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Article about: Moreover, since young people are as obsessed with Totenkoepfe as were older generations, the symbols of the cult of death in central European society and art have a place here, too. The pres

  1. #1

    Red face Help needed


    My name is Erla and I am a fashion design student in Reykjavik, Iceland. I will graduate in the spring and for my final essay I will be writing about the Nazi uniforms, especially the SS uniforms. I have always been fascinated with military uniforms and the Nazi/SS/Hugo Boss mixture is just so magical to read about and look at.
    Researching for this subject is hard to find here in Reykjavik, as the libraries tend to only have historical overview on the second world war but not about the design and ideology behind it all.

    I would be extremely grateful if I could get any help from you (I have been reading the forum for quite a while now ) if you have any notes on "The Must Know" about the uniforms, it would be really great! If you think some information is more valuable than other and whatever comes in mind...
    If you'd have information on where they got their inspiration from or some details on how the ideology was based upon.

    I am VERY sorry if I am bothering you on this forum, I just thought I'd might give it a go - as it seems that most of the topics I've read have been answered in a nice manner

    Thank you in advance and hope you have a nice evening...Erla

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Help needed

    You will find a lot of data for your project here. The best place to begin is with the Andew Mollo books, if they exist in Iceland, or surely you can secure them. I would treat a lot of what exists in the internet with some caution, as some of the sites and pages are filled with error. I do not think that Hugo Boss designed the black SS uniform. Rather, Boss was surely a contractor of the SA and SS from an early date.

    If you have questions, do pose them here and will try to help you. The posts here are confusing without context, and, let me make my only point, that you need to look at a history of the SS as an organization to understand the uniform. Be careful of some of the other fora, as the level of knowledge as well as the level or relative maturity of many of those that post there are both low.

    I am sure my colleagues, some of whom are surely the most well informed will be of aid to you in your work. There are a lot of illustrations here of rare and interesting material.

    Best of luck with your project.

    I always fly over Iceland on my way from here to there, and one day I should instead land there.
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    damit, basta.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Help needed

    As concerns the ideology of the SS, the older work of Heinz Hoehne, the Order of the Death's Head is a good place to begin; there are several works in German on the universe of ideas in the SS, especially an older work from the 1960s on Heinrich Himmler as an ideologue by Ackermann. If you research is confined to English language sources, one good place to begin is George Mosse's Nationalization of the Masses, which treats the aesthetics of politics and the aesthetics of power especially in national socialism. I read the book when I was a college senior and now use professionally, and it is a wonderful book to understand many things that to beginners are quite confusing.

    The best work on the SS today is in Germany, and I have listed many of these titles in detail in my posts here. I am not sure whether you can secure these works, but the edited volume of Schulte that is in part on the Wewelsburg as well as the SS generally contains the most recent research. The clothing economy of the SS is also treated in newer research on the concentration camp system, which is significant for the subject.

    If you are only able to read English, then we shall think again for you and where to start your reading.

    There is a heap of junky, kitschy literature on the SS which is not worth the powder to blow it to hell with. Such is what one encounters frequently.

    There are also extremely good books in German on the textiles, apparel and fashion industry in Germany in the 20th century, which are also quite useful.

    Nowadays, with Google books, all of this is a lot easier than in my day, when one had note cards and a pencil.
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    damit, basta.

  5. #4

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    Also very crucial. But only in German as near as I can tell.
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    damit, basta.

  6. #5

    Default Re: Help needed

    Here is an image of the most recent edition of Mollo published in the early 1990s. The original edition is from the late 1960s through the middle 1970s, but I still adhere to them as the basis. Today there are different kinds of books with details, but the point of departure is in this work especially for what you wish to do. The others here are very absorbed by the Beaver books from Schiffer publishing, but these colored picture books are without the kind editorial rigor as obtained to the Mollo family, who really did adhere to a kind of excellence in Uniformkunde that has gone by the boards recently. The Beaver volumes are singular and impressive, but they are also focused on what is an accident of circumstance as to leading examples in certain north American collections. While this visual evidence is overwhelming, it surely does not include many important objects which for whatever reason have not survived or are unknown in certain circles.

