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 and decorations

State orders

Badge and ribbon Name (English/German) Creation date – cessation date Description Number awarded
Service Cross of the German Eagle.png
Order of the German Eagle
Verdienstorden vom Deutschen Adler
1 May 1937 – 8 May 1945 Awarded with and without swords. The number of times the order was awarded is unknown.

War decorations: pre 1939

Badge and ribbon Name (English/German) Creation date – cessation date Description Number awarded
Spanish Cross.jpg
Spanish Cross
Spanien-Kreuz
14 April 1939 – 1940 Awarded with and without swords.
Issued in bronze, silver, gold and gold with diamonds. For service with the Condor Legion in Spain.
26,116
Total, for all classes
Panzertruppenabzeichen der Legion Condor.png
Condor Legion Tank Badge
Panzertruppenabzeichen der Legion Condor
September 1936 – autumn 1939
(official decoration 10 July 1939)
For tank crews who served with the Condor Legion in Spain, 1936–1939. 415

War decorations: 1939–1945

These awards were bestowed by the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS between 1939 and 1945, during World War II.

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 A higher class of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. A prototype was made, but the decoration was never formally instituted or awarded.[4] 0
1939 Grand cross (cropped).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, received the Grand Cross on 19 July 1940, the only recipient of World War II.
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 World War II to Germany's 12 greatest war heroes.
Actually awarded only once, to Hans-Ulrich Rudel for continuous outstanding achievements and heroism.[5]
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 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 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
(159 German,
1 Japanese)[a]
BmRKEL.jpg
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves
Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub
3 June 1940 – 8 May 1945 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 For continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded all preceding classes of the Iron Cross. 7,318
War-merit-cross-gold.jpg
Golden Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross
Goldenes Ritterkreuz des Kriegsverdienstkreuz
13 October 1944 – 8 May 1945 Awarded with and without swords.
For outstanding contributions to the war effort.
2
(Further recommendations not approved by end of war)
Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross with Swords.jpg
Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross
Ritterkreuz des Kriegsverdienstkreuz
19 August 1940 – 8 May 1945 Awarded with and without swords.
For meritorious contributions to the war effort after being awarded all preceding classes of the War Merit Cross.
c. 250
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 been awarded the German Cross in Gold). No awards were ever made. 0
DeutschesKreuzinGold.jpg
German Cross in Gold
Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold
28 September 1941 – 8 May 1945 For continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops (not justifying the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross but having already been 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 For significant performances in aiding the military war effort. (Not justifying the Knight's Cross of either the Iron Cross or the War Merit Cross but having already been awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class or War Merit Cross 1st Class) 1,115
Ehrenblattspange Heer (cropped).jpgEhrenblattspange Kriegsmarine (cropped).jpgEhrenblattspange Luftwaffe (cropped).jpg
Honour Roll Clasp
Ehrenblattspange
30 January 1944 – 8 May 1945 Different designs for the army, navy and air force
Awarded to those who appeared on the Honour Roll for distinction in combat.
4,556
(Army and Waffen-SS awards only)[7]
BmEKI.jpg
Iron Cross (1st Class)
Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 For continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class. c. 300,000[8]
BmEKII.jpg
Iron Cross (2nd Class)
Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 For bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops. c. 4,500,000[9]
Iron Cross Spangle.png
1939 Clasp to the Iron Cross
Spange zum Eisernen Kreuz
1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945 An award of the Iron Cross, 1st or 2nd class for those who had already received the decoration in World War I. 100,000+
KVK I S.jpg
War Merit Cross (1st Class)
Kriegsverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse
18 October 1939 – 8 May 1945 Awarded with and without swords.
For meritorious contributions to the war effort after being awarded the War Merit Cross, 2nd class.
c. 480,000 with swords
c. 90,000 without swords[b]
Kriegsverdienstkreuz II. Klasse mit Schwertern 1.JPG
War Merit Cross (2nd Class)
Kriegsverdienstkreuz 2. Klasse
18 October 1939 – 8 May 1945 Awarded with and without swords.
For meritorious contributions to the war effort.
c. 6,100,000 with swords
c. 1,500,000 without swords[b]
Медаль "За военные заслуги" (Германия).jpg
War Merit Medal
Kriegsverdienstmedaille
19 August 1940 – 8 May 1945 For lower-level civilian contributions to the war effort. c. 4,900,000[b]

