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German Uniforms Of The Twentieth Century - Unif...

Until the late 18th century, diplomats (who usually belonged to the high nobility) wore their own court clothing to solemn occasions. Diplomatic uniforms were first introduced by France in 1781 and widely adopted by other European nations around 1800 in the course of administrative reforms undertaken as a response to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. In several countries, diplomatic uniforms were among the first civilian (as opposed to military) uniforms to be adopted. Apart from saving diplomats (who now increasingly were not independently wealthy) the expense of maintaining a full court wardrobe, diplomatic uniforms served to emphasize the importance of the office and to deemphasize the person of its holder.[1]

German Uniforms of the Twentieth Century - Unif...

Several non-European courts adopted European-style diplomatic uniforms during the 19th century. Notably, Japan during the Meiji Revolution introduced European uniforms instead of traditional clothing for all officials in 1872.[1] The Ottoman court was another non-European court that adopted the uniforms, which were introduced during the Tanzimat period. The final period during which the majority of diplomatic services retained formal uniforms for the accredited members of their overseas missions was that prior to World War II. A detailed study of contemporary uniforms, both military and civil, published in 1929[2] gives descriptions of the diplomatic uniforms still being worn by representatives of the majority of states then in existence. These included most European nations and a number of Latin American and Asian countries. It is however noted that several states which had only been created following World War I, had not adopted diplomatic uniforms and that others had discarded them. The uniforms described are nearly all of the traditional style of bicorne hat and tailcoat with braiding according to grade, from third secretaries to ambassadors. Consular staff were less likely to have authorised uniforms than their diplomatic colleagues and where consular uniforms existed they were generally of simpler style. As an example, the British Consular Service had silver braiding rather than the gold of diplomats.[3]

While most countries abandoned diplomatic uniforms at some time during the 20th century, several long-established foreign services have retained them for wear by senior staff on ceremonial occasions such as the formal presentation of credentials by ambassadors. A photo of the 2001 New Year's reception at the Vatican shows the ambassadors of Monaco, the Netherlands, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Belgium all clad in diplomatic uniform.[1] In recent decades, some ambassadors from Cambodia,[4] Denmark,[5] France,[6][7] and Italy[8] have also been seen in uniform at the presentation of their credentials.

Diplomatic uniforms generally followed 19th century court fashion and usually included a tailcoat with standing collar, breeches or pantaloons, a sword and a two-cornered plumed hat ("bicorne"). There were normally at least two versions, a dress uniform for ceremonial events and a simpler version for less formal occasions which nevertheless required the use of uniform dress.[1] Unlike their military and naval counterparts, diplomats did not wear uniforms for everyday purposes but substituted the appropriate civilian clothing.

Diplomatic uniforms were usually richly embroidered with gold similar to the uniforms of high court officials. Diplomatic rank was distinguished by the amount and quality of the embroidery. In contrast to military uniforms, which underwent rapid changes throughout the 19th and early 20th century, the diplomatic uniforms tended to keep their traditional design.[1] While the uniforms of the different foreign services generally shared the common features noted above, there were considerable national differences, though often of minor detail.

Mercenary or irregular fighters could also develop their own fashions, which set them apart from civilians, but were not really uniforms. The clothing of the German Landsknechte of the 16th century is an example of distinctive military fashion. Special units such as Zouaves developed non-standard uniforms to distinguish them from troops of the line.

The styles and decoration of military uniforms varied immensely with the status, image, and resources of the military throughout the ages. Uniform dress became the norm with the adoption of regimental systems, initially by the French army in the mid-17th century. Before 1600 a few German and Dutch regiments had worn red or yellow coats. From about 1626 onwards some Swedish infantry had been issued with standard coloured dress under Gustavus Adolphus (hence his "yellow" or "blue" regiments).[8] However, most levies of the 15th and 16th centuries wore civilian dress and regiments were dressed at the expense of their colonels in whatever style and colours the colonel preferred. Even Royal guards would sometimes only be issued with distinctive coloured or embroidered surcoats to wear over ordinary clothing. To help armies distinguish friend from foe, scarves, pieces of foliage, or other makeshift identification known as "field signs" would be worn,[9] (a practice still recognised under international humanitarian law and the laws of war as a "distinctive sign").[10] Field signs were easily removed or donned,[9] as in the example of John Smith, a squire on the Royalist side who at the Battle of Edgehill put on the orange scarf of the Parliamentarians and with no more elaborate disguise recaptured the royal standard from the Earl of Essex's own secretary.[11]

The ornamental peak of the military uniform was reached in the early 19th century in Western Europe. Sometimes the Napoleonic Wars are identified as being the acme of colourful and ornate uniforms, but actually the several decades of relative peace that followed were a time of even more decorative styles and embellishments. The Napoleonic soldier on campaign was likely to present a shabby and nondescript appearance as unsuitable peacetime dress quickly deteriorated or was replaced with whatever local substitutes were available.

