Merit Cross with Swords 1940-45
Merit Cross with Swords 1940-45 - Two-piece construction, bronze with an overlaying gilt and enamelled Sun Eagle insignia, inscribed "TAPPER OG TRO" (Brave and Faithful) on the reverse, 43.3 mm, on original ribbon with bronze pinback hanger, light contact, near extremely fine. In its black cardboard box of issue, padded medal bed, box fine.Footnote: The Cross was instituted by the collaborationist Nasjonal Samling government under Vidkun Quisling as the Order of Bravery and Loyalty, to be award to Norwegian combat forces on the same basis as the German Iron Cross. Shortly afterwards, Josef Terboven, German Reichskommissar of Norway, dictated that only German awards were to be worn by Norwegian collaborationist forces. Terboven and Quisling had a long history of rivalry and disagreement, with Terboven doing his utmost to minimize the influence of Quisling, despite the orders of Adolf Hitler, to help build the Nasjonal Samling. The Order was subsequently awarded for only a very brief period. In 1944, a very few examples had the "Sun Eagle" insignia affixed to the front, covering the date "1944" in Nordic script and were awarded to members of the Nasjonal Samling, with these awards referred to as "Politisk Utgave" (Political Awards). After the Allied victory in May 1945, recipients of the award naturally did everything possible to conceal the fact, making this an extremely rare award.