History 21/01/20 “Dead head”: one SS division took the emblem

For many people after the Second World war the symbol of the “Dead head” is associated exclusively with the Nazis, but in fact the German Nazis did not invent anything, but simply borrowed it. And they took him, not the pirates, as it may seem. Many believe that the pirates of the sea walked under the black flag with a skull and crossed bones, but it is a traditional error that has come from adventure novels and movies. No pirate flag did not exist, and most often pirates, corsairs and other pirates used the black, and red. As for the black uniform and emblem in the form of “Dead heads”, it is characterized by the attributes of the German army, has a long history. Although “Dead head” is usually perceived as a symbol of death, its original meaning just the opposite — a symbol of immortality.

for the First time, military units in black uniforms and wearing “Dead head” on the hats appeared in the army of the Prussian king Frederick the Great. His Nazis are revered more than others. Among the first hussar regiments were the one formed by Wilhelm Sebastian von Belling. Later it was named the 8th hussars. Hussars of Belling wore black uniforms embroidered with silver. High headdress called merliton was decorated with a silver skull and crossbones. The regiment bore the informal name Totenkopfhusaren, ie “death’s head hussars” or the “black hussars”. Among other regiments of the Prussian army he was mentioned more often than others — if you look at the numerous paintings of battles of the Seven years war, most often on them there is a “black hussars”. It was in this regiment began service the future field Marshal Blucher, who many portraits are drawn in black uniform.

After Prussia was defeated in the war with Napoleon in 1807 thdu, the Duke of Brunswick resigned and created a separate corps to continue the fight. This corps consisted of several infantry and cavalry regiments. All regiments wore black uniforms and the emblem of “Dead heads” on their hats, the motto of the soldiers was: “Victory or death!”. They were called “Brunswick black corps” or “the Black Legion”. The “black corps” fought in the British army in the Iberian Peninsula, participated in the battle of Waterloo.

After the war with Napoleon the “Black body” is partially collapsed, the part was included in the Prussian army. Of all the regiments of the Prussian army the heir of the “Black Legion” was only the 17th Brunswick hussar regiment. The regiment remained in the German army before the First World war, wore black uniforms with red trim and the emblem of “Dead heads”.

But he was not the only one in the German army. Black uniforms from hussar Berling inherited the 1st Leib-hussar regiment. The title already it is clear that this regiment was special. The fact that in the Prussian and then the German army, there were several “internal armies”: the Bavarian, the Saxon, Brunswick, with its trappings, and sometimes (as in Bavarian) even with his staff. But some selected parts were German and they were representatives of all the States of the German Empire. These were and the life hussar regiment. Later it was divided into two regiments: the 1st Leib-hussar No1 and 1st Leib-hussar No2. Both regiments wore uniforms of black color, which was different finish. In the first regiment of it was red, the second white (silver). All headdresses were a sign of “Dead heads”.

After Germany’s defeat in World war I, its army ceased to exist. But the emblem of “Dead heads” has not disappeared, it remained in the symbolism of the troops who fought against the uprising of “Spartak”. He writes about this, in particular, the German historian H. A. Winkler in his book “Weimar 1918-1933: history of the first German democracy.” “Dead head” then it became symbols of the fight against communisTami and a few years later was inherited by the SS.

the Black shape of the first SS in some detail was borrowed from the hussars. Now many people know that our usual movies black uniforms of the Waffen SS is not true, but this applies only to the period of the Second World war. But in the initial stage of its existence, the SS men wore black uniforms that is abandoned only at the beginning of the Second World war. By the way, the Soviet myth that the SS was a black shape, is explained very simply. During the active contacts of the Soviet Union and Germany in the 1930s of the SS uniforms were black, and during the war, no one not particularly versed in such details. I should add that the character “death’s head” before it became associated with Nazi war criminals, has been widely used in different countries as a symbol of fearlessness.

In the Russian army had their own “black hussars”. It was the Alexandrian hussar regiment, wearing uniforms of black and “Dead head” on the shako, although this sign is not present in all images of the regimental uniforms. During the First World war, the sign was used in percussion parts, such as the Kornilov regiment and the women’s battalion.

the Emblem moved to many parts of the White army, where it was considered a symbol of rebirth. “Dead head” was used by the KGB, as well as in Makhno’s army. In the history of the same emblem is found in France, England, Italy, and everywhere it was the character or prowess, or of immortality, or rebirth. The extensive use of “Dead heads” put an end to the Nuremberg trials, since no one else wanted to use the symbols associated with the Nazis.

Cyril Shishkin

© Russian Seven

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