West Wall Medal
|West Wall Medal|
The West Wall Medal
|Awarded by Nazi Germany|
|Eligibility||Military and civilian personnel|
|Established||2 August 1939|
The West Wall Medal (German: Deutsches Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen) was a political decoration of Nazi Germany. It was instituted on 2 August 1939 and was given to those who designed and built the fortifications on Germany's western borders, known as the West Wall or, in English, the Siegfried Line, and to the troops who served there between 15 June 1938 to 31 March 1939. In all 622,064 medals were awarded until 31 January 1941. In 1944, after the allied invasion, it was again "re-instituted" and awarded to those who took part in the fortification of the western borders. It awarded to over 800,000 men in total by the end of the war.
The medal was in one class. It was struck in bronze. Its oval shape featured on the obverse (from bottom to top) a bunker, a crossed sword and shovel, and the German Eagle. On the reverse it bore the inscription "Für Arbeit zum Schutze Deutschlands" (For Work on the Defenses of Germany). The medal was designed by Professor Richard Klein, of Munich. The ribbon is golden brown with a white stripe towards each edge.
In 1944, a second production run was conducted to reward the workers and military personnel strengthening the Siegfried line. This version of the medal was commonly known as the "Defense Wall Honor Award", to distinguish the decoration from its 1939 counterpart, and was constructed of a bronzed zinc. A bar with the date "1944" was authorized for those who already held the 1939 version, but this award was never mass-produced.