Condition: Very Good
Product Description: This is probably a wartime manufactured example of the RAD enlisted cap insignia. It is made of zinc, finished with a silver wash, with painted details. The original silvering has mostly faded, as is typical with wartime zinc pieces, though thin remnants of the finish remain, mostly to the front. The original paint has fared better, and remains 98 percent intact. This RAD enlisted cap insignia shows age patination, and some spots of oxidation, but no actual wear. The reverse has mostly reverted to the dark gray color of the base metal. It bears the “RADJ” triangle logo, as well as the stylized “A” maker mark indicating manufacture by the firm of Assmann. Both of the round wire attachment prongs remain intact. The prongs are soldered to the badge, and the traces of silver wash on the solder indicate that these have never been repaired. Overall, a nice, representative example of the RAD enlisted cap insignia, with the iconic shovel and wheat emblem of the Reichsarbeitsdienst organization.
Historical Description: The German National Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst, or RAD) was a major Nazi Party organization before and during WWII. It provided a labor force for Nazi civil, economic and military projects. Service in this organization was compulsory; men aged 18 to 25 had to serve six months in the RAD, though those who volunteered for certain military duties were exempt. There was also a female RAD section, with compulsory service for young women during WWII. The Reichsarbeitsdienst was originally formed in 1934, from an amalgamation of previous voluntary labor organizations. Before the war, they dug ditches, cleared forests, reclaimed waste lands and built roads, including a role in building the famous German Autobahn system. In the leadup to war, they assisted with harvests and also built bunkers and field fortifications including the West Wall. During WWII the RAD was classified as an auxiliary organization to the Wehrmacht. The organization took on an increasingly military role, with RAD personnel serving on all fronts, and even in combat. The RAD had a vast array of distinctive uniforms, from finely tailored officer garments for formal wear to coveralls and work clothing. Insignia and headgear in many patterns was issued and used in the organization’s 11-year history, and special awards were instituted to recognize RAD service. In addition to the iconic spades used by RAD members, many other types of field equipment were also issued and used.
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