BACKGROUND: At the beginning of WW2 the Bulgarian government declared a position of neutrality with the determination to observe it till the end of the war. The government was hoping for bloodless territorial gains and began to achieve this with the recovery of Southern Dobruja on the 7th of September, 1940, which was lost to Romania in the Balkan War in 1913, through the Axis-sponsored Treaty of Craiova. When faced with the choice of allowing German troops, who were preparing to invade Greece from Romania, either safe passage though Bulgarian territory or the military invasion by those same troops, Bulgaria officially joined the Axis Powers on the 1st of March, 1941. Although they were part of the Axis, Bulgaria did not declare war on or join the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The invasion of the Soviet Union caused major unrest and protest in Bulgaria leading to a guerilla movement by the Fatherland Front resistance set up by the underground Bulgarian Communist Party. It was on the 26 of August, 1944, with the Soviet Army on its borders, that the Fatherland Front incited an armed rebellion against the government which was replaced by a new government on the 2nd of September. The Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria and invaded on the 5th of September, 1944, and with no resistance offered by the Bulgarian Army, by order of the new government, the Soviets occupied northeastern Bulgaria along with the port cities of Varna and Burgas in three days. On the 8th of September, 1944, Bulgaria quit the Axis Powers and declared war on Germany officially joining the Soviet Union in its war effort.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: A German made, single piece, stamped sheet steel construction Luftschutz M44 "Gladiator" style helmet retains at least 95% of its original, smooth, olive-drab painted finish. The right side of the helmet has a Kingdom of Bulgaria emblem decal in place which is retained 90%. The multi-colored decal is in the shape of a shield which has a diagonal line separating three horizontal stripes, from top to bottom, the left side white, green, red and the right side black, white and black. Superimposed to the center is a red shield with the Royal Lion of the Kingdom of Bulgaria. The helmet has two groups of seven "salt & pepper" ventilation holes to either side of the crown. All four of the slightly domed headed, liner retaining rivets are intact. The visor/neck guard has a semi-circular "ear" cut-out to either side. What remains of the liner and chinstrap is very dry brittle (see photos).

GRADE *** 1/2                             PRICE $359.00

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