Welcome to DECODED, a blog site for those interested in the period of history between the end of the Second World War and the final reunification of Berlin, Germany. This site is maintained by a Cold War history enthusiast, for other Cold War history enthusiasts and will be a source of information from both sides of the Cold War for history enthusiasts, political science fans, researchers, military history collectors and military veterans alike. Please visit the site regularly for updates. This site by no means is to represent or endorse any political agenda or ideology, information contained within is strictly used for the purpose of education and preservation of history for future generations. Thank you for visiting my blog, and welcome to the brink...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

World War II Service Honored: The 1957 Bundeswehr Awards

At the end of the Second World War, the allied authorities outlawed the services of the German Wehrmacht and in subsequent policies any symbol that was affiliated with the Nazi government of the Third Reich was outlawed and made illegal. When the Bundeswehr was reinstated as the new armed services of the West German state in 1955, provisions were instituted as to those who could join the new military and those who could not serve. On 26 July 1957, the West German federal government established the Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen which translates into 'Law regarding Titles, Medals and Decorations' which stipulated the authorized wear of medals and military decorations from not only the Second World War Wehrmacht but also certain awards and decorations of the Weimar Republic. It also paved way for the establishment of federal awards that could be awarded by the Federal Republic of Germany.

Later on the Gesetz über Titel, Orden und Ehrenzeichen would be shortened into Ordensgesetz or 'Medal Law'. The law was established in accordance with German criminal codes that forbid the distribution or public display of symbols of the defeated Third Reich without approved purposes such as academic or historical reasons. It stated that awards issued before the 1933 rise to power of the Nazis were allowed to be worn as long as they were worn in their original form free of influence from the National Socialists. One of the main provisions of the law was that medals and decorations granted for military service between 1933 and the defeat of Germany in 1945 may only be worn if symbols such as the swastika, SS runes or other symbols associated with extremism were removed.

The law stated that further medals designed under the Hitler regime were not allowed to be produced, offered, inventoried, sold or used in commerce by any means. Also prohibited was the wear of occupational medals attributed to German annexation and expansion under Nazi aims. This was supplimented by the authorization and release of substituted forms of these awards of 1933-1945. These awards wer generally referred to as 1957 series awards. It was shortly after the issue of the Ordensgesetz provisions that the West German government decided that the extensive use of neck mounted orders common during the years of the Third Reich would be phased out in favor of the ribbon bar system commonly used in western military services.

Authorized 1957 awards issued in a military ribbon form included:

Military Valor Awards

Knights Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords

Knights Cross with Oak Leaves

Knights Cross

Military Meritorious Awards

German Cross in Gold

German Cross in Silver

Iron Cross 1st Class

Iron Class 2nd Class

War Merit Cross 1st Class with Swords

War Merit Cross 1st Class

War Merit Cross 2nd Class with Swords

War Merit Cross 2nd Class

War Merit Cross 3rd Class

Heer Honor Clasp

Navy Honor Clasp

Military Service Awards

Armed Forces 12 Years Service

Armed Forces 4 Years Service

Wound Badges 

Gold Wound Badge

Silver Wound Badge

Black Wound Badge

Arm Shields

Demjansk Campaign Shield

Krim Campaign Shield

Kuban Campaign Shield

Lappland Campaign Shield

Narvik Campaign Shield

Cuff Titles

Afrika Cuff Title

Metz Cuff Title

Kurland Cuff Title

Kreta Cuff Title

Army War Badges

Silver Infantry Assault Badge

Bronze Infantry Assault Badge

General Assault Badge with Number

General Assault Badge

Close Combat Badge in Gold

Close Combat Badge in Silver

Close Combat Badge in Bronze

Armored Assault Badge with Number

Armored Assault Badge in Silver

Armored Assault Badge in Bronze

Tank Destruction Badge in Gold

Tank Destruction Badge

Aircraft Destruction Badge

Drivers Badge

Naval War Badges

Navy Destroyer Badge

Navy High Seas Fleet 

Navy Blockade Runner

Navy Auxiliary Cruiser

Navy Minesweeper

Navy Small Battle Unit Close Combat Clasp

Luftwaffe War Badges

Luftwaffe Flak Gunner

Luftwaffe Parachutist 

Luftwaffe Ground Assault


Luftwaffe Observer

Luftwaffe Aerial Gunner

Luftwaffe Gold Recon Clasp with Number

Luftwaffe Gold Recon Clasp

Luftwaffe Silver Recon Clasp

Luftwaffe Dive Bomber Clasp with Number

Luftwaffe Air to Ground Combat Clasp

Luftwaffe Armored Assault Badge

Luftwaffe Transport Pilot Combat Clasp

Balloon Pilots Bade

Other Awards

Russian Front

Red Cross Medal 1st Class

RAD Service Award

1936 Olympic Games Service 2nd Class

1936 Olympic Games Service 3rd Class

Fire Brigade Cross 2nd Class

25 Years Faithful service to the Third Reich

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