The medal to commemorate the 1939/1940 war was a planned, but not realized, German war award during the Second World War .
Background to the idea of creating this award
After the victories of the Wehrmacht in the initial phase of the Second World War ( attack on Poland in 1939, occupation of Norway (see Weser Exercise ) in 1940, western campaign in 1940), the thought arose in Germany that the final victory would be as good as certain and would be short-lived due to these lightning wars before. The same idea can also be projected after the Balkan campaign and the great initial successes of the Wehrmacht against the Soviet Union (see Operation Barbarossa ) in the summer / autumn of 1941, as the medal itself once with the dates 1939/1940 and1939/1941 was minted.
This is probably why the first thoughts arose on donating a kind of "commemorative medal" to the soldiers involved in the fighting. The idea for this was basically not new. As early as the First World War , a "War Memorial Medal" was planned, which ultimately became known as the "Warrior Merit Medal". However, it is no longer possible to determine on whose idea the creation and the submitted sketches are based. However, it can be assumed that the first drafts were probably requested by the Army High Command .
First attempts at embossing and abandoning the project
The first attempts at embossing were made by the Wiedmann company from Frankfurt am Main and a few copies have been delivered to the Ordenskanzlei of the Presidential Chancellery for inspection. With the expansion of the war and the decline of the nimbus of the “unbeatable Wehrmacht” at the gates of Moscow in the winter of 1941/1942, further efforts to donate a war memorial medal probably ended.
Appearance and material
The pattern embossings produced by the Wiedmann company were made from oxidized iron and brass- plated iron . The medal in memory of March 13, 1938 and its two sister pieces were apparently used as a template . On the front of the medal itself an iron cross is shown in the center, on which the army eagle (symbol of the Wehrmacht) rests with bent wings. In his clutches he holds an upside down swastika . Above and below it, the years 1939 and 1940 are embossed. Only the number 1940 is on the second coinage through the year 1941been replaced. On the back of the medal you can read in capital letters: THE FIGHTERS FOR GERMAN FREEDOM . The diameter of the medal was about 32 mm.
The medal would have been worn on a ribbon on the small or large medal buckle after the War Merit Cross. Similar to the Cross of Honor of the World War , it would probably have been awarded to all soldiers of the Wehrmacht after the war had ended victoriously. It would have had the status of a mass award. Further details or details about this medal are not available or have been lost due to the war.
- Jörg Nimmergut : German medals and decorations until 1945. Volume 4: Württemberg II - German Empire. Central Office for Scientific Order Studies, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-00-001396-2 .
- Kurt-G. Klietmann : Awards of the German Empire. 1936-1945. A documentation of civil and military merit and honor . 11th edition. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-87943-689-4 , p. 88 ff.