Orders, decorations, and medals of Nazi Germany

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Awards and Decorations of Nazi Germany were military, political and civilian decorations which were bestowed between 1923 and 1945 by the Nazi Party and later the state of Nazi Germany.

The first awards began in the 1920s, before the Nazis had come to power in Germany, with the political decorations worn on early Party uniforms. Most early Nazis also displayed awards they may have earned as soldiers and sailors 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 the Reich. 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 military and civil service long service decorations and life-saving medals, were redesigned to incorporate the Nazi symbol, the swastika.

Third Reich military awards are by far the most commonly recognised. Military long service decorations, awards for participants in the Spanish Civil War and medals for the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland were among early awards, but the greatest number began to be bestowed in 1939 after the start of World War II. Regulations of award issuance also permitted the simultaneous wear of military, civilian, and political decorations on any military or para-military uniform of the Third Reich, allowing for a wide variety of combinations in manner of wear and awards displayed.

Nazi awards and decorations were discontinued after the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. After the end of World War II, new German military awards were created under the authority of the West German military and the East German communist regime.

Orders[edit]

Badge And RibbonName (English/German)Creation Date – Cessation DateDescriptionNumber Awarded
Stargrandcross.jpg

Order Of The Star Of The Grand Cross Of The Iron Cross./Stern zum Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes.

1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945Intended to be awarded to the most successful German General/Field Marshal of the Second World War, once Greater Germany had achieved victory.0
GCLuftwaffe.JPG

Order Of The Grand Cross Of The Iron Cross./Großkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes.

1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945Awarded to victorious Generals/Field Marshals of German forces and her allies. Hermann Göring was the only recipient of this award during the second world war after his part in the victory over Poland, France, Denmark, Norway and the BeNeLux nations. He was awarded this award on 19 July 1940.1
BmRKELSBGold.jpg

Order Of The 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 1945To be awarded after the second world war to Greater Germany's 12 greatest war heroes. Adolf Hitler prematurely awarded Hans-Ulrich Rudel with the golden oak leaves for continuous outstanding achievements and heroism. Then and to this day Hans-Ulrich Rudel was the greatest scoring ground-attack pilot in history.1
Bm RK EK mit Eichenlaub Schwerten Brillanten(4).jpg

Order Of The 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 1945Awarded 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
(1 Spaniard)

Order Of The 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 1945Awarded 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
(157 German,
1 Japanese,
2 Spaniards)
Kcog.jpg

Order Of The Knight's Cross Of The Iron Cross With Oak Leaves./Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes mit Eichenlaub.

3 June 1940 – 8 May 1945Awarded 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)
RK EK.png

Order Of The Knight's Cross Of The Iron Cross./Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes.

1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded all preceding classes of the Iron Cross.7,318

Order Of The Iron Cross (1st Class)/Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse

1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops after being awarded the preceding class of the Iron Cross.c730,000
Iron Cross - 2nd Class.jpg

Order Of The Iron Cross (2nd Class)/Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse

1 September 1939 – 8 May 1945Awarded for bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops.c4,750,000
GermanCrossInGoldWithDiamonds.jpg

Order Of The German Cross (Gold Class With Diamonds)/Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold mit Brillanten)

October 1942 – 8 May 1945To be awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops (Having already being awarded the German Cross (Gold Class)) but no awards were ever made.0
DeutschesKreuzinGold.jpg

Order Of The German Cross (Gold Class)/Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Gold

28 September 1941 – 8 May 1945Awarded for continuous bravery before the enemy or excellence in commanding troops (Not justifying the Knight’s Cross Of The Iron Cross but having already being awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class)24,204
(24,190 German,
14 Axis Allies)
GermanCrossInSilver.jpg

Order Of The German Cross (Silver Class)/Kriegsorden des Deutschen Kreuzes in Silber

28 September 1941 – 8 May 1945Awarded for significant performances in aiding/supplying the military war effort. (Not justifying the Knight’s Cross Of The Iron Cross but having already being awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class)1,115

Third Reich awards[edit]

The following articles deal with each section of Third Reich awards:

Pre-Third Reich awards[edit]

Orders, decorations and medals earned by Germans before the Nazi assumption of power continued to be worn and were incorporated into the prescribed orders of precedence and uniform regulations for the German armed forces and civil organisations in the Third Reich. These included awards of Imperial Germany and its members states (Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, etc.), awards of the Weimar Republic and awards of Austro-Hungary (after the 1938 annexation, Austrian awards were treated as another class of state award like Prussian and Bavarian).

German decorations of the First World War were by far the most numerous of pre-Third Reich decorations displayed on Nazi uniforms. Prior to Hitler assuming power, when the Nazi Party was simply a paramilitary political party, Nazi uniforms also displayed several awards of the Freikorps. Awards of the German Freikorps were prohibited from wear after Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, with any veteran who had received one then eligible for the Cross of Honor of World War I. In all, nearly eight million persons applied for, and received, the Cross of Honor in lieu of a former unofficial veteran or Freikorps medal.

External links[edit]