Berets are generally associated with French boys. We have, however, noted some German boys wearing berets. We have realtively limited information here. We suspect that the popularity of berets may have varied regionally in Germany. We believe that they were most popular in the Rhineland close to France. While not in the rest of Germany, they were worn. The association with French boys was so string that when the NAZIs seized control of Alscae-Loraine in 1940, they prohibited the wearing of berets. That was just in Alsace-Loraine. The beret was not prohibited in the rest of the Reich. There were few boys there, however, that apparently wanted to wear berets, especially after the NAZIs seized power and promoted xenephobic natinalism and Folk culture. Even so we have occasionally see German boys wearing berets even during the NAZI era, but mostly younger boys. We have little chronological information, but have begun to collect some information.
Berets are generally associated with French boys. They were also worn in Belgium and Spain. We have, however, also noted some German boys wearing berets. We have realtively limited information here. We get the impression that berets were mostly worn by boys in areas close to France such as the Rhineland or by younger boys with fashion conscious mothers. We believe this was rather like America where the beret was seen as fashionable. After Wotld war II, the beret was used by some youth groups, but before the War it was one of many alternatives. We normjally see them bring wiorn with suits. We see somewhat older German boys wearing berets than in America, but still mostly pre-teen boys. We see some boys wearing them. We are not yet sure about girls. We notice what appear to be significan chronological changes in the popularity of berets. After the War, the bertet was not very populr, except as part of youth grouop uniforms.
We suspect that the popularity of berets may have varied regionally in Germany. We believe that they were most popular in the Rhineland, close to France. We have noted, however, snapshots f Germany boys wearing beret throughout the coutry. Formal portraits are less common. The NAZIs when they seized Alsace-Loraine in World War II baned the beret as part of a campaign to wipe out French influence. This included banning the French language. Interestingly, the NAZIs did not ban the beret in the Reich proper, only in Alsace-Loraine. We do not yet, however, have any detailed regional information on the wearing of berets in Germany. Hopefully our German readers will provide us some insight.
The association with French boys was so string that when the NAZIs seized control of Alscae-Loraine in 1940, they prohibited the wearing of berets. That was just in Alsace-Loraine. The beret was not prohibited in the rest of the Reich. There were few boys there, however, that apparently wanted to wear berets, especially after the NAZIs seized power and promoted xenephobic natinalism and Folk culture. Even so we have occasionally see German boys wearing berets even during the NAZI era, but mostly younger boys.
We have little chronological information, but have begun to collect some information. Hopefully this will allow us to develop some insights on chronolgical trends. We have noted several images of boys wearing berets in the 1920s and early 1930s. One example is a Berlin school photograph which looks to have been taken about 1930. They declined in popularity during the NAZI era. We have, however, noted them in the immediate post-World War II era. We note photographs of German boys wearing berets in the 1940s (figure 1), but they are not common. A French reader writes, "The beret was not common in either Austria or Germany. After the World War II, German families were so desperate that many children had to make do with clothing donated from other countries. Probably is the case about this poor boy shows on the image." Perhaps, but the boy seen here, although not elegantly dressed, does not look all that poor to HBC. He has warm clothes, study shoes, and does not look poorly fed. [HBC note: Our French reader is certainly correct here that after the War Germany was devestated. Parents had great difficulty feeding and clothing their families. Ar this time, however, we have little information on assistance programs for Germany. One might have assumed a beret may have come from France, but did the the French provide such assistance to the Germans so soon after the War. Here we do not know, but is an interesting question. Such assistance is more likely to have come from America. Now American boys in the 1940s, except for very little ones did not wear berets, but American girls did wear them.] Also we note some images of German boys even in the 1950s, when the economic recovery was well under way, wearing berets. We note a few other images of German boys wearing berets during the 1950s. There is a photograph for example, a boy in the GFR (West Germany) rural village wearing a beret in 1955. Berets are no longer worn by German boys, except perhaps some Scout groups. A factor here may be the adoption of the beret as part of the Scout movement which was reestablished in Germany in the 1940s. We also note boys in the DDR (East Germany) wearing berets in the 1950s. One pjotograph shows a mother with her children in a East Berlin shoe store. We no longer by the 1960s notice German boys wearing berets, except for Scouts.
We are not sure yet about the colors of the berets German boys wore. We have just begun to collect some information. A problem here is that almost all of our photographs are black and white. Agfa introduced color photography in German during the inter-Wat period, but it was not generally available to the German public. And berets were most popular in Germany during the early 20h century. Of course we can spot white berets fairly easy. We are not entirely sure if some children might have worn light colors. We don't think many boys did. Some younger boys wore white berets. Most school-age boys wore dark berets. Here we are not sure what the dark colors were. We suspect that they were mostly dark blue and black, but we are not entirely sure about this. The boy here wears a dark beret (figure 1). I'm not sure if it was black or dark blue. We also notice boys wearing white berets. A good example is German brothers in 1933.
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