Monday, January 3, 2011

Nazi Hardware

The official pin/advertisement/endorsement of the first ever Volkswagens! The German populace were encouraged en mass to invest (in advance) huge amounts of money overall for the first line of this new automobile: "the peoples car"...and they were never delivered! The Reich simply stole all that money and threw it at the military. The people never got their cars and Volkswagens as we know them weren't actually assembled and distributed until years later, at new prices.

This one is especially curious and poetic.

Despite an almost cartoonish first impression this was easily the most dreaded of all the Nazi symbols- the official S.S. Totenkopf (Death's Head). An implication of torture and death for non-aryans generally and Jews specifically.

I'm currently reading The Rise and Fall of The Third Reich by William L. Shirer. It's depressing. I can't help but be fascinated with the thought that good and evil are essentially terms we have conjured up to describe ourselves. Unspeakable terrors have been spoken and unthinkable atrocities have been thought. It's difficult and discouraging to accept that the culture of Nazism got so far and compromised so many people based quite simply on a policy of aggressive bullying, intimidation and gangsterism. Something like this is going to happen again. Incidentally and relevantly, I have also always found myself deeply interested in costume and jewelry- to whatever end. Here we have a political and ideological group with the very clear intentions of seeming both noble and inherently blessed to it's followers and scary as all hell to it's enemies...and this is what some of their "jewelry" looked like.
This imagery comes from a very interesting site that has documented all kinds of military attire throughout the ages.

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