Orders, decorations, and medals of Nazi Germany

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Awards and Decorations of Nazi Germany were military, political and civilian decorations that were bestowed between 1923 and 1945, first by the Nazi Party and later the state of Nazi Germany.

The first awards began in the 1920s, before the Nazis had come to national power in Germany, with the political decorations worn on early Party uniforms. Most early Nazis also displayed awards they may have earned as soldiers and sailors during the First World War or before.

After 1933, the state began issuing a variety of civilian decorations, which could be bestowed upon any citizen of Germany. Thus, some awards (such as Sports Badges) were bestowed on Nazi Party members, members of the German military, and regular civilians. Many standard awards of the German state, such as military and civil service long service decorations and life-saving medals, were redesigned to incorporate the Nazi symbol, the swastika.

Nazi military awards are by far the most commonly recognised. Military long service decorations, awards for participation in the Spanish Civil War and medals for the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland were among early awards, but the greatest number began to be bestowed in 1939 after the start of World War II in Europe. Regulations of award issuance also permitted the simultaneous wear of military, civilian, and political decorations on any military or para-military uniform of Nazi Germany, allowing for a wide variety of combinations in manner of wear and awards displayed.

Nazi awards and decorations were discontinued after the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. After the end of World War II, new German military awards were created under the authority of the West German military and the East German communist regime.

Orders[edit]

Badge and ribbon Name (English/German) Creation date – Cessation date Description Number awarded
Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (1939).jpg
Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
Stern zum Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 Intended to be awarded to the most successful German General/Field Marshal of the Second World War, once Greater Germany had achieved victory. 0
GCLuftwaffe.JPG
Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 Awarded to victorious Generals/Field Marshals of German forces and her allies. Hermann Göring was the only recipient of this award during the second world war after his part in the victory over Poland, France, Denmark, Norway and the Benelux nations. He was awarded this award on 19 July 1940. 1
BmRKELSBGold.jpg
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit goldenem Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten
29 December 1944 – 8 May 1945 To be awarded after the second world war to Greater Germany's 12 greatest war heroes. Adolf Hitler prematurely awarded Hans-Ulrich Rudel with the golden oak leaves for continuous outstanding achievements and heroism. Then and to this day Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the greatest scoring ground-attack pilot in history. 1
BmRKELSB.jpg
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub, Schwertern und Brillanten
28 September 1941 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded all preceding classes of the Knight's Cross/Iron Cross. 27
BmRKELS.jpg
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub und Schwertern
28 September 1941 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded all preceding classes of the Knight's Cross/Iron Cross. 160
(157 German,
1 Japanese,
2 Spaniards)[citation needed]
BmRKEL.jpg
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub
3 June 1940 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded all preceding classes of the Knight's Cross/Iron Cross. 890
(882 German,
8 Axis Allies)
DE Band mit RK (1).jpg
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded all preceding classes of the Iron Cross. 7,318
GermanCrossInGoldWithDiamonds.jpg
German Cross in Gold with Diamonds
Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold mit Brillanten
October 1942 – 8 May 1945 To be awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops (having already being awarded the German Cross in Gold) but no awards were ever made. 0
DeutschesKreuzinGold.jpg
German Cross in Gold
Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold
28 September 1941 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops (not justifying the Knight’s Cross Of The Iron Cross but having already being awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class) 24,204
(24,190 German,
14 Axis allies)
GermanCrossInSilver.jpg
German Cross in Silver
Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Silber
28 September 1941 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for significant performances in aiding/supplying the military war effort. (Not justifying the Knight’s Cross of either the Iron Cross or the War Merit Cross but having already being awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class or War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords) 1,115
BmEKI.jpg
Iron Cross (1st Class)
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded the preceding class of the Iron Cross. c. 730,000
BmEKII.jpg
Iron Cross (2nd Class)
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 Awarded for bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops. c. 4,750,000

Military and paramilitary decorations[edit]

These were awards and medals were bestowed by the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS between 1935 and 1945, during the rule of the Nazi Party in Germany and the years of World War II.

