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Sportkranz des Ringes der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung

Sports Wreath of the Association of the National Motoring and Aeronautics Movement

The Sports Wreath was instituted in the Weimar Republic by the Association of the National Motoring and Aeronautics Movement (Ring der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung, RKL), that was a civil sports society focusing at propagation of scientific research in spheres of motor industry and aviation as well as their comprehensive development and promotion amongst German youth in the postwar country. At the same time undercover activities of the Ring der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung were aimed at accumulation of various resources to find ways and means to restore German Air forces that were banned by the disastrous Treaty of Versailles. Thus, Section III, Article 198 of the Treaty stipulated that “the armed forces of Germany must not include any military or naval air forces” and “no dirigible shall be kept”. Great War ace Hermann Göring and Adolf Hühnlein, later NSKK leader were among the most prominent members of the Ring der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung.

The Sports Wreath of the Association of the National Motoring and Aeronautics Movement, the highest of the five badges instituted by that organization, was introduced in two classes, gold and silver.

To make the picture complete here’s the list of all the badges of the RKL in decreasing order:

1. Sports Wreath in gold and silver (Sportkranz in Gold / in Silber).

2. Sports eagle in gold and silver (Sportadler in Gold / in Silber).

3. Honor badge in gold, silver and bronze (Ehrennadel in Gold / in Silber / in Bronze).

4. Service eagle in bronze and black metal (Dienstadler in Bronze / in Schwarz).

5. Membership badge (Mitgliedsabzeichen).

Sportkranz was manufactured in the shape of Imperial Prussian flying badges, i.e. a vertical oval with an outside perimeter surrounded by a wide wreath. That was the very motive the name of the badge derived from. Its left side had laurel leaves symbolizing victory, while its right side had oak leaves standing for strength and hardiness. Both were joined together with a ribbon bow at the bottom thus signifying combination of those two qualities. Imperial crown topped the badge.

An eagle topped again with the Imperial crown was situated in the middle of the cut-out badge, flying at an angle of 45 degrees. It had stretched straight wings that were extended in a way to form stylized wings. Abbreviation of the Ring der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung executed in raised Gothic letters (“RKL”) was put on the eagle itself, “R” on the left wing, “K” on his chest, and “L” on his right wing.

Sportkranz der Ring der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung was attached to a tunic with a vertical pin and catching hook soldered to its reverse. No manufacturer’s mark is found at the reverse of the badge.

The Sports Wreath measuring 71х45 mm was made of thin pressed metal and had gilt or silver finish depending on its class. However, its reverse remained charcoal grey in both cases.

The badge was supposed to be worn on the left breast pocket of a tunic, but photos indicate that Hermann Göring preferred to wear it on the right pocket instead.

The Sports Wreath of the Association of the National Motoring and Aeronautics Movement was issued to prominent persons during the Weimar Republic era and early years of the Third Reich. Though activities of the Ring der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung went out slowly after NSDAP came to power in 1933, the badge was allowed to be worn publicly after that date.

Hermann Göring and Adolf Hühnlein were decorated with the highest classes of the Sports Wreath, i.e. gold ones. Julius Schreck (13.07.1898-16.05.1936), the founder of SS and private chauffeur of Adolf Hitler, was later decorated with the Sportkranz der Ring der Nationalen Kraftfahrt und Luftfahrtbewegung. Before that he was a holder of the badge of the previous class, i.e. Sportadler. 

Sportkranz