The Stahlhelm was founded at the end of 1918 partly by Franz Seldte in the city of Magdeburg. Its journal, Stahlhelm, was edited by Count Hans-Jürgen von Blumenthal, later hanged for his part in the July 20 plot. The organization was a rallying point for nationalistic and anti-Weimar elements. With 500,000 members in 1930, the Stahlhelm was the largest paramilitary organization of Weimar Germany.
In 1929 the Stahlhelm joined the Volksentscheid gegen den Young-Plan to demonstrate against the Young Plan. The Stahlhelm joined the DNVP, NSDAP and Alldeutscher Verband to form the Harzburger Front, which was a united right-wing front against the Weimar Republic.
In 1934 the Stahlhelm was renamed Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Frontkämpferbund (Federation of the National Socialist Frontline-Fighters) and integrated into the Sturmabteilung and, in 1935, it was dissolved by the Nazis, who feared its fundamentally monarchist character.