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 Party uniforms, along with any awards they may have earned 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 life-saving medals, were redesigned to incorporate the Nazi symbol, the swastika.

A number of military awards were established pre-war, including Wehrmacht long service decorations, followed by awards for participation in the Spanish Civil War and for the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland, with the greatest number established after the start of World War II in 1939. Regulations of award also permitted the simultaneous wear of military, civilian, and political decorations on any military or para-military uniform of Nazi Germany.

Nazi awards and decorations were discontinued after the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, with display of the swastika banned. In 1957 the Federal Republic of Germany permitted qualifying veterans to wear many Nazi-era awards in Bundeswehr uniform. including most World War II valor and campaign awards,[1] provided the swastika symbol was removed.[2] This led to the re-design of many awards with, for example, the swastika being replaced by a three-leafed oakleaf cluster on the Iron Cross and by the date 1939 on the War Merit Cross.[3] In addition, new military awards were created for post war service by both the West German and East German governments.

Orders[edit]

Badge and ribbon Name (English/German) Creation date – Cessation date Description Number awarded
Голям кръст на Железния кръст.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. 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[4]
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]

Narvik Shield, 1940 Crimea Shield, 1941–1942 Cholm Shield, 1942 Demyansk Shield, 1942 Kuban Shield, 1943 Warsaw Shield, 1944
(Approved, but not produced by end of the war)
Lappland Shield, 1944–1945
Narvikschild farbe silber.jpg
Krimschild.JPG
1942 Cholm Shield.jpg
Demjanskschild.jpg
Kubanschild.jpg
Warschauschild (Warsaw Shield).png
Щит «Лапландия» (лицевая сторона).jpg

Campaign cuff titles[edit]

Crete Cuff Title, 1942 Africa Cuff Title, 1941-1943 Metz 1944 Cuff Title, 1944 Courland Cuff Title, 1944–1945
Ärmelbänder Kreta.jpg
Ärmelbänd Afrika (Africa cuff title).jpg
Ärmelband Metz 1944 cuff band.jpg
Aermelband Kurland.jpg

Military and paramilitary badges[edit]

Army/Waffen-SS war badges[edit]

Infantry Assault Badge General Assault Badge Close Combat Clasp Tank Battle Badge Army Anti-Aircraft Badge Army Paratrooper Badge Bandit-warfare Badge
Infantry Assault Badge of Nazi Germany.jpg
General Assault Badge.jpg
Nahkampfspange Heer Gold.jpg
Nahkampfspange Heer Silber.jpg
Nahkampfspange Heer Bronze.jpg
Silver Panzer Assault Badge.jpg
Heeres-Flak-Abzeichen.jpg
Fallschirmschützenabzeichen des Heeres (cropped).png
Bandenkampfabzeichen.jpg
Balloon Observer's Badge Tank Destruction Badge Sniper's Badge Wound Badge Front Line Driver's Badge [de] Badge for Destruction of Strafing Warplanes [de] Condor Legion Tank Badge [de]
Ballon Observers Badge.png
Wehrmacht Panzervernichtungsabzeichen.jpg
Scharfschabz.png
Нагрудный знак за ранение-Чёрный (1939).svg
Kraftfahrbewährungsabzeichen (WW2 Memorial Museum) Svolvær, Norway 2019-05-08 DSC09822 (cropped).jpg
Panzertruppenabzeichen der Legion Condor.png

Naval war badges[edit]

High Seas Fleet Badge Destroyer War Badge Minesweeper War Badge Blockade Runner Badge Fast Attack Craft War Badge
German High Seas Fleet Badge.jpg
Destroyer War Badge.jpg
Minensuchabzeichen.JPG
Abzeichen für Blockadebrecher.jpg
E-boat War Badge.jpg
U-Boat War Badge Auxiliary Cruiser Badge Naval Artillery War Badge U-Boat Combat Clasp Naval Front Clasp
U-Boot-Kriegsabzeichen.jpg
Auxiliary Cruiser Badge.jpg
Kriegsmarine artilleria costa.jpg
U-boat Front Clasp.jpg
NavalCombatClasp.jpg

Luftwaffe badges & other awards[edit]

Combined Pilots-Observation Badge Pilot's Badge Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge Anti-Aircraft Flak Battle Badge Ground Assault Badge of the Luftwaffe Observer Badge
FFundBeob.JPG
Flugzeugführerabzeichen.jpg
Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe.jpg
Flak-Kampfabzeichen der Luftwaffe.jpg
Luftwaffe Ground-Attack Badge.jpg
Luftwaffe Navigator.png
Glider Pilot Badge Radio Operator Badge Flyer's Commemorative Badge Aircrew Badge Air Gunner Badge Luftwaffe Flying Clasps
Segelflugzeugführerabzeichen II.jpg
Bordfunkerabzeichen.png
Fliegererinnerungsabzeichen.jpg
Fliegerschaftsabzeichen.jpg
Frontflugspange.jpg

The Luftwaffe 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.[5] The second was the "Luftwaffe Honor Plate" (Ehrenschale für hervorragende Kampfleistungen der Luftwaffe), in June 1942.[citation needed]

Honor Goblet of the Luftwaffe Honour Roll Clasp Luftwaffe Honor Plate
Ehrenpokal.jpg
Ehrenblattspange Heer (cropped).jpg
Ehrenblattspange Kriegsmarine (cropped).jpg
Ehrenblattspange Luftwaffe (cropped).jpg
Ehrenschale.jpeg

Foreign division awards[edit]

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

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Dienstvorschriften Nr. 14/97. Bezug: Anzugordnung für die Soldaten der Bundeswehr. ZDv 37/10. (Juli 1996)". German Federal regulation. Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  2. ^ "Bundesministerium der Justiz: Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen, 26.7.1957. Bundesgesetzblatt Teil III, Gliederungsnummer 1132-1". German Federal law. Retrieved 2019-09-06.
  3. ^ Hieronymussen, Paul (1970). Orders, medals, and decorations of Britain and Europe in colour. London: Blandford Press. pp. 171–173. ISBN 978-0-7137-0445-7.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Angolia 1987, p. 320.
  6. ^ Ailsby, Christopher (6 December 2015). "The 5th Don Cossacks Cavalry Regiment Cross". Ailsby Collection. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
  7. ^ "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.