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Locally Issued Medals

Veterans are pretty much the same all over the world. Most of them regardless of country or war were all draftees or volunteers with honorable intentions. Any differences between them are usually cultural like the Japanese view of war and death or governmental like the Hessians being rented to the British during the American Revolution. Nearly just as universal is the gratitude felt by the civilian populations for their boys in uniform. Often this gratitude is expressed in the form of locally issued medals given to the returning veterans after a war. In the United States local medals first appeared after the Civil War and reached a peak after the First World War. The United States Federal Government for most of it’s history lagged behind in the issue of military service medals so the locally issued medals by the states and local authorities actually filled a recognition gap and also gave the population a way to show it’s appreciation. In Germany the situation was very different. The German States and the later united Germany had a strong military tradition which included a slew of medals for their troops. The issue of German military service medals for the troops really started after their “War of Liberation” against Napoleon. Later on came the “Wars of Unification” culminating with the Franco-Prussian War. Just collecting the officially issued medals of the German states for those wars is a major project. Local medals for these wars were not issued to the veterans until 1895-96 on the 25th anniversary of the battle of Sedan and again in 1910 on the 40th anniversary. After World War One the few locally issued German medals were issued in a more timely fashion; just like those in the US to fill a recognition gap since no national issues were forth coming. Based on these observations I can say that locally issued medals are most likely to be found on the wining side of any war especially if there is a recognition gap on the national level.