Posted 6 years ago
Although Czechoslovakia did not become an independent nation until the end of the war, a provisional government had already been formed in Paris. During the war, Czechs and Slovaks living in France were given the choice of military service or internment as enemy aliens. The medal was awarded to soldiers who had served in the various Czech legions under the French, Italian and Russian Armies, those who fought in the army of any allied nation, and of course those who joined the French Foreign Legion.
Approximately 89,500 of these medals were issued, although I notice they crop up on eBay more frequently than some of the other smaller issues, possibly due to subsequent re-issues. The front of the medal has an Art Deco style winged Victory. The linden tree, symbol of the Czech nation, sprouts near Victory’s feet. The back has a shield with the lion of Bohemia with the arms of Silesia on its chest, surrounded by linden leaves. Ribbons show 1914 and 1919. “1919” includes the time when Czech forces occupied portions of Hungary and Poland which became part of Czechoslovakia. The words "SVETOVA VALKA ZA CIVILISACI" translate to “the world war for civilization.” As with some other nations, the Czechs didn’t include the names of allied nations as specified by the commission.
The medal on the left in the first photo, which is the same one in all the other photos, is an official issue by the Kremnice Mint and is marked with the designer’s name (O. Spaniel) on front and has a dull bronze finish. The medal on the right in the first picture is a reissue by Karnet & Kysely that was produced between 1945 and 1948. The reissue does not have “O. Spaniel” on the front, and has a gold-gilt finish. The long prongs visible on back of the ribbon show the standard method for attaching a single medal to a uniform. In both cases, the Czech produced ribbon colors don’t blend together like the ribbons used by the other nations.
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Many of the facts and figures I’m providing come from “The Interallied Victory Medals of World War I”, by Alexander Laslo. If you like what I’m presenting here, I recommend this book.