Czechoslovakia became an independant state on 28 October 1918 but a provisional government had already been formed in Paris during WWI. Czechoslovakia was one of the new nations created by (or at least officially recognized and sanctioned) by the Treaty of Versailles. It was created out of lands formerly belonging to the Austro-Hungarian empire and Germany.
War Cross. Awarded for individual acts of military valour
between 27 July 1914 and 28 October 1918 (later extended to include
actions in 1919 against Poland and against Hungary).
This bronze medal was instituted on 7 November 1918 and is formed by four overlapping circles. The obverse has in the upper circle the climbing, double-tailed lion of Bohemia, in the left circle the chequered eagle of Moravia, in the right circle the Silesian eagle and in the lower circle three mountains and the double-barred cross of Slovakia. The reverse has the intertwined letters CS (Czechoslovakia) on a background of linden leaves. Functioning somewhat like the French Croix de Guerre, a number of emblems could be attached to the ribbon :
of the Revolution -- Awarded to all volunteers of the Czechoslovak
Army who enlisted before the proclamation of the Provisional Government
in Paris and to others who had rendered military or political
services towards the independance of Czechoslovakia.
The bronze medal was instituted by the Provisional Government in Paris on 1 July 1918 and consists of a cross lying on a broad circle. On the obverse cross stands a winged horse with a nude horseman holding a flag. On the riband between the cross arms is the legend "VZHURU NA STRAZ SVOBODNY NA'BODE" (keep good watch, free nations).
The reverse has a winged female figure holding a stone block over her head, while at her feet are snakes. On the stone is the text "ZA ZVOBODY" (for liberty).
A number of emblems are related to this medal : silver bars for actions and smaller bars indicating the recipient's regiment. Unit Citation emblems are also in evidence.
Among the action bars are, for Czechs fighting in France : Alsace, Argonne, Peronne and L.E. (Légion EtrangËre - the Foreign Legion), for actions in Russia : Zhorov, Bachmac, Sibir (Siberia) and C.D. (Czech Brigade) and for actions in Italy : Doss'Alto and Piave.
- Victory Medal. Awarded to all who served during WWI. The obverse of this bronze medal has the customary winged Victory with raised arms, holding an olive branch and a sword point downwards. The reverse shows a shield with the crowned rampant double-tailed lion of Bohemia with the arms of Silesia on its chest. To both sides of the shield are ribbons bearing the dates 1914 and 1919 while the shield is surrounded by small linden leaves. The reverse's edge bears a circle with the legend "SVETOVA VALKA ZA CIVILISACI" (the world war for civilization).
- Commemorative Cross for Volunteers. Awarded to those that participated in actions in Slovakia against the Hungarian troops of Bela Kun. This decoration is not for WWI action (Allies vs Central Powers), but to the related struggle for Czechoslovakia's independence immediately afterward. The obverse has a central shield with the Bohemian lion. The reverse carries the inscription: V TEZKYCH DOBACH ("In Hard Times).
Other medals during that era :
Jan Zizka Medal (non-official award which was allowed to be worn) for bravery by the Czechoslovakian Corps in Siberia.
Order of the Sokol (Sokol = falcon, again unofficial but allowed to be worn) for officers of the Czechoslovakian Corps in Siberia.
Order of the White Lion, an award to foreigners only, for services during the war in connection with the independance and formation of the Czechoslavakian Republic.
Cross for the Great War 1914-1918. Instituted in 1942
by the puppet Slovak government under German Nazi rule in lieu
of earlier awards by "foreign" nations (i.e. excepting
the "friendly" Austrian and German awards) to Slovak
Any scanned images of these medals that don't have pictures, would be greatly appreciated. Let me know.
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