(abbreviated R.A.D.) is best translated as 'imperial/homeland work service' and was the name of an organization directly controlled by the Reichsarbeitsminister ('Minister of Labor') Franz Seldte and his subordinate, state secretary Konstantin Hierl. Due to alterations in the corresponding laws, Hierl's title on June 26th 1935 changed to Reichsarbeitsführer.
From June 1935 onwards, every male had to serve a six month term in this compulsory work service before his compulsory military service started. Participation in the work service - also for six months - was made obligatory for young women following the outbreak of World War 2. The plan was to get 'useless' people off of the streets and provide the workforce for the physically tough pre-war preparations (e.g. road work, extended farm labour and quarry work) for which voluntary workers could hardly be found.
The term Reichsarbeitsdienst is sometimes found as mark addition on porcelain/ceramics, hence an explanation of the term was required. Note that items marked with this term were not made by certain parts of the work service but were made for certain R.A.D. divisions.
Many people incorrectly refer to the ⇒M.d.A.S.d.A. mark as "R.A.D. mark" and I believe that this must be the result on a translation error. In the context of the Nazi period, "R.A.D." is the short form of Reichsarbeitsdienst. The general German term for a cogwheel is Zahnrad, often simply shortened to Rad ('wheel') when referred to in a descriptive context. Many German sources refer to the M.d.A.S.d.A. mark as "Radmarke" ('wheel mark') instead of "Zahnradmarke" ('cogwheel mark'), hence I can only assume that somebody came to the incorrect conclusion that the descriptive term "Rad" was equal to the 'R.A.D.' abbreviation. Again: the office providing the M.d.A.S.d.A. mark was a sub-division of the K.d.F. (hence controlled by Reichorganisationsleiter Robert Ley) whilst the Reichsarbeitsdienst was a sub-division of the Ministry of Labour (controlled by Reichsarbeitsführer Konstantin Hierl). Hence the M.d.A.S.d.A. mark has absolutely nothing to do with the Reichsarbeitsdienst as both belonged to completely different head organizations.
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