N022963 NSDAP GAULEITUNG LEVEL POLITICAL LEADER’S VISOR CAP. (Schirmmütze für Politische Leiter)

BACKGROUND: The NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (National Socialist German Worker’s Party), was originally founded in Munich as the DAP, Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, (German Worker’s Party), on January 5TH 1919. When Adolf Hitler joined the DAP in the autumn of 1919 he was to reform what was basically a debating society into an active political party. Appointed as the first chairman of the party on July 29TH 1921 Hitler was to restructure it along para-military lines in a hierarchy of four levels of government consisting of the Reichsleitung, (National Level), the Gauleitung, (Provincial/State Level), the Kreisleitung, (District Level), and the Ortsgruppenleitung, (Local Level), with each group being distinguished by a specific color of piping, introduced in 1934, that was generally displayed on the uniform collar tabs and the visor cap. Of Note: The colored piping for Political Leader’s headgear and uniform insignia underwent a minor change as per regulations of 1939. The piping color for Gauleitung level Political Leader’s visor caps between 1934 and 1939 was classified as "Rot", (Red), while the modifications in 1939 reclassified the color as, "Dunkel Rot" or "Schwärzlich Rot", (Dark Red), both terms were used, a subtle difference that may be indistinguishable after seventy years since the reclassification. Uniform and headgear regulations for NSDAP Political Leaders were addressed as early as 1920 and by May 1939 uniform regulations were generally completed with a few minor alterations. Originally, (Circa 1920), the standard NSDAP Political Leader’s headgear was a Kepi style cap, until regulations of January 20TH 1934 introduced a visor cap, based on the army style cap, for wear by all eligible Political Leaders. Light brown was to become the official uniform color of the NSDAP by chance circumstance rather then by design. Allegedly a large stockpile of discounted, surplus, WWI tropical brown shirts and fabric, intended for wear in East Africa, were located by WWI veteran and Freikorps, (Free Corps), Leader Gerhard Rossbach, in Austria in 1924 and purchased by the NSDAP as a temporary measure to bring about uniformity of dress to the party personnel. The political uniform and headgear regulations underwent numerous modifications including the 1934 style visor cap, until a final pattern visor cap was introduced on July 1ST 1939. Regulations of June 1939 introduced a white uniform and a white-topped visor cap for wear by Political Leaders during the summer period designated as, between April 1ST and September 30TH annually, although additional regulations stated that the white-topped visor cap only be worn in suitable weather conditions. The NSDAP Political Leaders had five, authorized forms of dress consisting of the Service Dress, the Ceremonial Dress, the Parade Dress, the Walking-out Dress and the Office Dress and the visor cap was worn with all forms of dress excluding the Office Dress. The RZM, Reich Zeug Meisterei, (National Equipment Quartermaster), was officially founded in June 1934 in Munich by the NSDAP as a Reich Hauptamt, (State Central Office), and was based on the earlier SA ,Sturm Abteilung, (Storm/Assault Detachment), Quartermaster’s Department. The functions of the RZM were not only to procure and distribute items to Party formations, but also to approve chosen designs and to act as a quality control supervisor to ensure items manufactured for the Party met required specification and were standardized. All NSDAP Political Leader’s uniform items and insignia fell under RZM control.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Nice quality, private purchase,1939 pattern, Gauleitung level, oval, "Tellerform" shaped, Political Leader’s visor cap in light tan wool with a subtle whipcord weave. The cap features a light brown velvet centerband and dark red wool piping to the crown edge and both the top and bottom edges of the centerband indicating the political level of Gauleitung. The cap still has it’s internal, crown stiffening wire and a vertical, front, stiffener intact giving it a nice "Tellerform" shape with a high, forward, central peak. The front center of the cap has a 1939 pattern, fire gilted, stamped alloy, left facing, national eagle with out-stretched wings, clutching a wreathed, canted swastika in it’s talons, in place. The fire gilted finish to the eagle is retained over 95% and the eagle is secured to the cap by three bent over prongs on the reverse. The front center of the centerband has a 1939 pattern, fire gilted, stamped alloy, oak-leaf wreath encompassing a three piece, political style national tri-color cockade. The cockade features a fluted red enamel base, a silver washed, alloy roundel and a cut-out, canted, black enameled swastika. The wreath retains about 95% of its fire gilted finish while the cockade retains all of it’s enamel work but only about 40% of the silver wash to the roundel. The wreath and cockade are also secured to the cap by bent over prongs on the reverse. The cap has a twisted, golden yellow, celleon chincord, secured by two, small, pebbled, gilt washed, alloy buttons. The cap has mid-brown vulcanfibre visor with a subtly raised lip to the forward edge. The interior of the cap is fully lined in two grades of golden yellow rayon with a ribbed lining to the body and a smooth lining to the crown. The crown lining retains has a clear, celluloid, sweat diamond fully intact. The sweat diamond is well marked with embossed, gilt script that includes the manufacturer’s name and location, "Traugott Rahne Hannover Cellerstr. 1 Ecke Nikolaistr." Of Note: Traugott Rahne was a uniform manufacturer but none of our reference material lists him as a cap manufacturer. The lining beneath the sweat diamond has a unknown, small, gilt, stylized letter, "H". The interior of cap also has a full, tan, leather sweatband with ventilation perforations to the front, forehead section fully intact. The reverse of the front, forehead section of the sweatband still has it’s original grey felt buffer pad intact. The cap has no visible size or RZM markings or tags. The cap is in overall fairly good condition with areas of light to moderate moth grazing resulting in a few small holes, primarily to the crown piping and numerous, small, spots of lost nap to the crown. The cap is roughly size 54, with a roughly, 21 1/4", (54cm), internal diameter.

GRADE ***1/4                             PRICE 

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