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eMedals-Germany, Luftwaffe. A Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939 1st Class, General Field Marschall Milch

Item: G36886

Germany, Luftwaffe. A Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939 1st Class, General Field Marschall Milch

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Germany, Luftwaffe. A Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939 1st Class, General Field Marschall Milch

The Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939 (Spange zum Eisernen Kreuz 1939 I. Klasse) first class (first type) belonging to General Field Marschall Milch; constructed of heavily silvered tombac; the obverse consisting of a standard national eagle with open arms clutching a wreathed mobile swastika in its talons, resting on a plaque with rounded edges dated “1939”; with a vertical pinback, a barrel hinge, and a round wire catch; measuring 44.82 mm (w) x 31.13 mm (h); weighing 13.8 grams; in overall near extremely fine condition.

Provenance: General Field Marshall Milch’s Clasp to the Iron Cross 1939 First Class was previously acquired from Milch’s family by Hermann Historica, and sold in Auction # 43 on October 19th, 2002 to Adrian Forman’s wife, L.Y. Forman, as Auction Lot #6109. It is accompanied by a Letter of Guarantee by Adrian Forman (Historical Numismatics), dated 2004.

Footnote: Erhard Milch was born on March 30, 1892 in Wilhelmshaven (northern Germany). He joined the army in 1910 as an officer cadet and was promoted to Lieutenant in 1911. At the beginning of the First War, Milch served in an artillery regiment. In July of 1915, he became an air force observer. As such, he was awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. In late 1916, Milch was promoted to Oberleutnant (Senior Lieutenant) and served as the commander’s adjutant at the pilot school of Alt-Autz in Courland. He would be given his own command towards the end of the war, leading Jagdgruppe (fighter wing) 6 in the rank of Hauptmann (Captain). After the war, and with the outlawing of the German air force due to the Treaty of Versailles, Milch flew for the Danzig Airmail company, co-founded by Hugo Junkers. Later, he worked as chief technology officer and board member for the German Luft Hansa. After the NSDAP took control in 1933, Göring made Milch his state secretary, tasked with the secret rebuilding of the Luftwaffe, in the rank of Oberst. He was steadily promoted, to Generalmajor in 1934, Generalleutnant in 1935, General der Flieger in 1937, and Generaloberst and Air Inspector General in 1938. As such, he served as Göring’s official deputy. On May 4, 1940, Milch was awarded the Knight’s Cross, and in July 1940, he was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall. In 1941, after Ernst Udet’s suicide, he was appointed Generalluftzeugmeister (Chief of Aircraft Procurement and Supply), tasked with the technical development and armament production of the Luftwaffe. With the gradual loss of air superiority to the Allies in 1943, Milch also gradually lost the trust and support of Göring and A.H. Milch was partially responsible for the inefficient running and development of the Luftwaffe, just like his predecessor, Ernst Udet. He was finally disempowered in the summer of 1944 and didn’t emerge again until the end of the war. During the Nuremberg trials, Milch was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. However, he was released prematurely in 1954. Milch died on January 25, 1972.

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