Hi all, I have been reading up on the Stahlhelm organization and I did not know that it was actually an armed organization? According to Wikipedia they were also used as part of the Ordenen truppe protecting the Beer Hall meetings, very interesting facts IMO. So where does the Jung Stahlhelm and Landsturm come into it? I take it the Jung Stahlhelm is part of the Stahlhelm but can anyone explain or elaborate ref the Landsturm?
Last edited by Ben Evans; 11-16-2010 at 03:59 PM.
11-16-2010 02:03 PM
as far as i know is the landsturm not really a part of the stahlhelm they where formd out of stahlhelm membrs but to protect and support political mettings in small villages and in biger towns the stahlhelmbund was more to support the nsdap meetings as to protect they have done jobs like giving out flyer and so on but for the fighting was the sa, there is a nice documentation you can get at german war films it is calld the history of the sa and tells some stuff of the stahlhelm too, as the jungstahlhelm was a groop of kids from regular stahlhelmbund and was before the hj was all around them, get the documentation and you will see what i mean
here is wher you can buy the docu
DVD: THE HISTORY OF THE SA (The Brown Battalions) - GERMAN WAR FILMS ONLINE STORE
and this movie is a free download and tells a lot about sa history and some stahlhelm as well
1933 - SA-Mann Brand - Ein Lebensbild aus unseren Tagen (1h 34m, 640x480) : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
and it is a super nice movie, good story and nice historical view of germany before the war
Excellent, I will order that bad boy as well to go along with my books
this war films store has many more nice things and a lot of rare stuff as well
That sounds kind of exciting, but let's not get carried away. The Stahlhelm was founded as an organisation of WW1 veterans. Service in the armed forces during WW1 was the criterion for joining. The organisation expanded with a "Youth" section, admitting 17 year olds and over, and in 1926 with the "Landsturm", to enable persons with military service outside of (read: before) WW1 to join. Picture beer-bellied veterans too old or for other reasons spared the call-up during WW1. Hardly likely material to guard NSDAP meetings. Belonging to the Landsturm must have seemed like a 2nd class membership, and it was abolished fairly quickly, its members being admitted to the Stahlhelm proper. That's why Landsturm buckles are so rare.
Thankyou for comments Kurt and i must admit, I did not recognise the organisation that Klinger had described.
Here is an edited extract from the excellent article "History of the Stahlhelm" by Karl-Christian Gerbaulet.
The Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten (Steel Helmet, League of Front Soldiers) was founded by Captain Franz Seldte, his brothers Eugen and Georg and a dozen comrades of I.R. 66 on 25th of December, 1918. The event took place in a laboratory room of Seldte’s mineral water factory in Magdeburg/Saxony-Anhalt.
The protocol of that first meeting names the organisation’s original two major objectives as promoting:-
the spirit of comradeship and supporting the economic demands of the returning soldiers in neglect of social differences and party loyalties
law and order (in the days of revolution)
Though the Stahlhelm was opposed to the revolution, it was not initially an anti republican or racist organisation. Membership was open to Social Democrats and Jews, the only membership requirement being six months of front line service. Stahlhelm spokesman retired Sgt.Maj. Stahl declared on January 6th 1919, the organisation would “stand on the basis of the republic.
The founding of the Stahlhelm was not an isolated or unique action, however resembled the patterns of a time marked by internal conflict and civil war. Former officers (and sometimes other ranks) founded Freikorp, volunteer forces and civil guards in various cities across Germany to compensate for the absence of state power (Oberland, Wiking, Jungdeutscher Orden, Reichsflagge, Olympia, Wehrwolf, and Eschenbach to name a few). These organisations revealed a set of common characteristics. Initially they focused on securing law and order, quelling local or regional uprisings of left extremists and protecting Germany’s eastern frontiers. Tasks the small German army and police force could not handle alone. The appearance of these organisations was similar and paramilitary habits, military drilling and the military principles of leadership and subordination, combined with an extensive use of uniforms, flags and marching bands.
When these internal and external threats became less imminent in the early 1920's, many of these organisations transformed into Kampfbünde (Combat Leagues), the majority of them pursuing a far right and anti republican agenda. The Stahlhelm however differed in two ways by the comparatively moderate political alignment and the impressive number of members it was able to recruit.
While the original Stahlhelm group in Magdeburg had grown considerably, a second Stahlhelm group was founded in the city of Halle/Saale in August 1919 and soon others followed in Northern Germany. In September 1919 the Stahlhelm numbered 2,000 members. The early 1920’s saw an extremely quick growth of the Stahlhelm. In March 1920 there were 30 local groups. By June 1921 this had risen to 63 and in December to 300. In June 1922, the Stahlhelm claimed 500 groups organised in 16 Gaue (districts) within Northern Germany.
