Orders, decorations, and medals of Nazi Germany

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

The first awards began in the 1920s, before the Nazis had come to 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 the Reich. 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. 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Order Of The 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
Sp1ek1.JPG
Order Of The 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. c730,000
Iron Cross - 2nd Class.jpg
Order Of The 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. c4,750,000

Nazi-era awards[edit]

The following articles deal with Nazi-era awards:

Pre-Nazi era awards[edit]

Orders, decorations and medals earned by Germans before the Nazi assumption of power continued to be worn and were incorporated into the prescribed orders of precedence and uniform regulations for the German armed forces and civil organisations in Germany. These included awards of Imperial Germany and its members states (Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, etc.), awards of the Weimar Republic and awards of Austro-Hungary (after the 1938 annexation, Austrian awards were treated as another class of state award like Prussian and Bavarian).

German decorations of the First World War were by far the most numerous of pre-Nazi era decorations displayed on Nazi uniforms. Prior to Hitler assuming power, when the Nazi Party was simply a paramilitary political party, Nazi uniforms also displayed several awards of the Freikorps. Awards of the German Freikorps were prohibited from wear after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, with any veteran who had received one then eligible for the Cross of Honor of World War I. In all, nearly eight million persons applied for, and received, the Cross of Honor in lieu of a former unofficial veteran or Freikorps medal.

Bodewin Claus Eduard Keitel (brother of Wilhelm Keitel) displaying several military awards of the Wehrmacht

The military decorations of Nazi Germany were awards and medals 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.

Military decorations[edit]

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 Oakleaves
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
Center
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

Wound badges[edit]

Spanish Black Wound Badge of 1936–1939 Spanish Silver Wound Badge of 1936–1939 Spanish Gold Wound Badge of 1936–1939
Black Wound Badge of 1939–1945 Silver Wound Badge of 1939–1945 Gold Wound Badge of 1939–1945
Нагрудный знак за ранение-Чёрный (1939).svg
Нагрудный знак за ранение-Серебро (1939).svg
Нагрудный знак за ранение-Золото (1939).svg
Black Wound Badge of 20 July 1944 Silver Wound Badge of 20 July 1944 Gold Wound Badge of 20 July 1944
Verwundetenabzeichen in Silber 20 Juli 1944.jpg
Verwundetenabzeichen in Gold 20 Juli 1944.jpg
Navy Black Wound Badge of 1939–1945 Navy Silver Wound Badge of 1939–1945 Navy Gold Wound Badge of 1939–1945

Arm shields and cuffbands[edit]

Arm shields[edit]

Breslau Shield
1933
Der Stahlhelm Wettkampfieger Shield
1938
Gross Britanien Shield
1940
Narvik Shield
1940
Crimea Shield
1941–1942
Cholm Shield
1942
Demyansk Shield
1942
Narvikschild farbe silber.jpg
Krimschild.JPG
Demjanskschild.jpg
Stalingrad Shield
1942–1943
Kuban Shield
1943
Lorient Schield
1944
Warschau Shield
1944
Balkan Shield
1944–1945
Budapest Schield
1944–1945
Lappland Shield
1944–1945
Kubanschild.jpg

Cuffbands[edit]

Campaign cuffbands[edit]

1936 Spanien 1939 Cuffband
Crete Cuffband
Afrika Cuffband
Metz 1944 Cuffband
Kurland Cuffband
Ärmelstreifen Spanien 1936-1939.jpg

Ärmelbänder Wehrmacht.jpg

Military service badges[edit]

Army/Waffen-SS war badges[edit]

Infantry Assault Badge
(Silver and Bronze)
General Assault Badge
(also with engagement numbers
25, 50, 75 and 100
)
Close Combat Clasp
(Gold, Silver, and Bronze)
Tank Battle Badge
(Silver and Bronze)
(also with engagement numbers
25, 50, 75 and 100
)
Army Anti-Aircraft Badge
Infantry Assault Badge of Nazi Germany.jpg
General Assault Badge.jpg
Nahkampfspange Heer Gold.jpg
Panzer badge.jpg
Heeres-Flakabzeichen.jpg
Army Paratrooper Badge Anti-Partisan
Guerrilla Warfare Badge