Until later on in the century dyes were primitive and different batches of uniforms worn by the same unit might present differing shades, especially after exposure to rain and sun. The white uniforms popular amongst many armies through the 18th and early 19th centuries soiled easily and had to be pipeclayed to retain any semblance of cleanliness. Green as worn by Jäger and Rifle regiments proved particularly prone to fading until suitable chemical dyes were devised in the 1890s. British soldiers were known for their striking red clothing (hence the name "Redcoats"). This was actually a fairly dull shade of madder red until the general adoption of scarlet for tunics in the 1870s.

Until the middle of the 19th century only officers and warrant officers in the Royal Navy wore regulated uniforms. Through the 18th century to the Napoleonic Wars navy officers had a form of dress broadly resembling that of army officers, though in dark blue with white facings. In the early 19th century Royal Navy officers developed a more distinctive form of uniform comprising (in full dress uniform) a cocked hat, dark blue coatee with white collar and cuffs, dark blue or white trousers, or breeches.[22]Epaulettes and braiding were gold and varied according to rank. In a simplified form this dress (without the cocked hat) survives as the modern ceremonial dress for flag officers.Throughout this period sailors supplied or made their own clothing. Sailors developed traditional clothing suitable for their work: loose-fitting trousers with belts made of rope; tunics that slipped over the head, with arms to above the wrist so that the cloth would not foul in ropes passing through a cleat or pulley. For cold weather, a jumper was knitted from yarn or wool. For wet weather, old sail cloth was made into a coat (with hat or attached hood) that was waterproofed with tallow or fat. In these days, the officers would designate certain afternoons to "make and mend" (clothing). A sailor with little clothing to make or mend used this time as "time off".In January 1857 the decision was taken to issue complete uniforms to petty officers and seamen.[23]This included features which can still be recognised in the Class I uniform of ratings in the modern Royal Navy - notably the wide blue collar with white tapes, a black neckerchief, white lanyard and blue or white jumper. The flared "bell bottom" trousers disappeared after the Second World War.Because of the global dominance of the Royal Navy from Trafalgar to the Second World War RN uniforms became the model for virtually all other navies. While certain distinctive features emerged - such as the red pompon worn on the crown of the French sailor's cap, the open fronted jacket of the German Navy or the white round cap of the U.S. Navy - the overall pattern remained standard until the development of specialist working or protective rigs during the Second World War.

Until 1914 the majority of armies still provided colourful dress uniforms for all ranks,[24][25] at least for parade and off-duty wear. These often retained distinctive features from the past. Most Russian troops, for example, wore the very dark green introduced by Peter the Great in 1700. German infantry generally wore the dark "Prussian blue" of the previous two centuries. This and other features of the historic Prussian Army uniform were generally adopted by the other German States as they fell under Prussian influence before and after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. Bavarians, however, continued to wear light blue and Saxon regiments retained a number of distinctions after the establishment of the German Empire (1871).[26] Two regiments of the Prussian Guard and one of the Russian were still issued with the brass mitre caps of the 18th-century grenadier. The British infantry retained their scarlet tunics for parade and "walking out" wear, while the bulk of French regiments wore red trousers with dark or light blue tunics. The infantry of the Austro-Hungarian Empire discarded their historic white tunics in 1868 in favour of dark blue. However, the extremely large number of colours appearing on collars, cuffs, and shoulder straps to distinguish the various regiments were retained.[27] There were for example ten shades of red, ranging from cherry red to pink.[28] The Swedish Army had favoured dark blue with yellow facings since the beginning of the 18th century.[29][30] There was infinite variety, even within smaller armies, between regiments, branches or ranks and the subject is a complex one.[31] 041b061a72

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