Product Description: This is a great, representative example of the hard-to-find Memel Medal. The Memel Medal is by far the rarest of these 1938-39 German occupation medals. This example is the original type known to collectors as the “straight G variant,” due to the distinctive lettering on the reverse. It shows some wear on the front, with a dark, old patina to the original bronze finish. The reverse also has built up old patina, with some original luster still evident around the lettering. The ribbon on this Memel Medal is the correct, issue type, with a brass alloy pin neatly hand-stitched to the top to enable it to be pinned to a uniform on the day it was awarded. The ribbon is intact, with some tiny frayed areas on edges, and toning from age. This Memel Medal remains in excellent condition overall.
Historical Description: In 1938 and 1939, a triumphant, ascendant Germany used a combination of political/diplomatic pressure and military operations/threats to annex and occupy (or re-occupy) areas that were to become part of the Greater German Reich. To recognize these successes, the German government instituted a series of three medals, known as the German Occupation Medals (or “Flower War Medals). There were three of these awards, all with the same obverse design. They were designed by Professor Richard Klein of Munich, and featured two nude men, one bearing a Nazi flag, ascending a podium with the German eagle and swastika emblem. Each of the three different awards had a different date on the reverse (the date of the event each commemorated), and each had a different ribbon. The first of these medals to be instituted was the medal for the Austrian Anschluss, which appeared on May 1 1938, and bore the date “13. März 1938.” It had a silver finish, and a red ribbon with white-black-white stripes at the edges. The next “Flower War” medal to be instituted, and the one awarded in the greatest numbers, came on October 18 1938, to commemorate the occupation of the Sudetenland on October 1. It had a bronze finish and a red and black ribbon. The reverse of each of these bore the lettering “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer” (One People, One Nation, One Leader” with German swastika emblems and the date of institution of the award. The last of these medals, the “Memel Medal,” was authorized on May 1, 1939, and commemorated the return of the Memel Territory on March 22 1939. This medal had a different reverse, a bronze finish and a ribbon with white, red, and green stripes. This medal was only awarded 31,322 times (compared to 318,689 awards of the Anschluss medal and 1,162,617 awards of the Sudetenland medal). Issue of “Flower Wars” medals ceased at the end of 1940.
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