Original WW1 German / Prussian M1915 belt buckle (enlisted men / non commissioned officer), IN VERY NICE CONDITION WITH MOST OF ITS ORIGINAL FIELD GREY (FELDGRAU) FINISH, ONE PIECE CONSTRUCTION, A GOOD PIECE
HISTORY OF THE M1895 BELT BUCKLE:
Prussian M1915 EM/NCO'S (Enlisted Men / Non Commissioned Officer) belt buckle: first introduced in 1847, the design of the buckle remained virtually unchanged until 1918. After January of 1915, these buckles, which were also used by the Prussian-dominated states of Baden, Oldenburg, Hansa and Thuringia, were made of zinc-plated sheet iron. Originally the box buckles came in a 50mm, (roughly 2 inches), width until 1895 when the width was reduced to 45mm, (roughly 1 3/4 inches), in an attempt to lighten the weight load of the field gear. Initially the buckles were produced of brass with a nickel/silver face plate until 1914 when steel construction buckles were introduced. An early, pre-1895 pattern, two-piece brass and nickel/silver construction Prussian belt buckle. The 51mm, slightly convex, stamped metal box buckle, features, against its plain, obverse field, a crown to its domed center, encompassed by a dual rope-like border within which, against a ribbed background, is "Gott Mit Uns" (God [is] With Us), and a spray of laurels. To the reverse is its raised buckle catch, and a metal prong bar with dual prongs, for the belt’s retaining tongue. Gott mit uns (God with us) is a phrase commonly associated with the German military from the German Empire to the end of the Third Reich, although its historical origins are far older, ultimately tracing back to the Hebrew term Immanuel from the Bible. Nobiscum deus ('God with us') was a battle cry of the late Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Empire. In the 17th century, the phrase Gott mit uns was used as a 'field word', a means of recognition akin to a password, by the army of Gustavus Adolphus at the battles of Breitenfeld (1631), Lützen (1632) and Wittstock (1636) in the Thirty Years' War. In 1701, Frederick I of Prussia changed his coat of arms as Prince-Elector of Brandenburg. The electoral scepter had its own shield under the electoral cap. Below, the motto Gott mit uns appeared on the pedestal. The Prussian Order of the Crown was Prussia's lowest ranking order of chivalry, and was instituted in 1861. The obverse gilt central disc bore the crown of Prussia, surrounded by a blue enamel ring bearing the motto of the German Empire Gott Mit Uns. At the time of the completion of German unification in 1871, the imperial standard bore the motto Gott mit uns on the arms of an Iron Cross. German soldiers had Gott mit uns inscribed on their helmets in the First World War. To the Germans it was a rallying cry, "a Protestant as well as an Imperial motto, the expression of German religious, political and ethnic single-mindedness, or the numerous unity of altar, throne and Volk"#. The slogan entered the mindset on both sides; in 1916 a cartoon was printed in the New York Tribune captioned "Gott Mit Uns!", showing "a German officer in spiked helmet holding a smoking revolver as he stood over the bleeding form of a nurse. It symbolized the rising popular demand that the United States shed its neutrality". In June 1920 George Grosz produced a lithographic collection in three editions entitled Gott mit uns. A satire on German society and the counterrevolution, the collection was swiftly banned. Grosz was charged with insulting the army, which resulted in a 300 German Mark fine and the destruction of the collection.