A 1939 Voyage of the KdF Cruise Ship "Robert Ley" to Norway Medal
A 1939 Voyage of the KdF Cruise Ship "Robert Ley" to Norway Medal - Bronze gilt, obverse illustrating the left-facing cruise ship "Robert Ley", a large swastika behind, inscribed "NORWEGENFAHRT DER DEUTSCHEN TECHNIK" above and "10-16. V. 1939" below, reverse illustrating a spread-winged eagle, its head turned to the right and clenching a wreathed swastika in its talons, inscribed "JHREM GROSSEN SOHN PROF. DR. JNG. F. TODT SEINE VATERSTADT PFORZHEIM" below, 35 mm, light contact, extremely fine. Footnote: When Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party came to power in Germany after the election of 1933, he soon began taking steps to transform the country into his dream, a Third Reich. Seeing all labour unions as a threat to this dream, he almost immediately forbid all such activities in Germany. However, he needed the workers on his side to reach his goals, and so he founded the Deutsche Arbeitsfront (DAF) or German Labour Front, of which every worker had to become a member. Things were not that easy though. The working class would not join the DAF simply because Hitler said so. What he needed was a carrot to lure them. In 1934, the propaganda division of the Nazi Party came up with the solution – a program that would go under the name "Kraft durch Freude" (KdF), or "Strength through Joy". The idea was rather simple: as a member of the German Labour Front or Nazi Party, everyone would be given the opportunity of a low-price ship cruise to various destinations. This scheme would make the workers happy, and happy workers would result in more labour, hence the program's name. The KdF prigram was not only a way to keep the labourers content, it was also a good way to make use of ships that would otherwise had been laid up because of the Depression. Several vessels were requisitioned from Germany's three largest shipping companies: Hamburg-Amerika Line, Norddeutchscher Lloyd and Hamburg-South America Line. Not long after the first KdF cruises, the Nazis could see that the program was a complete success. The German working class adored the exotic destinations that were offered, as they could never have dreamed that they would someday experience such voyages. Nearly all voyages were fully booked, with the astonishing progress of the program necessitating the ordering of two new ships especially built for Kdf cruising purposes. The first of the two vessels, the "Wilhelm Gustloff" was launched from Hamburg in 1937. The second ship, the "Robert Ley", named after the leader of the DAF in Germany, was launched on March 29, 1938 in the presence of Adolf Hitler himself. Many of the workers that had built the ship were also present, and in his launch-speech, Hitler made sure to point out that the ship had been built for the workers. The medal presented here was issued to commemorate the voyage of the cruise ship "Robert Ley" to Norway, from May 10 to 16, 1939.