    Happy reading.
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    damit, basta.

  7. #6

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    This recent book in Germany tries to get at aesthetics generally in national socialism through corporate identity and advertising. Such is not so far fetched, granted the excellence of commercial art and industrial design in early 20th century Germany as well as the rise of consumer culture there.
    It is also in German. It would help you, too. It is especially helpful for a beginner without a background in complicated material.
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    damit, basta.

  8. #7

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    This is the work of Mosse, and the place I would start to understand the whole issue of nationalism and symbols which were central to German life, the Nazis and the SS.
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    damit, basta.

  9. #8

    Default Re: Help needed

    Thank you very much for your help! I'm very grateful to have so many pointers from where to go, thank you thank you
    I can't read german so I'll have to stick with the english ones...but i'm going to see if i can get the Mosse book somewhere around...!
    Best regards,

  10. #9

    Default Re: Help needed

    Also, Robin Lumsden's books are a good place to start, especially, The SS: Himmler's Black Order.

    The Longerich book has a chapter on the ideological and cultic aspects of the SS in pretty nice detail, with a sound analysis.

    Lumsden used to post here, and is a pleasant man with a good sense of humor.

    Of course, the other piece is the aesthetic ideas and doctrines of Hitler, himself, who was as central to all of this as was Heini H.

    There is a book by Frederich Spotts on Hitler's aesthetic or artistic codex that was published in the 1990s.

    You have also to remember that all of these people grew up in a militaristic world of the late 19th century where rank and station in life were often reflected in uniforms, i.e. Hitler father was a customs official on the river Inn and Himmler's father was a Privatdozent to the Wittelbach court in Munich. Especially the latter as concerns Bavarian society and Catholicism and the Bavarian crown, as well as the forces opposed to same are central to Heini H's downright odd view of the world.

    One of his grand nieces has also written an excellent book in German on the Himmler family, which I can well recommend. She used alot of unknown material.
    damit, basta.

  11. #10

    Default Re: Help needed

    There is also an excellent book in German by an acquaintance of mine from the Austrian army on the use of symbols and color in uniforms, based on psychological theories of color (....the man in from Vienna...)

    Hubert Zeinar Vom Zauber der Montur Vienna, 2005.

    Zeinar analyzes the symbols, colors, and design of insignia and other Effekten in a way that is interesting and persuasive. His focus is mostly on Austrian uniforms, but the latter were the model in many ways for the original Nazi uniforms of the 1920s.

    There is also a recent book on British uniforms of the 19th century (...I will find the citation) and their role in society which is useful, too, for the German case, i.e. the invention or transformation of symbols in new social/political movements, and also the reinvention of social elites for new roles, in which sartorial splendor is a key factor. The British nobility had to de frenchify itself, that is, distance itself from French court fashion in the wake of the revolution and the wars with Napoleon, and they used military uniforms and sporting garb as a means to do so. It is also interesting that the early retailers of SA uniforms in the late 1920s were often sports wear stores. I have enclosed some adverts from same here. Thus, you have also to consider the role of sports and clothing in Germany, too.

    The meaning of elite changed in the period of Himmler's maturation to a young man, the most powerful force of which was of course the war in which he did get fully to participate. The generation of men just too young to have undergone the baptism of fire marked him greatly, and shaped his world view. The old elites of his childhood had been shoved aside and were overwhelmed by the after effects of war, and the sartorial appearance of the SS was a reflection of this civil war, as well as the cultic and inverted Catholic and militarist outlook that was powerful in Himmler's approach, to say nothing of the Nordic hocus pocus which was wide spread at the time.

    And, the central German word is: Kitsch. A lot of SS regalia is actually Kitsch, but I actually like Kitsch.

    Happy regalia to all seekers of truth.
    damit, basta.

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