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WWII, GERMANY, War Merit Medal (German: Kriegsverdienstmedaille)

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Description

The War Merit Medal (German: Kriegsverdienstmedaille) was a World War II German military decoration awarded to recognize outstanding service by civilians in relation to the war effort. It was instituted on 19 August 1940 and usually awarded to those workers in factories who significantly exceeded work quotas. The War Merit Medal was awarded only to Germans and non-Germans civilians, to men and women. An estimated 4.9 million medals were awarded by the end of the war in Europe. It was closely related to the War Merit Cross, which could be awarded to military personnel and civilians alike for outstanding service to the war effort.

Design. The medal was designed by Professor Richard Klein of Munich. It was a circular bronze award bearing the design of the War Merit Cross on the front (obverse), and the inscription "For War Merit 1939" (Für Kriegsverdienst) on the reverse side. It was suspended from a ribbon coloured similar to the War Merit Cross, except for a thin red vertical strip added to the center of the black portion. When worn, it was either as a medal ribbon bar above the left breast pocket (soldiers who had earned the medal as civilians could wear it on their uniform), or with the ribbon only through the second buttonhole of a jacket.

Award criteria. The War Merit Medal was awarded to civilians for outstanding service to the war effort, such as:

  • Exceeding work quotas in factories
  • Volunteering for war-related work
  • Providing outstanding service to the military
  • Making significant contributions to the war effort in other ways

The medal could be awarded to both German and non-German civilians, and to men and women.

The War Merit Medal was a relatively common award, with an estimated 4.9 million medals awarded by the end of the war in Europe. It was closely related to the War Merit Cross, which was a more prestigious award that could be awarded to both military personnel and civilians.

The War Merit Medal was discontinued after the end of World War II. It is now considered a Nazi-era decoration and is not authorized for wear by the German government.

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