1941-1943 Commemorative German/Finnish North Front Badge

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1941-1943 Commemorative German/Finnish North Front Badge-Constructed of silvered and gilded tombak, this features a blue and white enameled medallion depicting both the Finnish and German national flags in blue, white, red, and black enamels with the Finnish rampant lion within a red enameled shield. The obverse is inscribed “Pohjoisrintama - Die Nordfront (The North Front) and the dates 1941-43 in gilded lettering. The centerpiece is superimposed on a royal blue enameled cross pattée with a swastika in between the arms, inscribed “Salla”, “Kiestiki”, “Uhtua”, and “Petsamo” (provinces and municipalities) on the arms; with a reverse screw-back. There is some toning and very minor wear.  The enamel is still vibrant with slight wear but no chipping. 

History: Finland’s history is believed to date back to the 9TH century when Finno-Ugric nomads from the central Ural region of Russia started to migrate to the region that is now known as Finland. Eventually the Finn’s were conquered by Sweden and were suppressed under Swedish rule until the Napoleonic wars of the early 1800's. In 1808 in the Third Coalition War against the French and her allies, Russia invade Finland and expelled the Swedes. Surprisingly the Russian permitted Finland to adopt a constitution although it was under Russian control as a Grand Duchy with the Czar as its figurehead. With the outbreak of the Bolshevik Revolution on November 7TH 1917 and the ensuing discord in Russia, Finland saw her chance to gain total independence and declared herself an independent state on December 16TH 1917. As a result of Finland’s declaration of independence, the Russian’s attacked and in the ensuing Finnish War of Independence the Finn’s requested military aid from Germany which helped the Finns to drive the Russian out and Finland finally gained her total independence on May 7TH 1918. Finland was able to retain her independence undisturbed until a border dispute with Russia developed into the Winter War in November 1939. Although the Finn’s were able to avoid being occupied by the Russians, large areas of territory were ceded to them and roughly ten percent of the Finnish population had to be relocated at the end of the War in March of 1940. With the German invasion of Russia in June of 1941 the pro-German Finn's allied themselves with Germany in what they termed the Continuation War, and as a result were able to retake all territory lost to the Russians in the Winter War and restore their previous border.

German nationals that were eligible for foreign awards were required to obtain the express approval of Adolf Hitler through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the only exception being that Foreign War decorations, including the Finnish awards, which did not require Hitler’s approval. The exact institution date and criteria for this award are uncertain but it is believed to be a commemorative badge for Finnish and German personnel who had participated in battle against the Soviets between 1941 and 1943. Another almost identical award was also issued that contained different dates and locations.

It is interesting that on September 4th, 1944 the Finnish signed an armistice with the Russians and as a result, German regulations of November 15th, 1944 prohibited wear of any Finnish awards by German nationals.