|Croix de guerre 1914–1918|
1914–1918 Croix de guerre with three citations
2 bronze palms
1 silver gilt star
|Awarded by France|
|Awarded for||Military duty during World War I, valor in battle|
|Established||2 April 1915|
|Total awarded||2.065 million|
|Next (higher)||Ordre National du Mérite|
|Next (lower)||Croix de guerre 1939–1945|
Ribbon bar & streamer of the French Croix de guerre 1914–1918
The Croix de guerre 1914–1918 (English: War Cross) is a French military decoration, the first version of the Croix de guerre. It was created to recognize French and allied soldiers who were cited for their service during World War I, similar to the British mentioned in dispatches.
Soon after the outbreak of World War I, French military officials felt that a new military award had to be created. At that time, the "Citation du jour" ("Daily Service Citation") already existed to acknowledge soldiers, but it was just a sheet of paper.
At the end of 1914, General Boëlle, Commandant in Chief of the French 4th Army Corps, tried to convince the French administration to create the formal military award. Maurice Barrès, the noted writer and deputy of Paris, gave Boëlle support in his efforts.
On December 23, 1914, the French deputy Georges Bonnefous proposed a legislative bill to create the "Croix de la Valeur Militaire" ("Cross of the Military Valor") signed by 66 other deputies. Émile Driant, a deputy who served in the war zone during much of this time, became its natural spokesman when he returned to the legislature. On 18 January 1915, Émile Driant submitted this bill but the name of the military award was renamed the Croix de guerre ("Cross of War"). After parliamentary discussions, the bill was adopted on 2 April 1915.
World War I began in 1914 and ended in 1918, so the final name became "Croix de guerre 1914–1918".
Every "Croix de guerre" carries at least one mention awarded for gallantry to any member of the French military or its allies. Degrees indicate the importance of the former soldier's role during the War. The lowest degree is represented by a bronze star and the highest degree is represented by a silver palm. The number of mentions on a Croix de guerre is not limited.
The cross was designed by the sculptor Paul-Albert Bartholomé. It is 37 mm in diameter, Florentine bronze cross patée, with two crossed swords between the arms. The center of the front side shows the symbolic profile of the French Republic: a young woman wearing a Phrygian cap. The words République française (French Republic) encircle the portrait. The back of the medal shows the dates of the conflict: first, it was 1914–1915 then 1914–1916, 1914–1917 and finally 1914–1918. The cross is suspended by a green ribbon with seven narrow vertical red stripes.
The lowest degree is represented by a bronze star and the highest degree is represented by a silver palm. The cross was worn with the appropriate attachments to signify the singular or multiple awards of the decoration.
- Bronze star (étoile en bronze): for those who were mentioned at the regiment or brigade level.
- Silver star (étoile en argent): for those who were mentioned at the division level.
- Silver gilt star (étoile en vermeil): for those who were mentioned at the corps level.
- Bronze palm (palme en bronze): for those who were mentioned at the army level.
- Silver palm (palme en argent): represents five bronze mentions.
- Ribbons of the French military and civil awards
- Croix de guerre 1939–1945
- Croix de guerre des Théatres d'Opérations Exterieures
- Croix de guerre (Belgium)
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