Diplomatic Corps Silver Metal Wreath & Cockade Insignia
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The Diplomatic Corps was made up of officials (civil servants) of the Foreign Ministry. This ministry was taken over in 1938 by newly appointed Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop who, for the first time, introduced specific Diplomatic Corps uniforms. Prior to 1938, there had been no defined uniforms for members of the Foreign Office.
Prior to the war, the Foreign Ministry was heavily involved in the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland. During the war, some conquered territory, especially in Poland, was incorporated into the German Reich, while other territory was merely occupied. These countries, while officially still independent, were in reality administered by German officials of the Diplomatic Corps, and in some cases also German-approved puppet governments.
It is important to remember that the officials who served within the borders of the German Reich weren’t of course part of the Foreign Ministry, but rather of the Ministry of the Interior. However, the officials of both these ministries wore nearly identical uniforms.
Officials of the Diplomatic Corps were distinguished by rank as well as their educational level. The latter determined which kind of “Laufbahn” (career) an individual was able to choose. The “Höherer Dienst” (Higher Career) required a university degree, the “Gehobener Dienst” (Elevated Career) required a college degree, the “Mittlerer Dienst” (Middle Career) required a highschool degree, and the “Einfacher Dienst” (Lower Career) required a grade school education, to put it in a simplified way. Additionally, the Higher and Elevated Careers included several different pay groups.
Uniforms for the Diplomatic Corps were first introduced in 1938. They underwent near continuous modification between then and 1943.
The oak leaf wreath measures approx. 127mm in width and 40mm in height. Inside it features a tricolour cockade. Both wreath and cockade were usually hand-embroidered. The cloth backing is in black. Unlike with the eagle emblem backing, the backing colour for the wreath never changed, because the insignia was worn on the cap band, which was always in black, no matter the colour of the cap.
Eventually, lower ranks would often use a metal insignia, especially later in the war.
Gold hand-embroidered wreaths for certain ranks were first introduced in May of 1939.
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