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Orders, decorations, and medals of Imperial Germany covers those decorations awarded by the states which came together under Prussian leadership to form the German Empire in 1871. For convenience's sake, this category also covers the decorations of the various German states which were no longer in existence in 1871, mainly because they had been annexed by Prussia during the Wars of Unification or before.

German Empire German Empire[]

The German Empire consisted of 25 states: four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies, seven principalities and three Hanseatic cities. In addition, the house order of the Hohenzollern principalities, although the states themselves had been annexed by Prussia, continued to be awarded in the imperial era. Each state awarded decorations for civil or military merit. The following is a list of the principal civil and military decorations of each state.

Kingdom of Prussia Kingdom of Prussia[]

Orders
Civil decorations
Military and war decorations

Kingdom of Bavaria Kingdom of Bavaria[]

  • Orders
  • Civil decorations
    • Civil Merit Medal
    • Ludwig Medal for Science and Art
    • Ludwig Medal for Industry
    • Prince Regent Luitpold Medal
  • Military and war decorations
    • Golden and Silver Military Merit Medals
    • Military Medical Decoration
    • Merit Cross for Volunteer Medical Personnel
    • Jubilee Medal for the Bavarian Army
    • King Ludwig Cross

Kingdom of Saxony Kingdom of Saxony[]

  • Orders
  • Civil decorations
    • Honor Cross and Honor Cross with Crowns (also a military decoration with swords)
    • Lifesaving Medal
    • Medal "Virtuti et Ingenio"
    • Medal "Bene Merentibus
  • Military and war decorations

Kingdom of Württemberg[]

Grand Duchy of Baden[]

Grand Duchy of Hesse[]

  • Orders
    • Order of the Golden Lion
    • Ludwigsorden
    • Order of Philip the Magnanimous
    • Order of the Star of Brabant
  • Civil decorations
  • Military and war decorations
    • Military Merit Cross 1870/71
    • General Honor Decoration for Bravery or for War Merit
    • Warrior Honor Decoration in Iron
    • Military Medical Cross, 1870/71 and 1914
    • War Honor Decoration

Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin[]

  • Orders
    • House Order of the Wendish Crown
    • Order of the Griffin
  • Civil decorations
    • Merit Medal
    • Friedrich Franz Medal
    • Medal "For Arts and Sciences"
  • Military and war decorations

Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz[]

  • Orders
    • House Order of the Wendish Crown
    • Order of the Griffin
  • Civil decorations
    • Merit Medal
  • Military and war decorations
    • Cross for Distinction in War

Grand Duchy of Oldenburg[]

Grand Duchy of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach[]

  • Orders
    • House Order of Vigilance or the White Falcon
  • Civil decorations
    • Merit Medal (to 1902)
    • General Honor Decoration (from 1902)
    • Lifesaving Medal
  • Military and war decorations

Duchy of Anhalt[]

Duchy of Brunswick[]

  • Orders
    • House Order of Henry the Lion
  • Civil decorations
    • Lifesaving Medal
  • Military and war decorations

Duchies of Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and Saxe-Meiningen[]

  • Orders
    • Ducal Saxe-Ernestine House Order and its associated merit crosses and medals (the medals were different for each duchy)
  • Civil decorations
    • Medal for Art and Science (each duchy had its own version)
    • Lifesaving Medal (each duchy had its own version)
    • Duke Carl Eduard Medal (Saxe-Coburg-Gotha)
  • Military and war decorations

Principalities of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and Hohenzollern-Hechingen[]

Principality of Lippe-Detmold[]

  • Orders
    • House Order of the Honor Cross
    • Order of Leopold
    • Lippish Rose Order for Art and Science
  • Civil decorations
    • Merit Medal
    • Lifesaving Medal
  • Military and war decorations
    • War Honor Cross for Heroic Deeds
    • War Merit Cross
    • Military Merit Medal
    • War Honor Medal

Principality of Schaumburg-Lippe[]

    • Orders
      • House Order of the Honor Cross
      • Order for Art and Science
    • Civil decorations
      • Merit Medal
      • Lifesaving Medal
    • Military and war decorations
      • Military Merit Medal
      • Cross for Loyal Service

Principalities of Reuss, Elder Line and Younger Line[]

  • Orders
    • Princely Reuss Honor Cross
  • Civil decorations
    • Merit Cross
    • Merit Medal
    • Lifesaving Medal
  • Military and war decorations
    • War Merit Cross "1914"
    • Medal for Sacrificial Activity in Wartime

Principalities of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen[]

  • Orders
    • Princely Schwarzburg Honor Cross
  • Civil decorations
    • Merit Medals for Art and Science, Trade and Industry, and Agriculture
  • Military and war decorations
    • Silver Medal for Merit in War

Principality of Waldeck[]

  • Orders
    • Order of Merit
    • Merit Cross
    • Military Merit Cross
  • Civil decorations
    • Medal for Art and Science
  • Military and war decorations
    • Friedrich Bathildis Medal

Free and Hanseatic Cities of Bremen, Hamburg and Lübeck[]

Former German states[]

The largest state to be annexed by Prussia was the Kingdom of Hanover. Other states which had ceased to exist by 1871 include the Duchy of Nassau, the electoral principality of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel), the free city of Frankfurt, and several smaller states. The following is a list of the principal civil and military decorations of these states.

  • Kingdom of Hanover
    • Orders
    • Civil decorations
      • Merit Medal
      • General Honor Decoration for Civil Merit
      • Golden Honor Medal for Art and Science
    • Military and war decorations
      • General Honor Decoration for Civil Merit
      • Langensalza Medal
      • Waterloo Medal
  • Electoral Principality of Hesse-Kassel
    • Orders
    • Civil decorations
      • Civil Merit Cross and Civil Merit Medal

First World War[]

German decorations of the First World War were those medals, ribbons, and other decoratios bestowed upon German soldiers, sailors, and also for civilians, during the First World War. These medals were awarded by both Imperial Germany and various German Kingdoms and other states and city-states of the Reich.

During the Second World War, First World War decorations were commonly displayed on Nazi Party uniforms of the period with such awards intermixed with the more recent awards and decorations of Nazi Germany.

Imperial German badges[]

  • Pilot's Badge
  • Observer's Badge
  • Air Commemorative Badge
  • Air Gunner Badge
  • U-Boat War Badge
  • Wound Badge

Non-portable awards included the "Honor Goblet for Victors in the Air" and the "National Motor and Air Travel Commendation".[1]

References[]

  1. jkmilitaria. "Imperial German Decorations". http://www.jkmilitaria.com/Germany.html. Retrieved 2005-02-14.  (English)
  • Medals and decorations of Hitler's Germany (Robin Lumsden)

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