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So I have always been intrigued by hate belts. I recall spotting one in a dealer's booth about thirty years ago. I hesitated and when I went back, the dealer has ripped it apart to sell the pieces. The photo below shows one being worn by a rather self-assured soldier. 

My question is what do we really know about how they were assembled, who used them and what were the unofficial rules about making and wearing them?



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I'll wade in here!  [Lots of opinions, a few of them informed. :)]

The term 'hate belt' is, I firmly believe, the invention of militria dealers and collectors.  Before the Great War, regiments of the British Army served literally all over the world and it was not uncommon, for example, to find 3, 4 or even 5 British units sharing 'the lines' in a large Indian cantonment.  This occasionally led to inter-regimental riots on a beery night, but also to collecting badges or buttons of units with whom one had been stationed.  These were displayed on a belt, strictly unoffical, which one might wear in 'walking out' kit.  If one could get it past an inspecting sergeant!

I am equally convinced that the Great War 'hate belts' were simply a development of this: Allied troops collected buttons and badges from nearby [friendly] units, bought them from German POWs for a cigarette or two and, occasionally, took them from the uniforms of men they had killed.  Most of the belts contain a mixture of British/Allied insignia AND German samples, which I would argue supports my thesis.  Surely a real 'hate' belt would have only the insignia of fallen foes?  

I am quite interested in the Great War and see these belts advertised but have yet to find an example with any real provenance, even something as simple as 'Gran'fer says he took these buttons from dead Huns.'  Because they are unoffical, they don't figure in the histories and no one I know has come up with any references in letters or diaries. There are examples from WWII, and at least one from WWI, of blankets with cloth insignia sewn to them.  The Great war example was put together by a Nursing Sister and has, I think, two German patches.  All represent the units of men she nursed.

My tuppence worht and more! ;)


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Peter, your opinion is worth at least a gold tuppence; right on target. This is a fantasy term created by not only dealers but family members of the soldier well after he, or she, had gone to Valhalla.  It's right up there with Ninja swords and unicorn horns. 

Of course that discounts that the original owner simply had a hate on for everyone regardless of national affiliation. 

They are interesting in that it shows what one soldier thought important and relevant and took the time to collect them. Ah, collectors "Bless 'em all, the long the short and the tall".




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thanks everyone. Militaria is not the only realm of collecting where dealer-speak has created terms that supplanted what was the original name. Here in the states, antique furniture dealers created the term "highboy" to describe a chest on frame (usually on high feet). In the 18th century, when most were made, the term never existed. They were usually described as a "high case of drawers"  but that does not sound nearly as catchy as a highboy so the new name stuck.


I have seen a number of them over the years and even a quick check of eBay reveals quite a few for sale albeit more seem to be in Europe that in the states but that may be a quirk of what is being listed right now. 


I agree the term hate belt is misleading as most of the ones that  I have seen have British badges. So my question beyond whether we know much about them in period is I have seen ones made up totally of German badges. So, did soldiers from the Central Powers make up these commemorative belts?


Thanks all



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