Inspiring both fear and loyalty, these symbols united the German people as never before behind the enormous war effort that was to consume their nation. German Insignia of World War II thus also looks at the organizations, symbols, and artifacts that became synonymous with the Third Reich.
One of the most effective methods used to galvanize the nation was the ordering of civilians into military-style organizations. At the height of the Third Reich it seemed that every civilian was in uniform. The most famous of all these organizations, the Hitler Youth, grew with the Nazi party from tiny beginnings in 1926 to become the dominant organization for German children and teenagers. Edged weapons were omnipresent in the Third Reich. Knives, daggers, swords, hewers, and bayonets were part of the dress uniform of virtually every organization in the Nazi State, from the armed services to the Hitler Youth.
The German eagle, cast in stone or bronze, vies with the swastika as the most potent symbol of the Third Reich. On uniforms, equipment, weapons, documents, coinage, -in fact, on almost every artifact produced during the years of the Third Reich--either the swastika or eagle (frequently both) was stamped, printed, painted, or engraved.
Art and artifacts in the Nazi state were strictly controlled. Hitler was the ultimate arbiter of what was acceptable, and his tastes ran strongly in the direction of the realistic and heroic. Sculpture was perhaps the most characteristic of all Nazi arts, favoring works on a monumental scale.