NSDAP Reichsleitung Visor Cap M34
Image courtesy of Hermann Historica Auctioneers, Munich
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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 first attempt to standardize the NSDAP headgear began in 1933. The visor caps worn by NSDAP members underwent several iterations from 1933 until the end of the Second World War.
All versions of the cap were produced from a brown coloured material, with a brown velvet or velveteen cap band.
The first formalized version of the visor cap replaced the informal NSDAP Kepi style cap. It was officially introduced on January 20, 1934, hence it is being referred to as M(odel) 34. It can be found in the stiffer so-called "saucer" form (Tellermütze), which uses an internal wire to keep the shape of the cap, or the more relaxed so-called "old style" form (Klappmütze), which does not feature an internal wire and is therefore foldable.
Buttons and chin cords are either gold-coloured or silver-coloured, depending on the wearer's rank and position. However, gold-coloured chin cords were usually accompanied by gold-coloured buttons, and silver-coloured chin cords by silver-coloured buttons.
This cap features a small, silver-coloured national emblem eagle above the cap band and along the front seam, as well as the national tricolour cockade in the centre of the cap band. The visor of the M34 is generally produced from dark brown leather (sometimes black, but this was against regulations).
Piping was worn along the crown and above and below the cap band to identify the wearer’s political rank level. Piping colours include yellow for Reichsleitung level (national), red for Gauleitung level (larger district (Gau) level), black for Kreisleitung (district level), and light blue for Ortsgruppenleitung (local level).
Small changes were made constantly, but in 1939, a new design of the visor cap was introduced, known as the M39 cap.
The piping colours for the M39 were specified as golden-yellow for Reichsleitung level, dark red for Gauleitung level, white for Kreisleitung level, and light blue for Ortsgruppenleitung level.
Chin cords and buttons were gold-coloured for every rank. So was the national eagle emblem insignia. The tricolour cockade was now framed by an oak leaf wreath insignia.
Lastly, a cap with a white top for summer wear was introduced. The summer cap did not feature piping on the crown, only above and below the cap band.
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