Description: This NSDAP Political Leaders Gorget certainly does not appear to have sat out the Third Reich on a factory shelf! The NSDAP Political Leaders Gorget was introduced by the Nazi Party in April 1939 and was to be worn by all flag bearers officially entrusted with carrying NSDAP unit standards, each of which had been consecrated by touching the “Blood Flag” stained with the blood of those killed in the 1929 Beer Hall Putsch. This one definitely has a worn look, with a few minor dents. The gorget is made from a light metal, about 9 inches long and 4-1/2 inches high, and features a very detailed oak leaf border around a large and impressive right-facing national eagle emblem. Most of the original bronze gold finish has been polished away, revealing the copper-colored base metal. Looking at the luster of the metal, this certainly seems to have been done a long time ago. The reverse retains all of the original hooks that were used to firmly affix this to the wearer’s uniform, and is manufacturer marked RZM M1/102 for the well-known award manufacturer Frank und Reif in Stuttgart. The green felt backing has some scattered moth tracking, no serious damage. This NSDAP Political Leaders Gorget is complete with its original chain, which is about 24 inches long, and features alternating wreathed swastika and national eagle emblem ornamentation on its 31 links. The chain is maker marked RZM M1/102, matching the gorget. I believe the chain and gorget have always been together. A lovely piece with a lot of character.
Historical Background: Gorgets were originally part of a knight’s armor during medieval times. Long after suits of armor were abandoned, the gorget continued to be used in many European armies as a form of military insignia. In the Imperial German Army until 1914, gorgets were worn as a special mark of distinction by certain elite units. Following WWI, German paramilitary and police organizations used gorgets for standard bearers, as insignia, and to denote personnel assigned special tasks. Following the Nazi rise to power, there was a vast increase in the number of uniformed organizations, and a variety of new gorgets were instituted for use by these civil, political and paramiliary organizations, as well as by the military. Standard bearers of most organizations, who were entrusted with carrying flags at rallies and in parades, wore gorgets. Other gorgets indicated assignment to guard or security forces. The military police personnel of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS had their own gorgets as a part of their uniforms, and were nicknamed “chained dogs” by the troops due to the chain used to suspend the gorget around the wearer’s neck. Because gorgets were never general issue to all personnel of any organization or military branch, they were manufactured in limited numbers, and are generally scarce to encounter today.
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