H001190 WAR MERIT CROSS 2ND CLASS WITHOUT SWORDS. (Kriegsverdienstkreuz II ohne Schwerter)

BACKGROUND: The War Merit Cross was instituted by Adolf Hitler on October 18TH 1939, in two classes with both classes issued, with and without swords, for award to military personnel and civilians, including females and foreigners, for exemplary service and/or bravery in Germany’s war effort, in a non-combatant role. The addition of swords to the award signified bravery while awards without swords were bestowed for service. Allegedly Hitler specifically chose October 18TH to establish the War Merit Cross awards to commemorate the October 16TH-19TH, 1813 battle of Leipzig, (Battle of Nations), in which the Sixth Coalition, consisting of troops from Russia, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Britain, Austria, Prussia and some smaller German States decisively defeated Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Armee at Leipzig. With over 600,000 troops involved the 1813 battle of Leipzig was the largest European battle prior to World War One with estimates of between 80,000 and 110,000 casualties. The War Merit Cross series of awards was expanded on August 19TH 1940, to include a Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross for award to personnel who had provided a substantial contribution to the war effort and the War Merit Medal for award to German nationals and foreign civilians who provided exceptional service to the war effort. Of Note: When Hitler reinstituted the Iron Cross series of awards on September 1ST 1939 he did not resurrect the non-combatants version of the Iron Cross 2ND class that had been introduced in 1914, with the distinguishing feature being the reverse of the standard ribbon coloration. It is surmised that the War Merit Crosses were intended to replace the 1914 non-combatants Iron Cross.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Die struck bronze/alloy service award with a bronze wash is in the form of a Maltese style cross with a circular centerpiece with an embossed, canted, swastika encircled by a nicely detailed oak-leaf wreath to the obverse. The reverse centerpiece has the embossed date,"1939", which is also encompassed by a nicely detailed oak-leaf wreath. The background field of both the obverse and reverse centerpieces is smooth while the arms of the cross have a pebbled background field with raised, smooth, outer edges. The medal loop and ribbon suspension ring are both intact. The award comes complete with a piece of the original ribbed rayon ribbon.

GRADE ****1/4                             PRICE $39.00

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