in September of the following year. The major events are captured in the postal history of Germany in the form of stamps, postcards, special postmarks and propaganda posters. Astonishingly America's Time Magazine voted Hitler its "1938 Man of the Year".
MICHEL 660 & 661
These two stamps were issued to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the election of Adolf Hilter as Chancellor of Germany on 30th Janurary 1933. The stamps depict a touchbearer and were designed by A. Kolb, engraved on swastika watermarked, coated sheets of 100 (10x10) stamps, Perf K14. The tourch is meant to indicate the Nazi's leading Germany into the 'light' and the oak leave cluster in the torch bearer's left hand is the sign of victory.
5th ANNIV of ASSUMPTION of POWER
A special postcard and special postmark was issued to commemorate the 5th anniversary on the 30th Jan of Hitler's ascession to power.
BREAKING NEWS: 12th Feb
Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg of Austria meets Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden and, under threat of invasion, is forced to yield to German demands for greater Nazi participation in the Austrian government.
MICHEL 662 & 663
On 12th March 1938 Austria became part of "Greater Germany" when German forces crossed the Austrian border. A plebiscite (vote) was held on the 10th April to 'legalise' the invasion and officially recorded a 99.7% 'Yes' vote from the Austrian people, however it is doubtful that the vote was free or fair. Apart from the stamps show below there were also special postcards and various special postmarks. The poster shown on the left was also used to urge voters to vote "Yes" to a union between Germany and Austria.
PLEBISCITE IN AUSTRIA
"EIN VOLK - EIN REICH - EIN FÜHRER"
The stamps were designed by Prof. Puchinger and Michel 662 was printed engraved at the Berlin State Printing Office on coated sheets (10x5) with a swastika watermark and were perf K 14. Michel 662 measures 23 x 28mm. Michel 663 was printed by the Austrian State Printing Office on coated paper on sheets (10x10) but this time without watermark and Perf K 12½. Michel 663 measures 21.5 x 26mm.
No Engraver's mark at lower left
Engraver's mark "E.P". At lower left
The stamps are engraved "EIN VOLK, EIN REICH, EIN FÜHRER" - "One people, one empire, one leader" suggesting that Germany and Austria were one people who should be united as a single country under a single leader. The Berlin printing of these stamps was produced on sheets of 50 and for those printed in Vienna on sheets of 100.
This stamp was issued on the 13th April to celebrate Hitler's 49th birthday on the 20th April 1938. It was produced on sheets of 50 (10x5) and was designed by Prof. Richard Klein. The stamp was engraved on unwatermarked paper and Perf K 14.
49th BIRTHDAY ADOLF HITLER
A Special Postmark and Special Postcard were also issued. The postmark was used only on the 20th April in Berchtesgaden, Berlin, Munich, Nuremberg, Braunau, Graz, Linz and Vienna.
Although there were no special stamps issued to commemorate this event there was a postcard (P246) and a reply card (P247) issued to celebrate the event as well as a special postmark used in Hamburg where the event was held.
NATIONAL CONFERENCE of the KdF
(Strength Through Joy)
SAXONY at WORK EXHIBITION18th Jun to 18th Sep 1938. Again no special stamp was issued to commemorate this event but there were two commemorative postcards issued to celebrate the event as well as a special postmark used in Dresden where the event was held and a souvenir sheet.
MICHEL 665 to 668
This set of 4 stamps depicting major buildings in Breslau were issued on the 21st June 1938. Designed by G. Fritz they were produced on sheets of 100 (10x10) stamps and did not have a watermark and were Perf K 14.
16th GERMAN SPORTS TOURNAMENT
This event was held between 23rd and 31st July 1938 and was attended by Adolf Hitler and the leader of the Sudeten Nazi's, Konrad Henlein. At a speach during the games Hitler promised Sudeten Germans they would soon be freed (in October 1938, true to his word, the German army invaded the Sudentland area of Czechoslovakia)
Herman Goering Stadium
Breslau Town Hall
A series of commemorative postcards were issued along with a special postmark and slogan postmark. In addition a souvenir sheet was also available.
MICHEL 669 & 670
These two commemorative stamps were issued on 5th July 1938 to honour the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Graf Zeppelin. Produced on sheets of 100 (10x10) stamps and designed by von Axster-Heüdtlass they were valid until 31st December 1939. The stamps were unwatermarked and Perf K 14. The 25Rpf stamp features von Zeppelin in the gondola of L.Z.4 on its maiden flight on the 20th June 1908. The 50Rpf stamp shows the gondola of L.Z.129 the "Hindenburg" on its maiden flight on 4th March 1936 ('The Hindenburg' Airship famously caught fire and was destroyed during mooring on arrival in Lakenhurst, New Jersey on 6th May 1937).
100th BIRTHDAY of GRAF von ZEPPELIN
There were no postcards issued to commemorate the event however there were several special postmarks and a slogan postmark used for this event.
