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Hiking with Hitler: The Walking Stick Badges of the Third Reich
Paperback - English

This is the first book written on the miniature art of the walking stick badge (Stocknagel). The origins of these souvenirs stretch back to medieval pilgrimages in Germany, when hiking had expressed piety, patriotism and freedom. After Adolf Hitler's rise to power in 1933, however, leisure activities were subverted by the totalitarian dictatorship. The simple pleasures of sauntering along the street, strolling through the countryside or rambling in the hills - were swept up in the Nazi Party's doctrine of violence and racial hatred. Under the Third Reich, the walking stick became a weapon of terror. Walking stick badges glorified the F hrer and, during the Second World War, commemorated the 'Greater German Empire.' In this lavishly illustrated study, the author weaves together history, politics, art, tourism and hiking to provide the definitive Collector's Guide to these unusual mementos from the Nazi era. In so doing, this book firmly establishes 'Stocknagology', the study of walking stick badges, as a fascinating hobby in its own right. 'Hiking with Hitler' has three aims. First, it steps out at a quick pace by suggesting that walking is not just a functional activity. It can also be a political act, reflected by politics taking much of its imagery - in steps, footing, pace and direction - from walking. Indeed a walk resembles political ambition: setting off in the spirit of high ideals or foolhardy adventure, early hopes get blunted by wrong turns and boggy ground, the struggle seems up an interminably winding hill. Then suddenly the effort is rewarded by the elation of success in finally reaching a long cherished destination, or confronts the despondency of fog engulfing the peak. Hiking as a metaphor for political struggle was a theme in the Third Reich. In the upheavals triggered in Germany by World War I, the walking stick became a weapon of political violence and so ceased to be a symbol of gentility (one reason for its rapid decline as a social status symbol, rather than simply a physical aid for mobility, after the World War II). The second objective is to provide the collector with a leisurely ramble through the walking stick badges produced during the Third Reich (1933-1945). This detailed guide outlines their intrinsic interest and current commercial value (as of 2017), according to rarity and historical importance. And thirdly, 'Nazi nagels' are presented in the broader context of 'Stocknagology.' This is the study of walking stick badges ('Stockn gel' in German). It links history and hiking, placing walking stick badges in the political, social and economic context of their time. It examines the significance of walking and tourism not only in the leisure activity of individual walkers, but also in the collective experience of reinterpreting the political myths about the significance of the sites they visit. The choice of destination and the fantasies of leisure crudely or subtly reinforce political messages and imaginary identities. This is especially significant under a totalitarian regime where the distinctions between private life, work, and politics disappear. Stockn gel may, at first sight, seem a rather trivial form of propaganda, insignificant in the success of the Nazi Party, marginal in the F hrer-cult around Adolf Hitler as the saviour of the German nation. Stockn gel, however, deepen our understanding of how state-building happens literally step by step when hiking and tourism are politicised. Walking stick badges from the Nazi period are shown by this book to be silent witnesses to how a dictatorship can subject leisure to political ends.

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Publication Date
27.99cm x 21.59cm x 2.08cm
Age Group
NA to NA
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