Unique medals and special degrees[edit]

Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross Grand Cross of the Iron Cross Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
with Golden Oak Leaves
Swords, and Diamonds
Golden Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross
(Awarded with and without Swords)
German Cross with Diamonds
Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (1939).jpg
GCLuftwaffe.JPG
BmRKELSBGold.jpg
War-merit-cross-gold.jpg
GermanCrossInGoldWithDiamonds.jpg

Military valor decorations[edit]

Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
with Oakleaves, Swords, and Diamonds
Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
with Oakleaves and Swords
Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
with Oakleaves
Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
BmRKELSB.jpg
BmRKELS.jpg
BmRKEL.jpg
DE Band mit RK (1).jpg

Meritorious military decorations[edit]

German Cross in Gold Iron Cross First Class Iron Cross Second Class 1939 Clasp to the Iron Cross Military Honor Roll Clasp
(Awarded for army, navy, and air force)
DeutschesKreuzinGold.jpg
BmEKI.jpg
BmEKII.jpg
Iron Cross Spangle.png
Ehrenblattspange Heer.jpg
Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross
(Awarded with and without Swords)
German Cross in Silver War Merit Cross (First and Second Class)
(Awarded with and without Swords)
Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords.jpg
GermanCrossInSilver.jpg
War Merit Cross.jpg
Spanish Cross in Gold, Silver, and Bronze
Awarded with and without Swords
Special grade awarded in Gold with Diamonds
Posthumous grade known as "Spanish Cross for Next of Kin of Fallen"
Spanish Cross.jpg

Military service decorations[edit]

Cross of Honor (1914–1918) Eastern Front Medal West Wall Medal[1]
Upgradeable to include 1944 Bar
Anschluss Medal Memel Medal Sudetenland Medal
Upgradeable to include
Prague Castle Bar
Hindenburg cross front.jpg
Ostmedaille.jpg
Shutzwall medal.jpg
Anchlussmedal front.JPG
Medaille zur Erinnerung Memellandes.PNG
Sudetenland Medal.PNG

Military service medals[edit]

Wehrmacht Long Service Award
Awarded for army, navy, and air force
Awarded in grades of 4, 12, 18, 25, and 40 Years of Service
SS Long Service Award
Awarded in grades of 4, 12, 18, and 25 Years of Service
WMLSA1944.jpg
Waffen-SS Long Service Award 12year in Silver.jpg

Arm shields[edit]

Military and paramilitary badges[edit]

Army/Waffen-SS war badges[edit]

General Assault Badge

Naval war badges[edit]

Blockade-runner Badge

Luftwaffe badges & other awards[edit]

Pilot's Badge

Luftwaffe Flying Clasps were awarded in Bronze (20), Silver (60), and Gold (110) with upgrade possible to include diamonds. Pennants suspended from the clasp indicated the number of missions obtained in a given type of aircraft.[2] The Luftwaffe also maintained two non-portable awards. The first being the "Honor Goblet of the Luftwaffe" (Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg). It was given to aircrew who had already been awarded the Iron Cross First Class, but whose performance was not considered to merit the German Cross or Knight's Cross. It was replaced by the Luftwaffe Honour Roll Clasp in January 1944.[3] The second was the "Luftwaffe Honor Plate" (Ehrenschale für hervorragende Kampfleistungen der Luftwaffe), in June 1942.[citation needed]

Foreign division awards[edit]

Foreign division awards were specially intended for non-German volunteers serving in specially-formed divisions in the Wehrmacht.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The West Wall Medal was issued twice, once in 1939 and again in 1944. The 1944 version was commonly referred to as the "German Defense Medal". For those personnel who had already received the 1939 West Wall Medal, a "1944 Bar" was authorized to the decoration.
  2. ^ Angolia 1987, pp. 222–223.
  3. ^ Angolia 1987, p. 320.
  4. ^ Ailsby, Christopher (6 December 2015). "The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross". Ailsby Collection. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Cossack Volunteers". axis101.bizland.com. Retrieved 26 April 2018.

References[edit]

  • Angolia, John (1987). For Führer and Fatherland: Military Awards of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0912138149.