Posted 5 years ago
Ninety-three years ago on November 11th, a war that killed fifteen million soldiers and civilians ended. Traditionally, allies awarded each other’s armies medals, but the size of the armies and number of allies made this impractical. Therefore, a commission of representatives of the victorious nations met to agree on a common medal to be awarded to all veterans and families of the fallen. In part, the commission specified an identical rainbow colored ribbon. The medal itself would have the figure of a winged Victory and no inscription on front. The reverse was to include the inscription "The Great War for Civilization" and the names or insignia of the allied nations. Each nation could come up with a design within that framework. For many years now, I’ve collected the various nations’ victory medals. I intend to post a nation a day until November 11th, starting with the smallest issue in my collection.
The first Victory Medal is from Cuba, and it’s one of the rarer ones, with no more than 7000 issued. The day after the US declared war, the Cuban President and Congress moved to join with the United States as its ally. Although Cuba never sent a military mission to Europe, its navy, consisting of one cruiser, one school ship, and eighteen revenue cutters patrolled against German U-boats operating in the Caribbean. Although Cuba joined the war in solidarity with the U.S., The U.S. omitted Cuba from the back of its victory medal. Although Cuba was not part of the Victory Medal Commission, this slight may have prompted the Cuban government to create its own Victory medal.
Mine is badly worn and the ribbon is a replacement. It was designed by Charles Charles (That’s not a typo, his mom must have had a sense of humor) and manufactured by Chobillon of Paris. The design on front was also used on some unofficial French Victory medals, so the Cubans may have chosen an existing design. This medal has a triangular shaped stamp (The Chobillon Hallmark) and the word BRONZE impressed on the rim, which can barely be seen on my copy due to the wear and a number of rim dings. As per the commission’s instructions, This medal’s reverse proclaims “la Gran Guerra por la Civilizacion” and lists the allied nations as Francia, Inglaterra, Estados Unidos, Rumania, Brasil, Rusia, Belgica, Italia, Servia, Montenegro, Portugal, Japon, China and Grecia.