Below is just a rough draft of something I was going to post on my site regarding the institution of RZM marking/stamping requirements. The whole reason I'm putting it up here is to see whether there are significant problems with the assertions made. Please say what you will as I need feedback on whether it is correct and I'm willing to listen to anything. I would rather subject myself to scrutiny and be corrected than post incorrect information.
The actual history of the Reichszeugmeisterei is somewhat murky (if anyone knows of a decent work devoted to the RZM I would greatly appreciate an email about it). From what I have read on the web an organization overseeing the production of party items began in 1929 (but it was not called the National Material Control Office as the NSDAP was not in power). Hitler came to power in January of 1933 and obtained a virtual dictatorship in March of 1933 with the passage of the Enabling Act. I think it is safe to say that the RZM was not in existence (or at least not functioning as it did in its later capacity) prior to that March 1933 date.
So when did the RZM take control and begin RZM stamping/marking requirements? This is not an easy question to answer and may depend on the type of item being produced. What I do know is that it was not until December of 1934 that the German government banned the production of NSDAP items without the expressed permission of the government. Specifically, (forgive the loose translation) the "Law Against Attacks on the State and Party and for the Protection of Party Uniforms" was enacted on December 20, 1934. Article 1, Section 5, Paragraph 1 of this statute states (again, a loose translation):
"anyone who manufactures official party uniforms, uniform parts, fabrics, flags or badges of the NSDAP or its organizations without permission of the Treasury Department, including storing, selling or trafficking in these items, is guilty of a crime punishable by up to two years in prison. As to which uniform parts and fabrics require permission will be determined by the State Treasurer and the Minister of Economics and a proclamation of these items will be issued by the Reich."
This statute seems to say that you cannot manufacturer badges (the area I am primarily concerned with) without permission, but that there may be exceptions as to uniform parts and fabrics. Conspicuously absent is any mention of the RZM or RZM stamping/marking requirements. This appears to be a blanket statute commencing the requirement of government permission before manufacturing NSDAP items and related organizational items. It strongly implies that there were manufacturers, not authorized by the NSDAP, producing party items prior to December of 1934. I suspect this was quite a profitable area given the way Germany was going, and the passage of this law meant that all production of party items fell under government control. The conspicuous absence of any mention of the RZM implies that the RZM was not necessarily functioning in a capacity to oversee production at this point.
From the research I have done (which is by no means extensive or complete), the situation becomes somewhat clearer in 1935. Specifically, on January 16, 1935, another law is passed named the "Proclamation of Article 1, Section 5 of the Law Against Attacks on the State and Party and for the Protection of Party Uniforms". In other words, this is the proclamation regarding uniform parts and fabrics referred to in the prior statute.
The uniform parts and fabrics, for which permission was required, are as follows (this is an appalling translation and intended to present the gist of what is being said as I am primarily concerned with just the crucial points. Look to the original document if you are interested in individual items):
I . Uniform parts
1. Clothing articles for the political organization of the NSDAP, for SA and SA navy, for the SS, for the National Socialist force driving corps, for the Hitler Youth with the German young people, the federation of German girls and the Jungmaedeln as well as for the German work front:
Long brown shirts,
Short service shirts with side hooks,
Caps of the political organization,
SA service caps,
SA field caps,
Caps of the SA navy,
SS service caps (old and new form),
Caps of the National Socialist force driving corps,
Caps of the Hitler Youth,
Caps of the German young people,
Caps of the federation German girl,
Caps of the German work front.
2. Other uniform parts:
Leibriemen with a mindestbreite of 45 millimeters,
Crash helmets for the National Socialist force driving corps,
Dienstdolche of the SA and SS,
Travel measurer for the Hitler Youth and the German young people,
Pieces of shoulder,
Schulterknoepfe for the Hitler Youth,
Dead head badge of the SS,
Badge for flier towers,
Badge for pioneer towers,
Badge for rider towers,
Badge for marine towers,
Badge for realigning towers,
Badge for training storms,
Badge of rank for political ladder,
Badge of rank for SA, SS and for leaders of the Hitler Youth and the German young people,
Badge for dentists,
Badge for administrative leaders,
Badge for pharmacists,
Badge for physicians,
Badge for veterinarians,
Metal buttons with the sovereignty badge of the NSDAP,
Stone nut buttons for the German work front,
Stone nut buttons for the Hitler Youth and the German young people,
B) The following articles of equipment, if they are intended for the NSDAP or their organizations:
Spare parts to the aforementioned articles.
All uniform parts specified must visibly carry the mark of the Reichszeugmeisterei of the NSDAP. If the protection character is not marked or is not stamped, an identification tag with the mark is to be attached. Permission for the use of the mark of the Reichszeugmeisterei of the NSDAP is given to manufacturers by the Treasury Department of the NSDAP according to the article 1 § 5 .
The identification tags with RZM mark are to be referred of the Reichszeugmeisterei of the NSDAP in Munich.
All fabric, which is dyed after the farbkarte of the Reichszeugmeisterei of the NSDAP. The farbkarte can be referred to the Reichszeugmeisterei of the NSDAP, Munich 2 SW, Schwanthaler road 53/55. To party-official pieces of clothing may be converted only such fabric, which the protection character or the Plaettestempel of the Reichszeugmeisterei of the NSDAP carries. Permission for the use of the protection character or the Plaettestempels is given to the manufacturers by the realm treasurer of the NSDAP with permission according to the article 1 § 5. The Plaettestempel is to be referred of the Reichszeugmeisterei of the NSDAP in Munich.
Here we see mention of the RZM and RZM stamping/marking requirements. One can therefore assume that the RZM was up and running (in what capacity compared to its later self, I cannot say) at least on January 16, 1935. In fact, it seems logical that getting the RZM up and running was a response by the Treasury Department to the previous law. The annoying part of this statute is that it appears to consider some items outside of the area of uniform parts and fabrics. It is therefore difficult to determine when items initially fell under RZM control. It is my understanding that a pretty heavy set of RZM regulations was issued in 1935, but I am not in possession of a copy these regs. I do have a copy of the 1936 RZM regulations and it would be fascinating to see how the regulations evolved from the previous year.
So the answer to the question of when RZM stamps/marking requirements went into effect is probably early 1935. The number and types of items that were covered probably increased from that point. I suspect that the initial requirements covered a significant part of the total items that were later subject to RZM control. I have never seen mention of RZM regulations prior to 1935 and I would suggest that a cut off point to items bearing RZM stamps/markings may occur in January of 1935. (I would be remiss in not mentioning an alternate scenario. I have no evidence of this, but it seems possible that the RZM was issuing requirements prior to 1935, but just to manufacturers with which the NSDAP was directly contracting. I believe I should mention the possibility of this scenario as it may be inappropriate to totally rule out RZM requirements prior to 1935.)
I am very surprised that after taking power it took the NSDAP almost two years to get around to legislating this area. I think the only plausible explanation for this behavior is that a sufficient entity to oversee all manufacturing of party items simply didn't exist. I have no doubt that the NSDAP always had requirements of manufacturers with which they were specifically contracting prior to 1935, but I have doubts that the RZM (as we know it today) was the administrative authority overseeing that production. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has information that the RZM was actually administering the production of any items prior to 1935. Please keep in mind that this is my best guess based on the information outlined above and I have tried to stick to the objective data presented. If anyone has any information, either in support of or contradicting this, I would love to hear it.
The full text of the original docs can be found here:
I'll post again with an example of an RZM 1936 reg page as this post is way too long already.
P.S. Forgive the spelling mistakes.www.nsdapbadges.com