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WWII German medals
WWII German medals are characterized by a strict design, geometric lines and a variety of symbols that reflected German ideals of WWII and social moods of Nazi Germany. These medals are important historical artifacts and reminders of a significant part of a global society’s life.
Introduction of new Nazi award system
World War II is an interesting phenomena that led to great changes in political, spiritual and economic traditions of a great number of countries. It brought especially many reforms to Germany and its members states.
1920 is a year when probably most memorable period of German history began. Political victory of a Nazi Party — that was considered to be semi-military, gave life to a country’s new military system and also to a new system of awards. Though imperial awards for veterans and heroes of WWI and participants of other remarkable events were still respected and recognized (some of them decorated uniform of Nazi-soldiers even during WWII) it was necessary to introduce medals, decoration and orders that would not only serve to celebrate the rise of new country’s policy order but also to spread certain ideas, moods and orienteers among German military and civil citizens.
Since 1933 many various civil decorations had been issued. Among them there were badges worn by members of German military as well as by civilian people and members of Nazi Party. The Nazi symbol (swastika) become a part of design of many standard German awards such as military and service decorations and medals for saving life of German citizens. These awards became prototypes for WWII military German medals and orders.
WWII German awards
Military awards of Third Reich are now widely recognized in the whole modern world. Among early awards there are service decorations for soldiers of Spanish Civil War and medals for participants of annexation of Austrian and Sudeten Lands. But the most numerous and valuable are German awards issued after beginning of WWII (1939).
Official regulations didn’t forbid combined wearing of civil and military awards as a part of Nazi military and semi-military uniforms. That allowed to create several variants of awards’ presentation and combination. All WWII German medals and other military awards were issued by Wehrmacht but early awards of Nazi Germany were designed and awarded by Adolph Hitler that made them more valuable among collectors.
September 1939 was a time of issuing several military awards. Among most desirable of them were: an order of the Star Cross of the Iron Cross and an order of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. Both presented a redesigned order of an Iron Cross that used to be awarded during imperial time of Germany. Order of the Star Cross had never been awarded in Nazi Germany and an order of the Grand Cross was awarded to Herman Göring who became the only holder of the award.
Several WWII civil and military German medals also were introduced during 1939-1945. One of the most commonly recognized is an Eastern front medal that were awarded to more than 3 million of German fighters. Military service medals such as Wehrmacht Long Service Award (with variations for 4, 12, 18, 25, 40 years of military service) and SS Long Service Award (variations for 4, 12, 18 and 25 years of service) were also commonly awarded during WWII.
End of a short life of WWII German awards
In 1945 Nazi Germany was defeated. Since that time all WWII German medals and other military award received during 1920-1945 were cancelled, stopped being respected and recognized. It also led to creation of several new civil and military awards presented by post-war communism regime of Western and Eastern Germany.