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19 November 2008 @ 11:13 am
A Short History of the German SS Uniform and its modification by Gackt  

*General's note - This discussion is particularly on the uniform,
and the connotations of the uniform when it is used as a costume in performance.

SS Uniform Germany circa 1942 -GACKT Rebirth Album 2001                     

The 'Nazi' Uniform, more specifically the uniform of the Schutzstaffel (SS) of the German Army of the Third Reich is one of the most recognized military uniforms in the world, it's impact doubtless from countless film depictions of the Second World War, in which the'Nazi' is cast as the villain, from Raiders of the Lost Ark to the basis of Darth Vader's armor in Star Wars.  

In Gackt's second album 'Rebirth' he wears a modification of the SS Uniform (six inch heels not regulation) He adopted this uniform because of it's connotations with evil in human form. In the promo film for the tour for this album, he played a short film where he was a solider brought back to life, who then turns upon his creators.

The SS was formed as the personal bodyguard of Adolph Hitler, and expanded after his rise to power to spread into the regular German Army.

 In 1932, Heinrich Himmler introduced the all-black SS uniform, which was designed by SS-Oberführer Prof. Dr. Lars Bonne Rasmussen and graphic designer Walter Heck.

While many uniforms were designed throughout the years for the SS,  the all black uniform is the most well known, being designed  to project authority and respect. (and subsequently, fear)  The Black white red color scheme was shared by the Nazi Party, 

In 1938 pale-grey uniforms began to replace the black in Germany, this was to help in blending the SS into the regular army,  The original black uniform was rarely worn in Germany due to the fact that to the populace, black signified army shirkers and political-party bullies.

The power of the uniform to still shock the public was proven when British Prince Harry wore an SS uniform to a costume party, causing such outrage he had to make a public apology.

**There is a new film coming out with Tom Cruise in the role of a 'good' German officer, one who leads the now famous 'plot to kill Hitler' and you will see he and his confederates dressed in grey, it will be interesting to see if the filmmakers  follow history correctly, or put the 'evil Nazi's' in their familar black uniforms.

POST EDIT - To go by the appearance of Gackt on MUSIC STATION, he's decided to make the uniforms for RR2 less indicative of the SS uniform, choosing plain black overcoats, without any insignia or armbands. This may be in keeping with the new theme of Gackt's character the Cyborg Proto awakening to his 'former self' and becoming ZERO.

Other RR2 images (specifically the manga art) put Proto-Zero in a decidedly SS uniform, so we will have to see what the new tour brings!


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karadin on November 20th, 2008 01:02 am (UTC)
yes, we've had it ingrained in our consciousness, that's for certain, I would not have the same reaction to say, Crusaders, or Vikings, and oh, Visigoths. Aesthetically they are pleasing, and they were designed to be so.

I am alarmed to see references to the Nazi's adopted in some forms of entertainment - for example, the pastiche of 'Triumph of the Will' the Nazi propaganda film in the Disney animated movie 'The Lion King' - blech (its why I won't watch it)

I thought maybe Gackt got the idea for the costume from the contemporary hit manga of the time 'Trinity Blood' because with the reddish hair, he's a dead-ringer for the character Dietrich, who is a Neo-Nazi.
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karadin on November 20th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
So Dietrich is Proto-Nazi? ;D Still hot, for all that.

I remember Gackt wearing the Japanese uniform, I wonder what the reaction in Japan is to that, I had heard that until recently, the Japanese did not venerate their kamikaze pilots, mainly because many felt that the last rush of throwing themselves at the enemy (the Battleship Yamoto for one) was a horrible waste, but of course, that's never the rank and file's fault.
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tanfouktanfouk on November 19th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I've never seen a photo of the GacktJob RR collar tabs large enough for me to figure out what the design was. Don't know why I fret over such things, but I suspect if Gackt wears it, it has meaning.
tanfouk: foxtanfouk on November 19th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, another note for anyone actually interested in this stuff: Much of Nazi military heraldry, such as the black/white/red/gold color scheme, was based on the battle flags of the Teutonic Knights. Oh yeah, I had ancestors in Koenigsberg - but I think they were more interested in fish than religion.
karadin on November 20th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
the standards and the eagles were based on those of the Roman Empire as well, guess the Reich knew where to nab their insignia from.
Rose.Duellist: Sephiroth - Ii daro?roseduellist on November 20th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
....Man oh man, if Gackt's not careful, he's gonna insult a LOT of people. o__o
karadin on November 20th, 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
He did this costume back in 2001, so its nothing new! and I look at it as costume, if someone chooses to be offended, well that's up to them.