The same month, the Stahlhelm suffered a severe setback by the assassination of the German minister of foreign affairs, Walther Rathenau. The Stahlhelm leadership issued a condemnation of Rathenau’s murder, although still with and with several other organisations, the Stahlhelm was prohibited on order of the Prussian minister of The ban on the Stahlhelm was lifted after some eight months, although the ban did not stop the organisations expansion. In the Spring of 1923, the Stahlhelm numbered 1,200 local groups and continued to grow.
Nonetheless, the Stahlhelm faced two major obstacles to the recruitment of new members to include the lack of a youth’s organisation. After unsuccessful attempts to cooperate with independent youths organisations, Jungstahlhelm units were founded in October 1923. This paved the way for the process of transformation of the former front line soldier’s organisation to a political Combat League which was completed by loosening membership requirements in 1926. The number of Stahlhelm members grew to almost 500.000 that year. The Stahlhelm leadership however consisted of older, more established men (most of them former high ranking officers) and therefore displayed at times a quite bourgeois conservative character. The political formulations were ambitious, however quite low in ideological content and consistency. It was forced to compromise due to the large number of members with a restorative rather than a revolutionary character. This tendency somewhat limited the Stahlhelm attractiveness to young persons.
Another problem was a conflict with the Catholic Church. The Stahlhelm by having a stronghold in northern and north eastern Germany, was dominated by Protestants and contained members of Protestant splinter groups who preached a new “Combat of Cultures” (Kulturkampf), against the Catholic Church. Ideological differences and the competition within the field of youth organisations added to the problem, resulting in a general verdict by the German bishops (synods of Fulda 1924 and 1925) against national combat leagues which seriously hampered Stahlhelm expansion to the Rhineland and the Catholic regions of Southern Germany.
These problems and the competition of other nationalist and right wing organisations, and parties, prevented the Stahlhelm membership figure to rise beyond half a million.
The process of radicalisation of the Stahlhelm had begun in 1919. This was partially due to the general state of the German society at that time from the lost war, embarrassment about the Treaty of Versailles, civil war and a disastrous economical situation, all creating an atmosphere in which extremists prospered. Moreover, much of the Stahlhelm early growth had been made possible by the absorption of prohibited right extreme Combat Leagues such as the Orgesch and Freikorp. Also, the self understanding of the Stahlhelm which now began to promote a third major aim, toward the demand that veterans should be given a leading role in the state, seemed increasingly incompatible with the Weimar order. Many veterans considered themselves the nation’s elite by whose past efforts and sacrifices for society, gave them a special position to assume the leading role they demanded.
The Halle/Saale Stahlhelm group and headed by Theodor Duesterberg, proved to be the nucleus of radical völkisch tendencies within the organisation. Duesterberg had been promoting anti Semitic ideas at least since 1921 and soon became the most prominent figure of the Stahlhelm radical elements. Seldte as moderate however always opportunistic, tried to preserve political neutrality. In 1924, Duesterberg challenged Seldte for control of the Stahlhelm, however Seldte and the old Magdeburg leadership won the internal struggle for power. For now, the Stahlhelm official line remained national conservative, but not anti republican.
In the mid 1920's, the Stahlhelm became a moderately powerful political force. It numbered almost half a million members and published an own newspaper (Der Stahlhelm) and a magazine (Die Standarte) which contained prominent ideologues of war experience such as by F.W. Heinz and the Jünger brothers. Following the slogan “Into the state!” more than 100 members sat as deputies in the Prussian Landtag (Prussian state parliament), and the Reichstag (national parliament), most of them as members of the DNVP (German National People’s Party) and DVP (German People’s Party) and the Stahlhelm sustained good connections to these two parties. The DVP as a national liberal party represented a cornerstone of the Weimar democracy under Gustav Stresemann’s leadership. The DNVP and although monarchist authoritarian, had adjusted to democracy at that time and cooperated within in the system.
A sharp assessment of the mid 1920’s true political self of the Stahlhelm seems complex and difficult. The organisation’s official statements remained moderate, however internally, the situation was quite different. Local leaders and the ordinary members stood no longer on the basis of the Republic. The Weimar Republic had experienced the most stable phase within this short lived existence, however an apparently growing part of Stahlhelm members rejected democracy as a whole. Two Stahlhelm press quotes, deliberately chosen but somewhat representative, may shed some light on the true extent that the radicalisation within the Stahlhelm had already reached.
Ernst Jünger wrote in the Stahlhelm magazine Die Standarte: “The day the parliamentarian state will collapse under our clutches and we will proclaim a national dictatorship, will be our most sacred holiday”. An article published in Der Stahlhelm reads “We tell our aims with an equally honest and brutal frankness and these aims are highly dangerous for the Jewish-democratic-Marxist rabble, indeed. We want nothing less than they already possess, that is to say the power in the state”.