Military service decorations

Cross of Honor (1914–1918)
Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs
Eastern Front Medal
Medaille Winterschlacht im Osten
West Wall Medal[c]
Schutzwall-Ehrenzeichen
1944 bar authorized
Anschluss Medal Memel Medal Sudetenland Medal
Prague Castle Bar authorized
Hindenburg cross front.jpg
Ostmedaille.jpg
Shutzwall medal.jpg
Anchlussmedal front.JPG
Medaille zur Erinnerung Memellandes.PNG
Sudetenland Medal.PNG

Military long service medals

Wehrmacht Long Service Award
Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnung
Awarded to army, navy, and air force
Grades for 4, 8, 15, 25, and 40 Years of Service
SS Long Service Award
SS-Dienstauszeichnungen
Grades for 4, 12, 18, and 25 Years of Service
Wehrmacht Long Service Medal 12 years. Obverse.pngDienstauszeichnung 1939 Deutschland 20 Jahre Silber.jpg Waffen-SS Long Service Award 8 year FRONT.jpgWaffen-SS Long Service Award 12year in Silver.jpg

Arm shields

Narvik Shield, 1940 Crimea Shield, 1941–1942 Cholm Shield, 1942 Demyansk Shield, 1942 Kuban Shield, 1943 Warsaw Shield, 1944 Lapland Shield, 1944–1945
Narvikschild (ohne Tuch).png
Krimschild.png
Cholmschild.png
Demjanskschild.png
Kubanschild.png
Warschauschild.png
Lapplandschild.png

Campaign cuff titles

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

Army/Waffen-SS war badges

Infantry Assault Badge General Assault Badge Close Combat Clasp Marksmanship Badge with lanyard 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
Markmanship cord awards. No known copyright. Contrast (cropped).jpg
Silver Panzer Assault Badge.jpg
Heeres-Flak-Abzeichen.png
Fallschirmschützenabzeichen des Heeres (colored).png
Bandenkampfabzeichen.jpg
Balloon Observer's Badge Tank Destruction Badge Sniper's Badge Wound Badge Army Mountain Guide Badge Driver Proficiency Badge Badge for Destruction of Low-Flying Aircraft [de]
Ballon Observers Badge.png
Wehrmacht Panzervernichtungsabzeichen.jpg
Scharfschabz.png
Нагрудный знак за ранение-Чёрный (1939).svg
Abzeichen für Heeresbergführer 1936-45.png
Kraftfahrbewährungsabzeichen (WW2 Memorial Museum) Svolvær, Norway 2019-05-08 DSC09822 (cropped).jpg

Naval war badges

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

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.png
Flak-Kampfabzeichen der Luftwaffe.jpg
Luftwaffe Ground-Attack Badge.jpg
Luftwaffe Navigator.png
Glider Pilot Badge Radio Operator Badge & Air Gunner Badge Flyer's Commemorative Badge Aircrew Badge Sea Battle Badge [de] Luftwaffe Flying Clasps
Segelflugzeugführerabzeichen II.jpg
Fliegerschützenabzeichen.png
Fliegererinnerungsabzeichen.jpg
Fliegerschaftsabzeichen.jpg
Seekampfabzeichen.jpg
Frontflugspange.jpg

The Luftwaffe maintained two non-portable awards, the "Honor Goblet of the Luftwaffe" (Ehrenpokal für besondere Leistung im Luftkrieg) and the "Luftwaffe Honor Plate" (Ehrenschale für hervorragende Kampfleistungen der Luftwaffe). Recipients of both awards automatically received the Luftwaffe Honour Roll Clasp in January 1944.[11]

Honor Goblet of the Luftwaffe Luftwaffe Honor Plate [de] Honour Roll Clasp
Ehrenpokal.jpg
Ehrenschale.jpeg
Ehrenblattspange Luftwaffe (cropped).jpg

