Medal commemorating the 1939/1940 war
WWII German War Commemorative Medal of 1939/1940. The front has eagle and swastika, flanked by dates “1939” and “1940”, the reverse says “DEN KÄMPFERN FÜR DIE DEUTSCHE FREIHEIT” (“TO THE FIGHTERS FOR THE FREEDOM OF GERMANY”).
The War Commemorative Medal of 1939/1940 was commissioned in the wake of the Wehrmacht’s successful conquest of France and the Low Countries, with German High Command under the assumption that the British would inevitably capitulate and the war would soon be over. With the expansion of the conflict into Africa, the Balkans, and the Soviet Union, the perception of the “invincible Wehrmacht” soon vanished and the award was scrapped.
After the victories of the Wehrmacht in the early stages of the Second World War (attack on Poland in 1939, occupation of Norway in 1940, western campaign in 1940), the thought arose in Germany that the final victory was as good as certain thanks to these blitzkriegs and would be short-lived before. The same thought can also be projected after the Balkan campaign and the great initial successes of the Wehrmacht against the Soviet Union (Operation Barbarossa) in the summer/autumn of 1941, since the medal itself was once marked with the years 1939/1940.