Original German WW1 veteran league "Stahlhelmbund" membership badge, VERY NICE CONDITION, SIZE: cca 29 x 16 mm, MAKER MARKED: "WD" (Wilhelm Deumer - Lüdenscheid), "GES. GESCH" MARKED (LEGALLY PROTECTED), RARE BADGE
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
Stahlhelmbund Membership Badge: 16 x 19 mm silver coloured hollow back alloy metal badge stamped into the shape of a steel helmet. On the face is the inscription Der Stahlhelm next to an Iron Cross and finished in black. On the base is impressed the maker's mark and GES. GESCH. (Ges. Gesch. is an abbreviation for gesetzlich geschützt. Gesetzlich translates from German to English as legal, legitimate, by law. Geschützt translates from German to English as protected or sheltered so the translation means: legally protected). To the reverse is a pin-back fixing. Der Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten [the Steel Helmet, Association of Frontline Soldiers], The Stahlhelm was founded in 1918 by war veteran Franz Seldte, his brothers and some other soldiers from his unit. The association was originaly meant as both a mutual aid society for world war one veterans and as a political combat group like many other that sprung up during the 1920s. In 1926, it numbered half a million members, by far the largest at the time. Around this time the Stahlhelm entered politics although unlike similar groups, it didn't endorse a single party prefering instead to present itself simply as Conservative. The Stahlhelm's logo was a german helmet, seen from the side, with the words "Der Stahlhelm" written on it in a Fraktur-like printing type. As befits a conservative organisation, members of the Stahlhelm used mainly former flags of the country. Photographies show them using the Imperial War Flag and black-white-red horizontal tribands (most without an iron cross). At a meeting of the Harzburger Front in 1931, they can be seen using hanging banners. The design of the banner themselves would appear to be inpired by pre-weimar regimental colours. One even clearly have an eagle finial over a wreath thought its too small to see what it surround. Flags were also used as inspiration for shield-shaped shoulder badges of the various units. Scharnhorst Bund (the youth wing of the organisation) used a black cross fimibriated white and black (as from the war ensign). Both the Landesverband Westmark and Saar's own badges carried the imperial era triband, the first defaced with a Prussian eagle and crown, the second defaced with a German helmet over the shields of Prussia and Bavaria.