Original German post WW2 miniature medal for chain mounting: Military Long Service Medal for 4 Years / 1957 version - no swastika, GOOD CONDITION - NICE DETAILED EXAMPLE, SIZE: cca 16 mm
In 1957 the West German government authorised replacement Iron Crosses with an Oak Leaf Cluster in place of the swastika, similar to the Iron Crosses of 1813, 1870, and 1914, which could be worn by World War II Iron Cross recipients. The 1957 law also authorised de-Nazified versions of most other World War II–era decorations (except those specifically associated with Nazi Party organizations, such as SS Long Service medals, or with the expansion of the German Reich, such as the medals for the annexation of Austria, the Sudetenland, and the Memel region). The main government contract to manufacture and supply these new de-nazified WW2 1957 official decorations went to the world famous German firm Steinhauer & Lueck, Luedenscheid Germany. Knights Crosses, Iron Crosses , Wound Badges, Tank Assault Badges etc were re-designed by Steinhauer & Lück - often with the oak-leaf spray replacing the swastika, with S&L having the sole patent rights to all WW2 1957 German decorations. S&L did not have the whole monopoly on medal making, other famous firms such as Deschler & Sohn, BH Maher and Juncker also manufactured these new German decorations. Lüdenscheid is situated between the cities Dortmund and Bonn. It was here that one of the youngest medal firms was founded in 1889 by August Steinhauer and Gustav Adolf Lück. The first production began in a cellar, the customer base continued to increase. A property was bought at 51 Hochstrasse which is still home for this famous company today. During WW2 Steinhauer & Lück produced medals and badges, like the famous Knights Cross and many other types of medals and badges. In 1957 this company was awarded the contract to produce all the newly re-designed legal WW2 1957 de-nazified decorations, plus the contract to manufacture all of Germany's official decorations including Germany's highest order the Bundesverdienstkreuz. Only a very limited number of original WW2 1957 medals are still produced, mainly Iron Crosses, German Cross Gold & Silver & Wound Badges and are considered 100% genuine by the German Government.
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
Long Service Award (Wehrmacht-Dienstauszeichnungen) - A year after the reinstitution of the draft Germany reinstated the Long Service Awards (March 16th, 1936). All members of the Armed Forces were eligible for the award which was bestowed in five classes; four years, twelve years, eighteen years, twenty five years and fifty years. The four year service medal was mat silver and had on the obverse the Wehrmacht Eagle and the inscription "Treue Diesnste in der Wehrmacht" (Loyal Service in the Armed Forces). On the reverse it bore only the number 4 in the center surrounded by oak leaves. The twelve year award was the same design but slightly larger, in bronze, and with the number "12" replacing the "4" on the reverse. Those who served eighteen years were presented a silver Maltese cross featuring the Wehrmacht eagle in the center obverse and the number "18" on reverse. The same design was maintained for the next and highest class, awarded to those veterans who served twenty five years. The cross in this instance was gold, larger, and naturally had "25" on the reverse. A special grade for 40 years of service was also approved; This was an oak leaves set which was worn on the ribbon of the 25 years award. All levels of the award were held on blue ribbons with the appropriate branch of service attached to it. It was either the spread wing eagle for the Army and Navy or the flying eagle for the Air Force. Only two long service awards were to be worn at the same time. The 4 and 12 year classes were obviously to be worn together, but once the individual received the 25 year class, he would wear it with the 4 year class, and if the 40 year class were achieved then it would be worn with the 12 year class. The award was worn as part of a group or in the ribbon bar for daily wear. During its early years of existence the award was normally constructed of German silver and heavily plated, but from 1942 on it was made from gold or silver washed zinc. During the last year of the war, presentation of the award ceased.