commemorative pin : ?, soldered ; Ht: 5,6 cm x W: 1,6 cm
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Maltese cross with a pair of swords crossing the arms of the cross in the shape of an X. The handles of the swords are at the bottom, while the end of the swords are on top. In the center on the cross is a circle in the middle of which is a swastika. Narrative: The stickpin was given as an everyday alternative to the full sized medal. The War Merit Cross had two variants : with or without swords. With swords was given to soldiers for outstanding contributions to the war effort under the enemy armed fires or for special contributions to the military warfare. Without swords was given for special contributions to the execution of other tasks of war, in which there were no war effort performed into enemy armed fires. The War Merit Cross had four levels : the Gold Knight's Cross (Goldenes Ritterkreuz), the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz), the 1st Class, (I. Klasse) and the 2nd Class (2. Klasse). The Gold Knight's Cross was never awarded, the Knight's Cross was awarded circa 230 times, the 1st class was awarded circa 140 000 times, and the 2nd class was awarded circa 2 700 000 times. The Knight's Cross was first awarded on 19 August 1940, the 1st and the 2nd classes were first awarded on 18 October 1939. After 1945, soldiers were not allowed to were the medal anymore, the wear of any Nazi emblem was prohibited, therefore the state replaced the medal in 1957. The news ones look exactly the same, except the swastika is replaced by '1939'.