WWII German War Merit Medal -
The War merit medal was instituted on 19 August 1940 to recognize outstanding service by civilians in connection with the war effort. The medal was restricted to civilians - both German and non-German - and was awarded predominantly to those working in war factories.
The medal was designed by Professor Richard Klein of Munich. It was worn either on the medal bar above the left breast pocket (soldiers who had earned the medal as civilians could wear it on the uniform), or with the ribbon only through a buttonhole of the tunic.
After 15 May 1943, the award of this medal to foreigners was supplanted by the Medal of Merit of the Order of the German Eagle.
It is estimated that approximately 4.9 million medals were awarded by war's end. Its abundant production
makes the medal relatively easy to find.
The medal was presented in an envelope wrapper. The wrapper was blue with black lettering ("Kriegs-Verdienstmedaille 1939"), with the medal itself wrapped in a small piece of tissue paper.
The sample featured here comes with the issue envelope and ribbon. It does not have the tissue paper.
The design of the medal consisted of a bronze circle bearing the design of the War Merit Cross on the front,
and the inscription "Fur Kriegs verdienh" (For War Merit 1939) on the reverse. The ribbon was
very similar in color as the ribbon of the War Merit Cross, except for a thin red vertical strip added to the center of the black portion.
The medal was not designed with crossed swords because it was a non-combat award.
This page is a recognition and identification guide for WWII German badges and awards. Multiple
detailed photos of a specific sample are provided. Descriptions point out clearly defined points
that should be noted.
One of the most commonly asked questions is "How much is my WWII German badge worth?". A price
guide is included here to address this question. The value of the badges and awards is reviewed
over a period of several years. A trend can be observed. The present worth of the German
badges in the collector's market is illustrated.
This service is provided free of charge to the visitor/enthusiast courtesy of
a company dedicated to the preservation of military history and to providing quality military
antiques and collectibles to museums, institutions and the general public.
This award is currently being
It is becoming more difficult to be able to tell the fake ones from the real ones because the quality
of the reproductions is improving. The collector must become familiarized with the construction style
and materials employed in the manufacturing of this badge. Attention to the details is critical in
order to be able to determine the authenticity of the badge.
If you have an interest is seeing other badges and awards of the Third Reich, you can do so by going
WWII German Badges and Awards
identification guide. Where we cover Heer (Army), Navy (Kriegsmarine) and
Air Force (Luftwaffe) items.