© Hendrik Meersschaert 2017
WORLD WAR II ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES
FINLAND
The Order of the Cross of Liberty
On 16 December 1940, the Crosses and Medals of Liberty of the Liberation War (1918) were used as a basis for the institution of the Order of the Cross of Liberty. The Order was set up as an award system for bravery or meritorious services rendered.
It is an extensive order with various classes, ribbons and devices.

Classes are :
Grand Cross - military or civil division
Cross of Liberty 1st Class - military or civil division
Cross of Liberty 2nd Class - military or civil division
Cross of Liberty 3rd Class - military or civil division
Cross of Liberty 4th Class  military and civil division
It should be noted that many variations exist, e.g. the Cross 4th class with homefront ribbon (right), awarded to civilians who participated in combat, which has the insignia of a military cross with a civil ribbon. Also note that the ribbon for the civil division was red with white stripes in 1939, yellow with red stripes from 1941 onwards.

Also :
* The Military Division has "swords" (2 armoured arms holding a sword).

* Oakleaves can be worn on the Military Division crosses if awarded for bravery (only with reverse dated 1941 awards),

* The 1st Class Cross can be awarded with or without a breast star,

* Crosses 2nd, 3rd, 4th Class and Medals 1st and 2nd Class can be awarded with a red cross.
Medal of Liberty 1st Class
Medal of Liberty 2nd Class
Medal of Merit 1st Class
Medal of Merit 2nd Class
There are also a number of "Special Awards"  linked to the Order of the Cross of Liberty :

The Mannerheim Cross 1st Class and 2nd Class

and,

The Cross and the Medal of Mourning
The Order of the White Rose of Finland
Although not a World War II order (instituted in 1929), I have included it as it was awarded during the war.

Classes are :
Grand Cross with Collar and Breast Star
Grand Cross
Commander 1st Class
Commander
Knight 1st Class
Knight
Medal of the White Rose 1st Class with Gold Cross
Medal of the White Rose 1st Class
Medal of the White Rose 2nd Class
Note :
Awards of the Grand Cross and Commander can be made with or without "swords"
The Commander 1st Class badge is either with Breast Star or with swords.
The Order of the Lion of Finland
This Order was instituted on 11 September 1942 and awarded for distinguished services by military or civilian personnel. Military recipients receive their award "with swords" for service rendered in times of war.

Classes are :
Grand Cross
Commander 1st Class
Commander
Knight 1st Class
Knight
Cross of Merit
Pro Finlandia Medal
Note :
All awards except the Pro Finlandia Medal can be made with "swords" ,
The Commander 1st Class badge is either with Breast Star or with swords.
The Commemorative Medal of the Winter War 1939-40
In total 15 bars (maximum 1 bar on any medal) were instituted for this medal, 11 for service in sectors of the front, 4 indicating the service the recipient did duty in. The medal was instituted on 2 August 1940 and is made of blackened iron. The reverse inscription, "KUNNIA ISĂ„NMAA", stands for "Honour, Fatherland". Foreigners could receive a medal in gold, silver or bronze with a different, bilingual (Swedish & Finnish) inscription. A crossed swords device is believed to indicate actual combat participation.
The Commemorative Medal of the Continuation War 1941-45
Instituted as late as 24 May 1957, this medal has a different reverse for Swedish speaking Finns. One bar was instituted for service in Lapland.
The Medals of Merit for Civil Defence
These medals, a first and a second class, were instituted on 25 October 1940 for meritorious service in war or peace. A bar for the Winter War (lettered "1939-1940") and one for the Continuation War ("1941-1944") were created.
The Badge for Disabled Veterans 1939-45
These medals, a first and a second class, were instituted on 25 October 1940 for meritorious service in war or peace. A bar for the Winter War (lettered "1939-1940") and one for the Continuation War ("1941-1944") were created.
In addition to the above awards, Finland has created a large number of Commemorative Crosses and Medals for the 1939-45 period.
Click on the ribbon bar below to go to the appropriate page on this subject ...