SA SPORTS DAY, BERLIN15th to 17th Jul 1938. There were no special stamps issued to commemorate this event however there was a postcard (P271) as well as a special postmark and a slogan postmark used in Berlin where the event was held.
This stamp was designed by Prof. Richard Klein and was produced in sheets of 50 (5x10), on the 20th July 1938. It was printed on unwatermarked paper and was valid until 31st December 1939. The design pictures a rider celebrating victory in the race and holding the victor's wreath.
BROWN RIBBON RACE
(Das Braune Band von Deutschland)
There are two versions of this stamp, Michel 671x which is dark brown and has vertical ribbed gum and Michel 671y which is light brown and has horizontal ribbed gum.
There are 3 special postmarks as well as a slogan postmark used during the event from 14th to 31st July 1938.
The annual Reichsparteitag of 1938 was held in Nürnberg and was called the "Rally of Greater Germany" - 'Reichsparteitag Grossdeutschland' to commemorate the fact that Austria was now part of a 'Greater Germany' since the Anschluss in April 1938. A single stamp, designed by Prof. Richard Klein, was issued on 1st September 1938 and was valid until 31st December 1939. Produced on sheets of 100 (10x10) stamps they were issued on non watermarked paper and were Perf K 14. There are two versions, type 'x' with vertical gum ribbing and type 'y' with horizontal gum ribbing.
10th REICHSPARTEITAG NÜRNBERG
(Nazi Party Rally)
There were 2 special postmarks as well as a slogan postmark used during the event from 5th to 17th September 1938. Several commemorative postcards were also available as well as a series by Hitler's official photographer, Herman Hoffman.
BREAKING NEWS: 29th Sep
— Munich Agreement: German, Italian, British and French leaders agree to German demands regarding annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Czechoslovak is fed to the wolves.
DAY OF THANKS2nd Oct 1938. There were no special stamps and no special postmarks issued to commemorate this rally, which was in any event cancelled due to events on the Czechoslovak border where the German army was gathering its forces for the attack on Czechoslovakia. A postcard was issued in advance on the 20th September.
BREAKING NEWS: 9th Nov
Kristallnacht: The "night of broken glass" begins as Nazi activists and sympathizers loot and burn Jewish businesses leading to the destruction of some 7,500 Jewish businesses, 267 synagogues, 91 Jews killed, and at least 25,000 Jewish men arrested.
MICHEL 673 and 674
Issued on October 9th 1938 these two G. Fritz designed stamps commemorate the opening of the Saarpfalz Theatre. The stamps were printed in sheets of 100 (10x10) on coated, swastika watermarked paper and were Perf K 14.
OPENING OF THE SAARPFALZ
A special postmark as well as a slogan postmark was used only on the 9th October.
MICHEL 675 to 683
This set of 9 stamps were issued on the 18th November 1938 and feature views and buildings and Alpine flowers of Austria (now known as Ostmark). The stamps were designed by Fritz and engraved on sheets of coated, unwatermarked paper on sheets 100 (10x10). Perf K 14.
Forchtenstein Castle, Burgenland
Zell am See
Augstein Castle, Wachau
Wien (Prince Eugene Statue, Vienna)
There are several WHW day of solidarity postmarks used in conjunction with this stamp issue. A set of 6 postcards was also available.
MICHEL 684 & 685
These stamps were available from the 2nd December 1938 and consisted of 2 von Axster-Heüdtlass designed stamps. They were engraved on swastika watermarked paper in sheets of 100 (10x10) stamps. Perf K 14. Michel 684 can be found in two varieties, type 'x' with vertical ribbed gum and type 'y' with horizontal ribbed gum.
The Münich Treaty was signed on 30th September 1938 and officially ceeded the Sudetenland to Germany on 1st October.
The towns of Aussig, Karlsbad, Reichenberg and Troppau issued special postmarks on the 4th December and there was also a slogan postmark used at the same time. In addition there was a commemorative red Zeppelin cachet postmark used to mark the maiden flight of Zeppelin LZ 130 to the Sudetenland in December 1938. A souvenir sheet and postcard were also issued.
COLOGNE CARNIVAL31st Dec 1938. There were no special stamps issued to commemorate this event. Two postcards were issued on the 31st December 1938. There was also a special postmark and slogan postmark used for the event.
MICHEL D144 to D154
This set of 11 Official stamps was issued on 26th January 1938 and was designed by Prof. Richard Klein. They were produced on sheets of 100 (10x10) and have a swastika watermark. They are Perf K 14 : 14¼.
There was a re-issue of these stamps in March 1942 and these can easily be distinguised as they had no watermark. There are colour differences between both issues as well.
dark brown ochre
bright emerald green
dark grey green
dark pink red
dark green grey
dark olive yellow
dark brownish olive