NSDAP Reichsleiter Type II Reich Level Armband
Image courtesy of OberRanks, Wikipedia
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The uniforms, headgear, and insignia of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) went through several design changes from 1933 until the end of the Second World War. Dr. Ley, originally the Gauleiter of Rheinland and later promoted to the position of chief of staff of Party Organization and Reich Organization Leader, was largely responsible for the NSDAP rank system and uniforms.
The standardized production and circulation of all NSDAP uniform garments, headgear, and insignia were overseen by the National Material Control Office (RZM or Reichszeugmeisterei). The RZM was created in July 1934, and it was located in Munich. From 1935 onward, all NSDAP uniform garments and insignia were legally required to feature an RZM control mark or tag, as well as a number mark on metal insignia or belt buckles. These marks indicate the authenticity of the object, the type of insignia or garment, and identify the manufacturer.
The inside of an armband should feature a sewn or stamped RZM label.
There are two main types of NSDAP armbands, the Type I standard armbands that were unofficially worn from 1922 and officially from 1933 until 1939, and the Type II armbands that were worn from 1939 until the end of the Second World War. In terms of manufacture, these armbands tended to be printed or embroidered, but may also have been manufactured through the combination of several pieces of fabric.
The armbands generally feature a swastika in a white circle on a red background. Early armbands are often constructed of cotton, while later ones tend to be made of higher quality wool. The oak leaf pattern featured on some armbands was either machine embroidered in yellow nylon or gold thread, or embroidered in gold bullion. The oak leaves point upwards to the right.
Not much is known about the rarely encountered pre-1939 armbands that signify a functional position that exceeds that of a general member or supporter.
Post-1939, the Type II armbands were assigned specific design attributes to differentiate between NSDAP rank levels and identify the wearer’s exact rank within that level. The NSDAP’s four main rank levels were the Reich (national) Level, the Gau (larger district) Level, the Kreis (district) Level, and the Ort (local) or Ortsgruppe (local group) Level. Each rank level is associated with a specific colour of piping, yellow for Reich, dark red for Gau, white for Kreis, and light blue for Ort.
The NSDAP Reichsleiter Type II Reich Level Armband shows the general features of the regular member armband, with an additional 24mm gold oak leaf band at the top and bottom, bordered by a 3mm gold stripe above and below, a gold-coloured metal pip at the centre of the swastika, and Reich level yellow piping. It was worn by Reich leaders.
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