Original German Kyffhauser Warrior League Commemorative Medal - WW1, IN VERY NICE CONDITION, ON NEW RIBBON, FINE EXAMPLE WITH ATTRACTIVE TARNISH / PATINA
HISTORY OF THE AWARD:
Kyffhauser 1914-1918 War Veterans Commemorative Medal (Kyffhäuserbund Kriegsdenkmedaille 1914-18 - Oval gilt bronze medal with eyelet for ribbon suspension; the face with a tattered standard, lightning bolts below, dated ‘1914 1918’ to the left above a sprig of laurel, inscribed above ‘Blank die Wehr, Rein die Her’ (Shining Arms, Pure Honour), signed ‘HOSAEUS’ at the base, all within a stylised laurel border; the reverse inscribed ‘Aufrecht u stoß gehen wir aus dem Kampfe den wir über vier Jahre gegen eine Welt von Feinden bestanden, Hindenburg’ (Upright and battered we came through four years of struggle withstanding a world of enemies, Hindenburg), a small five-pointed star above and below, circumscribed above ‘für Treue im Weltkriege’ (for Loyalty in the World War), circumscribed below ‘Der Kyffhäuserbund’, a sprig of laurel to either side; on original court mounting. The medal was instituted in 1922 and, until the issue of the Cross of Honour of the World War (Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges), better known as the ‘Hindenburg Cross’ in 1934, was often the only medal of the German soldiers of World War I. The Kyffhäuserbund der Deutschen Landeskriegerverbände veterans’ organisation was set up some years before World War I and Field Marshal Paul von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg was its President of Honour during the 1920s. After his death in 1934, the medal was amended by the National Socialist government with the addition of a cross gammée (Hackenkreuz or swastika). After WWI, a variety of German veteran organization sprang up across the country, keeping with a long-established tradition. One of these was the "Kyffhäuserbund" (Kyffhäuser Veteran's Organization) who issued a brass type oval medal to commemorate service in WWI. For many veterans, this was the only WWI service medal that was worn until the German Cross of Honor ("Ehrenkreuz") was officially established in 1934. After the Cross of Honor was authorized, many veterans continued wearing their unofficial medals so it is not uncommon to find this with an official medal grouping - usually worn on civilian clothes, band uniforms, etc. Obviously, if they were wearing their medals in official uniform, the medal wasn't allowed. It's interesting to note that many - if not most - of the organizations allowed veterans of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War to join - normally as honorary members - and allowed them to wear the organization's medals. On 2 May 1931, possibly the last Franco-Prussian War veteran joined. The main trivia point being that a Kyffhäuserbund Medal with a Franco-Prussian War Medal and 1897 Centenary Medal is unusual but certainly not impossible and does not indicate service in WWI. This very low cost medal is fairly well documented and illustrated on the internet. What generally isn't illustrated is the numerous devices or attachments that might be found with it but not necessarily. Since the veteran had to purchase the medal (often included in the initial membership fee), finances sometimes prevented buying every (or any!) device authorized. Each organization had a list of devices available and the veteran could make his own selection from that list, at an additional cost. The most common device found is the crossed swords (which indicate a combatant). Absence of the crossed swords does not necessarily mean that the recipient was a non-combatant, just that they are not on the ribbon. The medal is sometimes found with a laurel wreath supporting a diagonal sword (which usually indicates a naval combatant recipient - but it was the buyers decision). Other attachments are the various battle bars which closely resemble those found on the Franco-Prussian War Medal. Probably the most common is one that has "PARIS" (probably followed at a distant second by "YPRES") in black letters on the bar which is roughly the size of the ribbon width to almost doubled the size (depending on manufacturer). Other battle bars are available and have almost every German battle listed. The most bars I've seen attached to one medal was 7 but this one appeared to be a "made-up" grouping of bars. The rarest bars would possibly be ones for Africa (no originals are currently known). I've never seen a "country" bar - only battle associated. All devices and attachments are generally made of a similar metal as the medal but come in a wide variety of sizes and styles (depending on the manufacturer). The impressed names on the bars are usually filled in with black enamel. Most devices use a double prong back attachment although one series of the battle bars are the "slide-on" type and are large enough for a double-wrap ribbon. Kyffhäuserbund (Kyffhäuser League) is an umbrella organization for War Veterans' and Reservists' Associations in Germany. It owes its name to the Kyffhäuser Monument (German: Kyffhäuserdenkmal), a memorial built on the summit of the 473 m high Kyffhäuser Mountain near Bad Frankenhausen in the state of Thuringia in central Germany. The Kyffhäuserbund's origins lie in a section of the Deutscher Kriegerbund (German Warrior League) that established a league in 1900 that would unite the formerly scattered German war veterans' associations. Some of these organizations had been already administrating the maintenance of the memorial together. The league was initially named "Kyffhäuserbund der deutschen Landeskriegerverbände" (Kyffhäuser League of the German Countries' Warriors Associations), a name that became later abbreviated to "Kyffhäuserbund". By 1913 this umbrella organization had already 2.8 million war veterans as its members and it had become one of the largest societies in Germany. During the time of the German Empire the Kyffhäuserbund was instrumentalized against the growing social democratic movement in Germany. The difficult circumstances of World War I's postwar years led to a significant shrinking of the veterans' associations and their role. In 1921, during the Weimar Republic, this organization shed its federal structure and centralized itself under a common leadership. Following this step it changed its name to "Deutscher Reichskriegerbund 'Kyffhäuser' e.V." (German Warriors Association 'Kyffhäuser').