Original WWII German Medal Bar with Iron Cross 2nd Class 1939 and War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords
Original Item: One-of-a-kind. This is very nice a 100% genuine medal bar removed from the uniform of a fallen or captured German soldier during WWII, and brought home by an American soldier as a war trophy. The medals and ribbons are attached to a very nice metal backing, with a nice hinged attachment pin.
The set of 2 medals consists of the following:
- WWII Iron Cross 2nd Class 1939 (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse, or EKII)
- WWII War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords
Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz) 2nd Class:
The Iron Cross (Eisernes Kreuz, abbreviated EK) was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire (1871–1918) and Nazi Germany (1933–1945). It was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars (EK 1813). Louise was the first person to receive this decoration (posthumous). The recommissioned Iron Cross was also awarded during the Franco-Prussian War (EK 1870), World War I (EK 1914), and World War II (EK 1939, re-introduced with a swastika added in the center).
The Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. Two examples of this were civilian test pilots Hanna Reitsch who was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and 1st Class and Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg, who was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class, for their actions as pilots during World War II.
Please note the edge seam for authentication, which is not present on reproductions. Iron crosses were commonly constructed from an iron core sandwiched in a surrounding two part silver frame, normally the seam of these two silver parts is visible around the edge of the cross as is seen on this fine example.
War Merit Cross 2nd Class (Kriegsverdienstkreuz) with Swords (for Combat)
This was a decoration of Nazi Germany during the Second World War, which could be awarded to military personnel and civilians alike. By the end of the war it was issued in four degrees, and had a related civil decoration. It was created by Adolf Hitler in October 1939 as a successor to the non-combatant Iron Cross which was used in earlier wars. The award was graded the same as the Iron Cross: War Merit Cross Second Class, War Merit Cross First Class, and Knights Cross of the War Merit Cross. The award had two variants: with swords given to soldiers for exceptional service "not in direct connection with combat", and without swords for meritorious service to civilians in "furtherance of the war effort". As with the Iron Cross, Recipients had to have the lower grade of the award before getting the next level.
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