Original Imperial German WWI Hate Belt with Gott Mit Uns Prussian Buckle & 23 Attached Items
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. American soldiers were known for their love of souvenirs in the Great War; So, a lot of material history of the war came across the Atlantic with returning soldiers. Among collectors of military memorabilia from World War One "HATE BELTS" are items of interest.
German soldiers' leather belts, and other belts from participating armies, that were festooned with buttons from soldiers uniforms are called Hate Belts / Souvenir Belts / Grave Digger Belts. These made for excellent collector's pieces.
"Hate Belt": the idea was that if a German soldier had killed or captured an Allied soldier, then he would have the button from the newly deceased or captured soldier attached to his belt as a kind of notch of conquest on his belt. This, no doubt, is the most intriguing explanation for those decorative belts.
"Souvenir Belt": this description is apt for many of the belts that are in circulation today. The souvenir belt would involve a German infantryman's belt being decorated with buttons and tabs from troops BOTH Allied and CENTRAL Powers and kept as a remembrance of The War.
"Grave Digger Belt" description is self explanatory, to a degree. Troops burying dead soldiers would sometimes remove buttons from those they buried as a remembrance. It is impossible to determine the origin of most belts, but some of these highly collectible belts provide some hints as to their origin. Nevertheless, these belts provide for excellent points of interest for collectors.
This example offered in very good condition features a GOTT MIT UNS (God [is] with us) Imperial German issue Prussian Brass Belt Buckle with Nickel Emblem, with its correct original leather belt. It has seen use, but the emblem on the buckle is still fully legible, with only minor wear. The belt has however gotten a bit stiff over the years, and the leather has some cracking.
It features 23 items in total, however this belt definitely at some point had far more, and we can see at least 20 locations where items were attached, but were removed. 10 of the remaining items are buttons from various countries, states, and so forth. There is a button from the Royal Canadian LORD STRATHCONA'S HORSE regiment, as well as the PRINCE OF WALES WEST YORKSHIRE regiment. There also are a good number of German Kockarden (cockades) from caps, mostly the standard Imperial German Tricolor. The items are attached by their own attachment studs, or held in place by split rings.
It measures about 40 inches in overall length and is 1 3/4 inches wide. The buckle tab is still intact, so the buckle can be moved if desired.
An extremely impressive item! Ready to display!
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