© Hendrik Meersschaert 2017
WORLD WAR II ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS OF VARIOUS COUNTRIES
YUGOSLAVIA
The Royal Yugoslav Commemorative War Cross
Originally instituted on 6 September 1943 (the King's birthday) by King Peter II in exile for award to those who had fought against the Germans in Yugoslavia and to those that had rendered distinguished services to the king during his exile in Britain. The obverse bears the head of the king whereas the reverse shows General Mihailovitch. Production and actual awards of this decoration took place only after the war had ended.
Yugoslavia entered into the war when it was invaded by Germany on 6 April 1941. During the war, the king being in exile, Yugoslav resistance was mainly grouped in two patriotic camps : the Chetniks, royalists lead by Mihailovitch and the Partisans, communist resistance fighters lead by Tito. Both fought the Germans and, on some occasions each other, until the end of the war when a communist republic was proclaimed.
The Order of the National Hero
Instituted on 15 August 1943, in a single class, to award outstanding bravery in action, the last one awarded was on 16 May 1976 to Tito. From its inception till then, 45 have been awarded to military units and other organisations, 22 to Non-Yugoslavs and 1,324 to Yugoslavs. The orders was considered one of the highest ranking ones in postwar Socialist Yugoslavia : after the Order of the Yugoslav Star was created, it took 3rd rank in the order of wearing.
The Order for Freedom
This silver and enamel star, the single class of the order, was created on 9 June 1945 to recognize outstanding courage or leadership.
The Order for Bravery
Awarded for bravery in action, this decoration, again the single class of the order, was instituted on 15 August 1943. The obverse carries the text "SMRT FASIZMU / SLOBODA NARODU" (Death to Fascism, Freedom to the People) in two lines.
The Order of National Liberation
Also created on 15 August 1943, this single class order served to award distinguished service in the liberation of the country from the Nazi occupation. The small panel on the obverse carries the words "NARODNO OSLOBDENJE" (The Liberation of the Nation).
The Order of National Liberation
Awarded in three classes : gold edged and set on a gold laurel wreath for the first class, silver edged on a gold wreath for the second class and silver edged without a wreath but superimposed on crossed rifles for the third class, this decoration was again instituted on 15 August 1943. It was awarded to partisans who had shown exceptional leadership and bravery in the war.
The Order of Merit to the People
On 9 July 1945 three classes and a medal were instituted for this order. They were awarded four outstanding military or civilian merit during the war.
The Order of the People's Army
Awarded to those who had fought with great distinction against the Axis powers during World War II, this military order was created, in three classes, on 29 December 1951. The medallion's inscription stands for "Yugoslav People's Army. Defence of the Fatherland".
The Medal for Bravery
First instituted in 1943 and later revised in 1945, this gilt medal has "For Bravery" as it's reverse inscription.
The Partisan Commemorative Medal 1941
First instituted in 1943 and later revised in 1945, this gilt medal has "For Bravery" as it's reverse inscription.
The Commemorative Medal for the 30th Anniversary of the Struggle against Fascism
Croatian Awards

After the German occupation of Yugoslavia, the Kingdom of Croatia was founded under German "supervision" on 10 April 1941. The Italian Duke of Spoleto was nominated King and Dr. Ante Pavelic became "Poglavnik" ("Leader", Prime Minister). Before its liberation in 1944, a number of awards were created and these can be found in another section of this website. See Croatian WW2 Awards.