SEE BELOW FOR DESCRIPTION

H031575 WAR MERIT CROSS 2ND CLASS 1939, WITH SWORDS, AWARD DOCUMENT. (Urkunde für Kriegsverdienstkreuz II mit Schwertern)

BACKGROUND: The bestowal of all awards during the Third Reich era, (January 1933-May 1945), was regulated by the Statutes of Titles, Orders and Decorations which was originally revised on January 30TH 1934, with numerous additional revisions as new awards and decorations were introduced. The regulations prescribed the criteria for bestowal and the specific form of wearing all conferred decorations and awards. Regulations of July 1ST 1937 dictated that the sole, legal, authority for bestowal of all decorations and awards lay with Adolf Hitler and the Reichs Chancellery. Although the Statutes of Titles, Orders and Decorations held the ultimate decision in all matters of awards the OKW, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, (High Command of the Armed Forces), was given control over the bestowal regulations of all military awards as long as they conformed to the appropriate statute. When bestowed the awards were usually accompanied by a "Vorläufiges Besitzzeugnis", (Preliminary Possession Certificate), followed by the official award presentation document. Depending on the specific award, bestowal authorization could be initiated by the commander of a Divisional or smaller unit, down to Company level, and the appropriate award information was entered into the recipient’s Soldbuch, (Pay Book), and his permanent Wehrstammbuch, (Military Service Book), which remained in the possession of the issuing, recruitment, authority. When the proposal for bestowal of an award was initiated the appropriate documentation was required to pass through the predetermined official channels for approval before the actual award was presented. Although a Company commander could propose the bestowal of an award, generally the recommendation had to be authorized by a Divisional or larger unit commander. This example is for bestowal of a War Merit Cross 2ND class with swords. The War Merit Cross was instituted by Adolf Hitler on October 18TH 1939, in two classes with both classes issued, with and without swords, for award to military personnel and civilians, including females and foreigners, for exemplary service and/or bravery in Germany’s war effort, in a non-combatant role. The addition of swords to the award signified bravery while awards without swords were bestowed for service. Of Note: The War Merit cross series of awards was expanded on August 19TH 1940, to include a Knight’s Cross of the War Merit Cross for award to personnel who had provided a substantial contribution to the war effort and the War Merit Medal for award to German nationals and foreign civilians who provided exceptional service to the war effort. Of Interest: Although a relatively common award with an estimate of over six million bestowed, (including awards to civilians), regulations for conferring a War Merit Cross 2ND class with swords to military personnel stated that it was to be authorized by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, {Adolf Hitler}, or his representative.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Roughly, 8 1/4" x 5 7/8", (21cm x 15cm), mid-weight paper document with black, printed Gothic/Fraktur script and typed in particulars. The script indicates that a "Unteroffizier" was awarded a War Merit Cross 2ND class with swords on, "20. April 1944". Period done "Ink spill" repair to the top left of the document. (Piece of paper was glued on top to hide the stain)

GRADE ****                             PRICE $89.00

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