Original German Post-WWI Weimar Republic Era Freikorps Visor Cap with NSDAP Badge & Bring Back Info
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very rare example of a German Post-WWI Issue Freikorps Schirmmütze (Free Corps Visor cap), in very good condition. This example shows high quality fabrication, made with the typical German Reichswehr Army style feldgrau (Field Gray) green / gray wool with band in the same color, and a traditional high front. It looks to be for an EM/NCO, but in many cases the Freikorps did not have that level of organization, and members used the caps they had left over from WWI. Per information received with the cap, this is a typical visor cap from a member of "Der Stahlhelm" from circa 1929.
The front of the cap has both the Imperial German Tri-Color and Prussian (Black and white) cockades attached in the center. Between this is the NSDAP Reichsadler, though it definitely was added post manufacture and issue, when the owner became a member of the Freikorps. The cap has an excellent condition adjustable black patent leather chinstrap, designating the wearer to be an enlisted man, attached to black lacquered buttons on either side. The leather visor is also in good condition, with a nice shape, though the black finish on the leather has damage from heat and age, which causes it to ripple and crack.
The inside of the cap is lined with light brown "service cloth" type fabric. The top of the helmet does not look to ever have had a plastic sweat shield, and there are no markings at all on the interior of the cap, except for a name written on the underside of the leather sweatband. Unfortunately, we are not able to read this name. The sweatband itself is in very good condition, with supple leather and no tearing. The cap is in very good condition overall. The exterior has some light mothing in areas, but it doe snot really detract from the look.
Included with the cap is some information written on two small pieces of paper, as well as a photo showing a Freikorps member wearing a very similar cap. The back of the picture indicates that it is for a Enlisted Man in the "Stahlhelm" organization, with a 1929 style National Eagle added between the cockades. This refers to the Der Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten (The Steel Helmet, League of Front-Line Soldiers), which had been part of the "Black Reichswehr". It continued "extra legal" work as a paramilitary group in the later period of the Weimar republic.
The first piece of paper has the following bring back information on it:
1925 FRIE-KORP VISOR HAT LATER ADAPTED IN THE NZI ERA - EARLY 1930'S. PICKED UP BY JEROME LEDDICK (CORP.) TECH. CORP. ENGINEERS IN LINZ, AUSTRIA 1945.
The second paper has information regarding the cap specifically:
OLD STYLE BRIGADE EHRHARDT HAT. FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME 2 COCKADES WERE WORN. ON AUGUST 1TH 1933 AH ORDERED THIS MILITARY ORGANIZATION BE INCORPORATED INTO LOCAL SS UNITS. A VERY RARE EARLY HAT.
A great example of a Rare German Weimar Period Freikorps Visor Cap with all the correct insignia and some good research information, ready to add to your collection!
The German Freikorps (Free Corps): The meaning of the word Freikorps changed over time. After 1918, the term was used for the paramilitary organizations that sprang up around Germany as soldiers returned in defeat from World War I. They were the key Weimar paramilitary groups active during that time. Many German veterans felt disconnected from civilian life, and joined a Freikorps in search of stability within a military structure. Others, angry at their sudden, apparently inexplicable defeat, joined up in an effort to put down communist uprisings, such as the Spartacist uprising, or exact some form of revenge on those they considered responsible for the armistice. They received considerable support from Minister of Defence Gustav Noske, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Noske used them to crush the German Revolution of 1918–19 and the Marxist Spartacist League, including arresting and executing leaders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg on 15 January 1919. They were used to defeat the Bavarian Soviet Republic in May 1919.
In 1920, Adolf AH had just begun his political career as the leader of the tiny and as-yet-unknown Deutsche Arbeiterpartei/DAP German Workers' Party, which was soon renamed the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei/NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party) or NSDAP Party in Munich. Numerous future members and leaders of the NSDAP Party had served in the Freikorps, including Ernst Röhm, future head of the Sturmabteilung, or SA, Heinrich Himmler, future head of the Schutzstaffel, or SS, and Rudolf Höß, the future Kommandant of the Ausch prison camp. Hermann Ehrhardt, founder and leader of Marinebrigade Ehrhardt, and his deputy Commander Eberhard Kautter, leaders of the Viking League, refused to help AH and Erich Ludendorff in their 1923 Beer Hall Putsch and conspired against them.
AH eventually viewed some of them as threats. A huge ceremony was arranged on 9 November 1933 in which the Freikorps leaders symbolically presented their old battle flags to AH's SA and SS. It was a sign of allegiance to their new authority, the NSDAP state. When AH's internal purge of the party, the Night of the Long Knives, came in 1934, a large number of Freikorps leaders were targeted for killing or arrest, including Ehrhardt and Röhm. Historian Robert GL Waite claims that in AH's "Röhm Purge" speech to the Reichstag on 13 July 1934, he implied that the Freikorps were one of the groups of "pathological enemies of the state".
The Weimar Republic (German: Weimarer Republik), officially the German Reich (Deutsches Reich), also referred to as the German People's State (Deutscher Volksstaat) or simply the German Republic (Deutsche Republik), was the German state from 1918 to 1933. As a term, it is an unofficial historical designation that derives its name from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place. The official name of the republic remained the German Reich as it had been during the German Empire because of the German tradition of substates.
Although commonly translated as "German Empire," Reich here better translates as "realm" in that the term does not necessarily have monarchical connotations in itself. The Reich was changed from a constitutional monarchy into a republic. In English, the country was usually known simply as Germany, and the Weimar Republic name became mainstream only in the 1930s.
The German Schirmmütze Visor Cap:
The visor cap (Schirmmütze) was an important part of the headgear worn by German uniformed military, civil, paramilitary and political organizations during the Third Reich. This was the standard cloth headgear worn as a part of the service uniform. Visor caps were worn outdoors as well as indoors, and were often required to be worn by all personnel on duty. Visor caps were made in versions specific to each organization and were often further differentiated through the use of insignia, colored piping, or style of chin cord, to indicate rank, role or branch. The insignia used on these caps ranged from simple stamped metal emblems, to elaborate hand embroidery. Visor caps were issued to enlisted soldiers and NCOs in the military and in some other organizations. Officers had to purchase their own hats, and lower ranks could choose to purchase caps that were of a higher quality than the rather basic, issue examples. The private purchase caps were generally made in very high quality, with fine materials. A wide variety of fabrics were used, from Trikot and doeskin, to heavy wool, or even lightweight white fabric for summer wear. In the military, issue of these caps was generally suspended shortly after the outbreak of the war, but they continued to be worn by some troops until the end of the war.
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