This radical rhetoric culminated in a public speech held by the regional leader of Brandenburg (Landesverbandsführer), Erhard von Morozowicz in Fürstenwalde on the 1st September 1928 and better known as the Fürstenwalde Hate Declaration (Fürstenwalder Haßerklärung). “We hate this concept of the state because it denies us the prospect of liberating our enslaved fatherland and the German people of the made up war guilt, winning new Lebensraum in the east and to make the German people free again...”. Stresemann, chairman of the DVP, minister of foreign affairs and Nobel peace prize laureate, realised that future cooperation with the Stahlhelm was futile and impossible. A month later, the DVP’s Reichstag delegation declared that membership within the Stahlhelm would be no longer compatible with membership within the delegation. The DVP quickly loosened ties to the Stahlhelm and this development proved crucial for the Stahlhelm, which now became increasingly dependent on the DNVP.
The press magnate Alfred Hugenberg had been elected chairman of the DNVP and his aim was to transform the DNVP from a socially heterogeneous reservoir of (Protestant) Christian, national conservative attitudes into a strong bloc of fundamental “national opposition”. The first step taken to this goal was the creation of the National Committee for the German Referendum against the Young Plan [Reichsausschuß für das deutsche Volksbegehren gegen den Young Plan], which should include all major parties and organisations of the far right. Seldte, though willing to rally against the Young-Plan, preferred an independent campaign, however Hugenberg out manoeuvred him and the Stahlhelm eventually became a firm member of “National Opposition”, closely attached to the DNVP. Seldte had difficulties controlling his organisation and increasingly lost much of his political independence. As the DNVP cooperated with the (still small) NSDAP against the Young Plan, so did the Stahlhelm.
The referendum however failed and Hugenberg was far from reaching his goal. Hugenberg’s new project was the creation of the Harzburger Front as an alliance of DNVP, NSDAP and Stahlhelm. On the 11th October 1931, they held a mass rally in Bad Harzburg which would mark the starting point of a major offensive to oust the Brüning government from power. There was however another rift when the DNVP refused to support Hitler in running for the presidency in 1932.
It was not until January 1933 when finally Franz von Papen forged a DNVP/NSDAP coalition that took over power on the 30th January. The Stahlhelm was integrated into this coalition with Seldte being named Labour Minister. Though the Stahlhelm leader now held a most influential position, it quickly turned out that the organisation was in fact facing the most miserable situation ever. As Hitler overpowered his conservative would be masters and initiated the process of the Gleichschaltung, soon the SA’s right wing paramilitary rivals were targeted, too. The Wehrwolf was absorbed into the SA and its leader Fritz Kloppe being made an SA Standartenführer. The Jungdeutscher Orden which continued to criticise the Nazis was prohibited and dissolved. The situation of the Stahlhelm seemed much better because of size and their leader’s position as a member in Hitler’s cabinet. Once the other Combat Leagues had been eliminated, increasing pressure was put on Seldte who joined the NSDAP in late April. His situation did not improve and Seldte subsequently offered to resign, however Hitler rejected the offer. Seldte was made an SA Obergruppenführer in August and three months later, the Stahlhelm was subordinated to the SA and after two years of a miserable shadow existence, formally dissolved in 1935.
Will respond toward the Land-Sturm later.
A past thread:-
I really wish that I was able to post more on this interesting (Land-Sturm 1924)and "final pattern "Stahlhelmbund buckle as possibly being, a commemorative edition.
I think that the Landsturm had their origins from the early part of the nineteenth century, as a territorial or reserve military force that was only called upon during times of war.
The Stahlhelmbund underwent a radical reorganisation in 1924 and I assume that all the individual veteran groups to include those associated with Land-Sturm and/or Langemarck, were fully absorbed.
The final pattern Stahlhelmbund buckle (3 types) was probably produced around 1926 and possibly, some manufacturer (obviously sanctioned by Der Stahlhof in Magdeburg), thought that there was a good potential sales market to the large number of former Land-Sturm veterans.
Just my opinion.
Well David, what a read and from that information I understand the relationship and time line between the what I call the "emerging" powers born from the end of WW1. For some reason I had it in my mind that the Stalhelm was a bunch of old veterans sat around talking about the war! Never in my life would I have guessed that it went to 1/2 million men! The dates are also interesting, I never would have thought they went on for that long! Though being absorbed in to the SA does not surpise me. From what I have reading from my new books, I get the impression that members of the Friekorps, Stahlhelm, Jungestahlhelm probably ended up as part of the SA and more than likely the SS. What a breeding ground, 15 years of political turmoil!!! wow! Well David, I wait with abated breath for your info on the Landsturm
Last edited by Ben Evans; 09-05-2011 at 02:33 PM.
got one more fore you this time the most important book for all political and youth organisations, there is everything inside and it is printed 1937 so the infos in this book are the true thing and a lot of pictures and uniforms or badges inside, as a printed book it is real expensive and not easy to find but this is a free download as well