(Gold, Silver, and Bronze)
Balloon Observer's Badge
(Gold, Silver, and Bronze)
Tank Destruction Badge
(Gold and Silver)
Sniper's Badge
(Third, Second and First Grade)
Tank Memorial Badge
Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe.jpg
Bandenkampfabzeichen.jpg
Ballon Observers Badge.png
Wehrmacht Panzervernichtungsabzeichen.jpg
Scharfschabz.jpg
Kampfwagen-Erinnerungsabzeichen.jpg
Front Line Driver's Badge
(Gold, Silver, and Bronze)
Badge for Destruction of Strafing Warplanes
(Gold and Silver)
Condor Legion Tank Badge
Blank.png Blank.png Blank.png

Naval war badges[edit]

High Seas Fleet Badge Destroyer War Badge Minesweeper War Badge Blockade Runner Badge
High Seas Fleet War Badge.jpg
Destroyer War Badge.jpg
Minensuchabzeichen.JPG
Abzeichen für Blockadebrecher.jpg
E-Boat War Badge U-Boat War Badge Auxiliary Cruiser Badge Naval Artillery War Badge
E-boat War Badge.jpg
U-Boot-Kriegsabzeichen.jpg
Auxiliary Cruiser Badge.jpg
Kriegsmarine artilleria costa.jpg
U-Boat Combat Clasp
(Gold and Silver)
U-boat Front Clasp.jpg
Naval Front Clasp Small Battle Unit Combat Clasp
NavalCombatClasp.jpg
Kampfabzeichen der Kleinkampfmittel 7. Stufe.jpg

Luftwaffe war badges[edit]

Combined Pilots-Observation Badge Pilot's Badge Luftwaffe Paratrooper Badge
FFundBeob.JPG
Flugzeugführerabzeichen.jpg
Fallschirmschützenabzeichen der Luftwaffe.jpg
Anti-Aircraft Flak Battle Badge Tank Combat Badge of the Luftwaffe Ground Assault Badge of the Luftwaffe
Flak-Kampfabzeichen der Luftwaffe.jpg
Luftwaffe Ground-Attack Badge.jpg
Observer Badge Glider Pilot Badge Radio Operator Badge
Observer Badge.jpg
Segelflugzeugführerabzeichen II.jpg
Operatore radio mitragliere.jpg
Flyer's Commemorative Badge Aircrew Badge Air Gunner Badge
Fliegererinnerungsabzeichen.jpg
Fliegerschaftsabzeichen.jpg

Luftwaffe flying clasps[edit]

Luftwaffe Flying Clasps
Frontflugspange.jpg

Luftwaffe Flying Clasps were awarded in Bronze, Silver, and Gold with upgrade possible to include diamonds. Pennants suspended from the clasp indicated the number of missions carried out in a given type of aircraft. Flying Clasps were issued for missions completed in the following Luftwaffe aircraft

  • Day Fighters
  • Night Fighters
  • Long-Range Night Fighters
  • Heavy Fighters
  • Air to Ground Support Fighters
  • Bombers
  • Reconnaissance
  • Transport and Glider

The Luftwaffe also maintained two non-portable awards, the first being the "Honor Goblet of the Luftwaffe" ("Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg"). The second is the "Luftwaffe Honor Plate" ("Ehrenschale für hervorragende Kampfleistungen der Luftwaffe") was another non-portable award for outstanding combat performance. It was introduced on 15 June 1942 by the Reich Minister of Aviation and head of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Göring and was awarded to members of the Luftwaffe field army units as a counterpart to the honor of flying. About 50 were awarded, one of the recipients was Hans Sandrock[2][3]

The Luftwaffe Honor Goblet
1940–1945
The Luftwaffe Honor Plate
1942–1944
Ehrenpokal.jpg
Ehrenschale.jpeg

Foreign division awards[edit]

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

Blue Division Medal Ostvolk Medal First Class
(Gold and Silver)
(Awarded with and without Swords)
Ostvolk Medal Second Class
(Gold, Silver and Bronze)
(Awarded with and without Swords)
Blue Division Medal (anti-bolshevism) obv.jpg
Tapferkeits- und Verdienstauszeichnung für Angehörige der Ostvölker in Silber.jpg
5th Don Cossack Regimental Cross[4] 2nd Siberian Cossack Regimental Cross[5]
None.svg
None.svg

References[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. ^ http://www.lexikon-der-wehrmacht.de/Orden/lw-es.html Ehrenschale für hervorragende Kampfleistungen der Luftwaffe]
  3. ^ https://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/service_awards/honor_awards/non_portable/non_portable.htm Non portable Awards
  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.