Under The Thumb

Below, a Krote of the 501st Independent Heavy Battle Car Battalion. The battalion insignia depicts a 'Zylinderhut' or 'Top Hat' being crushed under thumb.

"One of the 16 Krote's for the 501st Independent Heavy Tank Battalion that was able to handle the work until the critical modifications for the Neuspotter were completed in September 2885. The paint was very basic with green two-toned Splinter camouflage that was never repainted so it was damaged and faded."

The emblem was the staffel insignia of 7./JG 2.

"at its peak in popularity a reaction developed against the top hat, with the middle classes adopting bowler hats and soft felt hats such as fedoras, which were more convenient for city life, as well as being suitable for mass production. In comparison, a top hat needed to be handmade by a skilled hatter, with few young people willing to take up what was obviously a dying trade. The top hat became associated with the upper class, becoming a target for satirists and social critics. It was particularly used as a symbol of capitalism in cartoons in socialist and communist media, long after the headgear had been abandoned by those satirised.It was a part of the dress of Uncle Sam and used as a symbol of US monopoly power. By the end of World War I it had become a rarity in everyday life, though it continued to be worn daily for formal wear, such as in London various positions in the Bank of England and City stockbroking, or boys at public schools."

While the Zylinderhut motif may have been an attack on the U.S. personified as 'Uncle Sam' who's top hat had come to represent capitalism and a new enemy to the Luftwaffe, it may also have been a defiant stance against the British aristocracy, and in particular the Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

Caricature of Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister at the outbreak of the Second World War wearing a top hat. Chamberlain was gravely concerned about the disastrous effects of leading Britain into another major European conflagration. He became the architect of the ‘appeasement' policy, attempting to avoid war.
Discredited by the failure of his policies and by his belief that Herr Hitler was a man of honour and integrity, Chamberlain was forced to resign in May 1940. He died in the November of the same year.

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