The awarding of medals by the Axis Powers [during and after the war] c/w the Allies

Discussion in 'Axis Units' started by Matlock1418, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Matlock1418

    Matlock1418 New Member

    Given the different circumstances of the involved countries during, and at the end of/after, the 1939-45 war I am interested to learn about how the Axis Powers addressed the matter of issuing medals for the war [gallantry and war] - and to compare their approach(es) with the Allies [who seemingly had a much freer opportunity to issue them] especially after the war.

    Gallantry medals certainly do seem to have been awarded by most during the war - but after hostilities?

    And what about ‘war’ medals?

    I suppose the different types of end of the war [Armistice -v- unconditional surrender], type & duration of any period of subsequent occupation and any official & public inclination and ability to recognise the war [compared with and/or to celebrate victory] are likely to have been major factors.

    Query really relates to official medals - but I understand that perhaps unofficial medals were sometime worn too by veterans [??]

    So would like to discover more.

    I look forward to hearing from you with your observations

  2. ltdan

    ltdan Nietenzähler

    Only the Knight's Crosses (KC) are interesting because of their almost mythically inflated popularity (and the fact that most other awards were about as common as buttons):
    Formally and de jure this award could only be granted until April 30, 1945 at the latest (date of official confirmation)
    Nevertheless, the date 8.5.1945 quite often appears in this context.
    These are KC´s, which were quasi semi-officially recognized by the "Order of the Knight's Cross Bearers" (Orden der Ritterkreuzträger/OdR) - a private, non-official community of interest - after the war. This was legitimized by the so-called "Dönitz Decree".
    There is no reference or proof of such an "order", except for a letter from Dönitz to the OdR from 1970 (where he happened to be an honorary member). Nevertheless, this instruction is repeatedly referred to in the relevant literature when an award cannot be proven.
    From the official point of view, however, this is utter nonsense: In purely legal terms, the OdR has the same legal powers as a pigeon breeding association

    In addition, there was an instruction from Hitler dated March 7, 1945, which automatically awarded the KC when 6 armored combat vehicles were destroyed by close-combat anti-tank weapons (Panzernahbekämpfungsmittel) like Panzerfaust, limpet mines and the like. As a result, a disproportionately high number of high-ranking officers became remarkably capable "Panzerknacker" in the last weeks of the war - usually with date of confirmation 8.5.1945: honi soit qui mal y pense :whistle:

    Wearing of Awards and Medals post-war:
    For post-war Germany this is - not surprisingly - regulated according to the "Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen vom 26. Juli 1957":
    Medals from the time before 1933 may continue to be worn by the bearer.
    Of the military decorations (from the 1st and 2nd World War), including those awarded by former allied states, only those that are explicitly listed in the law.
    Medals with National Socialist emblems may not be worn. They may neither be produced nor offered, displayed, sold or otherwise put into circulation. For the amended versions of these medals from the period between 1933 and 1945, the Federal Minister of the Interior issued detailed regulations in which all orders whose appearance must be changed for public wear are shown:
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
  3. Matlock1418

    Matlock1418 New Member

    ltdan - thank you for your reply post which has got my very first thread here up and running.
    I hope more useful posts will follow.
    My main period of study being WW1 I obviously have a lot more reading to do but at first consideration it certainly seems, as I guess I probably originally suspected, that the un-conditional surrender end of WW2 and the demise of the National Socialist Nazi Party were likely to have meant that post-war production and wearing of WW2 medals was probably much lower than that of the earlier WW1 & Weimar Republic periods up to 1933.
    It seems to me that WW1 and its Armistice and thereafter for some years that war medals apparently got quite some production and wear whereas the later WW2 medals much lesser official prominence, not least because of the newly created legal situation(s) thereafter.
    Did the WW1 veterans continue to extensively wear their medals, perhaps compared to WW2 ones?
    I am not knowledgeable enough to detect the possible differences, for either war's medals, between the Western Allies occupied areas and the Soviet ones post-WW2.
    Were there significant differences?
    And post-1989?
    Of course I know time has passed, and the aging of both sets of veterans, has has obviously meant a steady attrition in any potential wear over the years [especially from the former period!].
    More / other thoughts are welcomed.
    :) M

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