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"Did Germans Color Their Hair More In East Germany (GDR)?" Topic

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Cacique Caribe Inactive Member15 Jun 2018 4:31 p.m. PST

I've been browsing online through lots of old photos (B&W and color) of German troops from WW2 but specially after, during the Cold War, and I started noticing a pattern on something you'll probably think is silly … hair color in the DDR (GDR).

Did East German soldiers and officers dye their hair more than their counterparts in the West?

I kept seeing lots of gray hair or brownish-gray mix in the West, but was seeing richer dark hair among NVA, even among older ones with whom one would expect some lightening.

A) Was coloring of hair that prevalent in East Germany's military?

B) If so, did they use actual hair dye? Or did they use shoe polish or some other weird substitute?

C) Or did they discover the fountain of youth, for their hair and scalp at least?

D) Was it done mostly out of good old personal vanity, or was it part of some visual propaganda thing?

E) Or am I imagining something that no one else sees because it really isn't there in the first place?

PS. In case you're wondering, I would never consider dyeing my hair, and I've had grays since I was 17. At 52 I'm mostly gray now. Oops, 53 now.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2018 5:16 p.m. PST

E. You're a well known lunatic conspiracy theorist. grin

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2018 6:02 p.m. PST

Probably a lot of Eastern European peoples mixed into the military. Plus, remember comrade stalin had jet black hair. So maybe it was deemed wise(and safer) to have black hair.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member15 Jun 2018 6:03 p.m. PST

Perhaps it was because everybody was just "dyeing" to get out of East Germany. As you may remember they had to put up a wall.

But then again, that Winston Smith may well be on to something!!! Ha-Ha

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2018 6:03 p.m. PST

Winston, never let a good conspiracy theaory go to waste.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2018 6:49 p.m. PST

Shhhh. Quiet.
I'm listening to Emmylou sing "Pancho and Lefty".

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member15 Jun 2018 9:13 p.m. PST

So, you don't think that, perhaps – just perhaps – the "hair dye" was really just the brainwashing leaking up to the surface, right through the scalp?

@StoneMtn: "Probably a lot of Eastern European peoples mixed into the military"
Wow, you might be on to something there! Is that like some sort of "pineapple upside down cake" effect?

@Zone: "Perhaps it was because everybody was just ‘dyeing' to get out of East Germany. As you may remember they had to put up a wall"

LOL. Good one. But. who knows, the official story might one day become that the wall was there to protect them from the evil capitalists. :)


skinkmasterreturns16 Jun 2018 2:21 a.m. PST

I was watching an East German military parade from 1989 on YouTube just the other day,and it seemed many of the band members were graying,so I thought just the opposite.

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2018 2:28 a.m. PST

CC may be on to something…..
Evidently, the Chinese leadership 'dare to die':

How ridiculous! Could you picture the leader of any other nation submitting to the dye bottle?

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member16 Jun 2018 3:02 a.m. PST


That was one of the few exceptions I noticed.


zoneofcontrol Inactive Member16 Jun 2018 5:39 a.m. PST

We went through this in the past few years in our media here in the US. There was a lot of gawd-aweful jet black hair in the media and entertainment industries. Both young and old. It was a fad even worse than the Leisure Suit, white belt and white shoes of the 70s.

Starfury Rider16 Jun 2018 8:09 a.m. PST

The Germans spent a great deal of energy in developing advanced hair care products in the dyeing months of WW2. While there is no physical or documentary evidence to support it, it is certain that they built up massive stockpiles of these for use against the Red(head) Army, which passed into possession of the East German forces after the conflict.

The US and British in particular were blonde to the effect these weapons could have had on their own men, plagued by split ends and tangling after years of inadequate grooming. The only thing the West could have responded with was Brylcreem, of which they had massive stocks, but it was clearly outclassed by what the Germans had produced with nothing but chicken stock and a small amount of weapons grade liquorice in a garden shed just outside of Baden-Wurtemburg in January 1945.

Had the Germans deployed this against the Allies in the West, it could have caused untold damage. This threat was totally dismissed by General Garnier in typical Allied fashion in his post-war book "Styling the strands of Victory" with his line (prefixed by something to do with quality, quantity, or both, or neither); "There were rumours the Jerries had some 'wunder stuff' that could make a 60 year old Volksturm feel like he was 47 again, but we didn't pay it any heed. After all, for every one bottle of the glop the Germans could produce, we could wheel out a full barrel of Brylcreem. Sure, may be it wasn't as good, but we actually had it, and knew what it could do in the hands of the average GI."

Rumours abound, attributed to non-existent people who are experts in both the Cold War era and hair grooming, that the GDR attempted to resurrect the project, to put them on an equal footing with the Reds in the Warsaw Pact. Trouble was, there was a major shortage of liquorice behind the Iron Curtain, and no substitutes could be found. The Soviets never took the project seriously so thankfully it was not something that the fledgling NATO had to contend with.

Ironically, some say the US captured a number of the cosmetologists involved in the early work (see Operation Hairclip) and took them back to the States after the war. Their work remains highly classified, however much of it gives some compelling, unproven evidence linking them to a number of sports commentators and talk show hosts well known to US TV audiences through the late 1970s to early 1990s.

I believe Osprey are preparing a series, but so far are still on the fringes of the project.


Cacique Caribe Inactive Member16 Jun 2018 8:24 a.m. PST


"Operation Hairclip", I love it!

PS. They always looked so angry too, in their parades, though I imagine that was just them putting on a game face:


Volleyfire16 Jun 2018 1:06 p.m. PST

Wasn't this a leading,(or should I say shining?) example of the results of Operation Hairclip?


Cacique Caribe Inactive Member16 Jun 2018 2:06 p.m. PST

LOL. He sure loved his hair color. Well, most actors did back then.

But, though he did switch parties later in life as he matured, as far as I know his birthplace or origin was never in question. And the timing is way off too. He was doing anti-Nazi films in Hollywood while the war was going on. So no, he could not have been one of those brought in after the war with Operation Hairclip.

Good try though. :)


Lion in the Stars16 Jun 2018 5:48 p.m. PST

PS. They always looked so angry too, in their parades, though I imagine that was just them putting on a game face:

"Verdamt politicians making us march for no reason in this heat and full dress uniforms… It's going to take 3 washings to get all the sweat out of the wool!"

(US troops have similar thoughts about marching while in Full Dress uniforms)

Cacique Caribe Inactive Member17 Jun 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

Lion: "(US troops have similar thoughts about marching while in Full Dress uniforms)"

I honestly don't know how they do it.


Begemot Inactive Member17 Jun 2018 5:21 p.m. PST

I honestly don't know how they do it.

Traditionally, you begin by taking a step with your left foot, then the right, then back to the left, then right: left, right, left, right, etc. until they tell you to stop walking. Your average person can usually master this, though some get confused as to which is their left foot.

Legion 420 Jun 2018 1:54 p.m. PST

But don't blondes have more fun ?

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