Timeline courtesy of The History Place http://www.historyplace.com
|War Merit Cross 2nd Class* of Nazi Germany retrieved from a fallen enemy by Wilbur C. Garner during the war. |
Footnote on the War Merit Cross 2nd Class at the end of the timeline listing.
January 30 - Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.
February 27 - The German Reichstag burns.
a. In the case of the combatant grade cross a pair of military swords, finished on both sides, were placed between the arms of the cross. This Cross was presented to Military Personnel for bravery not necessarily in the face of the enemy.
Because this cross bears no swords it was from a Non-Combatant member of Nazi Germany.
b. The War Merit Cross 2nd Class without swords was presented to those whose actions were deemed to be in furtherance of the war effort but not directly involved in military operations. This could mean civilians such as teachers and industrialists or Military personnel on occupation duty or POW camp guards.
In reality there was a gray area in which individuals received the Cross with Swords when perhaps the non-combatant grade would have been appropriate, and other receiving the Iron Cross when the War Merit Cross would have fit better.
Number of Crosses Presented:
War Merit with Swords: 6,134,959
War Merit without Swords: 1,591,567
The War Merit Cross was eventually used to recognize virtually any service, and was to become the German decoration most widely presented during the war.