Posted 6 years ago
Rumania entered the war after Allied promises of support and territorial gains once the war ended. Rumania moved its army north toward Transylvania, which it wanted to annex. At the time Transylvania was part of Hungary, but over half the people living there were Rumanian. When the Rumanian Army advanced on Transylvania, the Central Powers attacked From Bulgaria in the south as well as Transylvania in the north, sandwiching the Rumanians in between. Eventually the Rumanians had to retreat to Moldavia. As the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, the Rumanians did manage to annex Transylvania, a move recognized and accepted in the Treaty of Versailles at the end of the war.
There were about 300,000 of these medals issued. The medal was designed by Constantin Kristesko, an obscure Rumanian sculptor who worked in Paris. It is believed the official issues were manufactured by the company M. Deland of Paris. Unofficial issues were being manufactured in Rumania and many veterans purchased those versions instead of going through the process of applying and waiting for the official issue to arrive. The back translates as “The Great War for Civilization” over a double axe, surrounded by olive and oak branches circled by a chain with each link having the name of an ally.
As usual, the medal to the left in the first photo and in the second and third photos is the official issue. Kristesko’s name appears on the back near the edge of the medal at about 4 o’clock (see arrow) On the right in the first photo is a contemporary unofficial issue such as a veteran may have purchased and worn. It not only omits Kristesko’s name, but misspells the ally “Grecia” (Greece) as “Crecia” on the back. Once again the ribbon on the unofficial version is a replacement. The ribbon on the official version is a badly stained original. Photo four shows how the original medal ribbon has a hook and eye attachment on the back for connecting to a ribbon bar.
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Choosing the Victory Medal ribbon:
According to a 1933 letter by the British delegate to the victory medal commission, F.E.G. Ponsonby, there was debate about the colors to be used in the ribbon. It seemed like all the countries wanted their national colors represented. At one point the French delegate said that the only way they could satisfy everyone was to have a rainbow. The British didn’t like that idea because they already had a medal with a rainbow colored ribbon (the 1914 Star). Therefore, the French proposed to have a double rainbow. According to other reports, it was a proposal by the American representative, Col. Mott, to have a double rainbow. In Mott’s report, the double rainbow was to symbolize the bringing together of the Allied and Associated nations at the color red, a color associated with conflict and bravery. I personally suspect that they came up with the rainbow to solve the issue about representing all national colors, made it a double rainbow because the symmetry was more appealing, and then made up the symbolism to back up their decision.