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Swiss Medals VIII

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Military Medals105 of 219Anyone know what this medal is?  Swedish? Danish? WWI? WWII?Swiss Medals VII
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Posted 2 years ago

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Militarist
(128 items)

When a Swiss soldier reaches age 55 he is retired from military service. There is a retirement ceremony which centers around the return of his weapon. I have also run into a retirement medal dated 1991 which is a good way to end my Swiss military medals series. There is one more medal type which should be mentioned here since I frequently see it incorrectly listed as a military medal on ebay and that is the Swiss Gratitude Medal of WWI.
As the Swiss learned during the Napoleonic wars; declaring neutrality is not enough unless you can defend it. By the time WWI started the Swiss were prepared. They mobilized their armed forces and were ready to defend their fortified borders. Calling up about 25 percent of the population to military service for a small nation like Switzerland has some serious economic costs. Besides the obvious direct costs there were hidden costs. The tourist trade income was drastically cut as was industrial and agricultural production. Added to this is the cost of feeding and housing large numbers of refugees and military internees. This was a dire situation for a small country that needed to import food even in peace time. Fortunately for the Swiss the United States was able to prevent famine in Switzerland and the Swiss were very grateful. President Wilson as the representative of the American People, was presented with a medal on behalf of the Swiss People. The medal was funded by public subscription and every one who donated enough money got a bronze or silver medal like the two illustrated here. The design is the same as the official medal given to President Wilson featuring an American eagle flying to the right (east) with wheat in it’s talons and an inscribed reverse. The fact that the medals are not rare indicates that large numbers of Swiss participated in the funding effort.

Comments

  1. Militarist Militarist, 2 years ago
    Thanks Bellin. I have to agree with you, if you like art work, medals, especially the older Swiss medals are very impressive. Even more amazing is to think that all this is compressed into metal that is only fractions of a millemeter in depth.
  2. miKKoChristmas11 miKKoChristmas11, 2 years ago
    Most beautiful medals and decorations, sir, and a splendid collection! Thank you for the wonderful descriptions, which are rich in historical information and a pathos that perhaps most of us have never heard. I for one am accustomed to hearing the Swiss scorned as appeasers and the Nazi's pet bankers. The impression given is that Switzerland just said to the Nazi's 'step this way, and let us do your banking for you'. Belgium suffered a similar fate in WWII. They fought, but they were completely overrun in but 10 days. Belgium surrendered, and later the king abdicated to his son, who was free of the stain of ‘surrender’. Little mention is made of the brave Belgian warrior, and of the persistent and crazy-brave Belgian resistance fighters. Yes, there are many tales of valor to be recounted of soldiers Swiss and Belgian, and of the Swiss and Belgian citizens. I thank you very much for most unusual series of Swiss medals and for their evocative and rich descriptions. I was completely ignorant of most of the information that you presented, and had never seen these pieces. Magnificent series!
  3. Militarist Militarist, 2 years ago
    Thanks miKKO. You brought up the Belgians who were also declared neutrals but have an unfortunate geography which is impossible to defend. If Belgium had been as mountainous Switzerland history would certainly have been different.
  4. Militarist Militarist, 2 years ago
    Thanks AR, a navy ship would be neat but I don't think that the Swiss would have ever thought of that unless they have some customs service boats on Lake Constance.

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