Foreign volunteer awards

Blue Division Medal,
Spain
Medal for Gallantry and Merit for Members of the Eastern Peoples
In various grades, with and without swords[12]
Schalburg Cross,
Denmark
5th Don Cossack
Regimental Cross[13][14]
2nd Siberian Cossack
Regimental Cross[15][14]
Blue Division Medal (anti-bolshevism) obv.jpg
Tapferkeits- und Verdienstauszeichnung für Angehörige der Ostvölker in Silber.jpg
Schalburgkreuz.jpg

Order of precedence

Within the Wehrmacht, wartime awards (German: Kriegsorden) took precedence over peacetime decorations.[16]

  1. Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
  2. Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves (and higher)
  3. Golden Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross
  4. Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
  5. Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross
  6. German Cross
  7. Honour Roll Clasp
  8. Führer Commendation Certificate
  9. Honor Goblet & Plate of the Luftwaffe
  10. Iron Cross 1st Class
  11. War Merit Cross 1st Class
  12. Iron Cross 2nd Class
  13. Combat Clasp
  14. Numbered war badges
  15. Wound Badge
  16. Tank Destruction Badge
  17. Unnumbered war badges
  18. Campaign shields & cuff titles
  19. War Merit Cross 2nd Class
  20. Ostvolk Decoration
  21. Eastern Front Medal
  22. War Merit Medal
  23. Cross of Honor (1914–1918)
  24. Spanish Cross
  25. Qualification badges
  26. Long-service awards
  27. Commemorative medals
  28. West Wall Medal
  29. Foreign decorations

See also

Notes

  1. ^ One non-German received the Knight's Cross with oakleaves and swords: Admiral Yamamoto.[6]
  2. ^ a b c While estimates vary, War Merit Crosses/Medals awards total 'some 13 million',[10] a figure reflected in total for all classes laid out here.
  3. ^ 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". A "1944 bar" was authorized for recipients of the 1939 West Wall Medal.

References

Citations
  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. ^ Littlejohn & Dodkins 1968, p. 120.
  5. ^ Littlejohn & Dodkins 1968, p. 117.
  6. ^ Scherzer 2007, p. 801.
  7. ^ Angolia 1987, p. 316.
  8. ^ Both Littlejohn & Dodkins (p. 120) and Previtera (p. 322) indicate 'about 300,000'. Some estimates are higher.
  9. ^ Previtera 2007, p. 322. Some estimates are lower.
  10. ^ Littlejohn & Dodkins 1968, p. 129.
  11. ^ Angolia 1987, p. 320.
  12. ^ Kurt-Gerhard Klietmann: Auszeichnungen des Deutschen Reiches. 1936–1945. Motorbuch, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-87943-689-4. p. 57-59
  13. ^ Littlejohn & Dodkins 1968, p. 202.
  14. ^ a b Littlejohn 1994, p. 299.
  15. ^ Littlejohn & Dodkins 1968, p. 203.
  16. ^ Lumsden 2001, p. 88.
Bibliography
  • Angolia, John (1987). For Führer and Fatherland: Military Awards of the Third Reich. R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 0912138149.
  • Littlejohn, David; Dodkins, Colonel C. M. (1968). Orders, Decorations, Medals and Badges of the Third Reich. California: R. James Bender Publishing. ISBN 978-0854200801.
  • Littlejohn, David (1994). Foreign Legions of the Third Reich. Volume 4. United States of America: R. James Publising. ISBN 0-912138-36-X.
  • Lumsden, Robin (2001). Medals and Decorations of Hitler's Germany. England: Airlife. ISBN 1-84037-178-1.
  • Previtera, Stephen Thomas (2007). The Iron Time: A History of the Iron Cross. Second edition. Winidore Press. Richmond VA. ISBN 978-0967307039.
  • Scherzer, Veit (2007). Die Ritterkreuzträger: 1939-1945 (in German). Scherzers Miltaer-Verlag, Jena, Germany. ISBN 978-3-938845-17-2.

External links