Base Material: Zinc
Product Description: Austrian Merit Medal made of silvered zinc. Ring has broken off. Patina throughout.
Historical Description: The various European nations, states, kingdoms, and empires in existence from the second half of the 19th century through the interwar period prior to 1939 issued an extremely wide array of medals, orders, and awards of all kinds. Awards were issued for military as well as for civil service. Some awards were bestowed for acts of bravery or some other specific individual merit. At the other end of the scale, were commemorative medals that were issued en masse to whole organizations, to recognize some special event or anniversary. The issue of medals and awards increased exponentially during the first World War, and many who fought in those years went on to have long medal bars that displayed their various decorations. Issue of medals for WWI service did not cease in 1918. After the war, the authority to bestow awards seems to have become a subject of confusion in some nations, with various veteran organizations issuing unofficial commemorative medals that were not state sanctioned. When the Third Reich period began in 1933, the very first award officially instituted was a commemorative medal for WWI veterans- the so-called Hindenburg Cross.
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