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28/10/2020 08:36am

Belgium Inter-Allied Victory Medal 1914-1919

Conflict
 
World War I.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
History
 
This medal was instituted in July 1919 as a result of an international agreement at the Inter-allied Peace Conference immediately preceding the Treaty of Versailles which was signed in June 1919, this medal was awarded to all members of the Belgian Armed Forces who served during the World War I.
 
Later royal decrees enlarged the list of potential recipients to include service in African campaigns and under special circumstances, to members of the merchant navy and fishing fleet.
 
The basic design - a ‘Winged Victory’ - and ‘rainbow’ ribbon was adopted by Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Union of South Africa and the USA. Siam and Japan also issued the medal but with a different design - although the ribbon matched that of the others.
 
The Belgian sculptor Paul Du Bois was responsible for the design.
 
Approximately 350,000 medals were awarded.
 
Description
 
The medal is circular, 36mm in diameter and was struck in bronze. The obverse of this medal depicts a winged Victory standing on a globe, her arms and wings spread out, looking down at Earth.
 
The reverse depicts the coats of arms of the Allies superimposed over a laurel wreath, starting at centre top and going clockwise these include, France (Third Republic), United States, Empire of Japan, Kingdom of Greece, Brazil, Serbia, Portugal, Kingdom of Italy, United Kingdom, and at centre, the Royal Coat of Arms of Belgium.
 
Along the outer circumference a bilingual inscription in French and Dutch (in French); ‘LA GRANDE GUERRE POUR LA CIVILISATION’, (in Dutch); ‘DE GROOTE OORLOG TOT DE BESCHAVING’ both meaning ‘THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION’.
 
The medal was suspended by a ring through a laterally pierced mount fixed to the top of the medal.
 
The medal was issued un-named.
 
Ribbon
 
 
The ribbon is 37mm wide and is the silk moiré rainbow coloured design common to all the Inter-Allied Victory Medals issued by the First World War Allies.
 
Bars/Clasps
 
None were authorised for this medal.
 
Further relevant historical context can be found at the foot of this entry.
 
Dealer Retail Value *
 
Belgium Inter-Allied Victory Medal
£20.00
 
* It should be noted that the values quoted above reflect the average price that a medal dealer may expect to sell this medal for - please see the ‘things you should know’ web page for more details about valuing medals.
 
Further Historical Context
 
This section contains information on:-
 
- Belgium Forces During World War I.
- The Entente Powers.
 
Belgium Forces During World War I - Germany invaded Belgium in 1914 as part of the 'Schlieffen Plan' to attack France and much of the Western Front fighting of World War I occurred in western parts of the country. The opening months of the war were known as the 'Rape of Belgium' due to German excesses.
 
Fortunately for Belgium, a major reorganisation of the army had been authorised by the government in 1912, providing for a total army of 350,000 men - 150,000 in the field forces, 130,000 in fortress garrisons and 70,000 reserves and auxiliaries.
 
However, this reorganisation was nowhere near complete when the Germans attacked - it was planned for completion by 1926 - and only 117,000 men could be mobilised for the field forces, with the other branches equally deficient.
 
Despite this, the Belgian Army stubbornly resisted during the early days of the war, with the army - around a tenth the size of the Germany Army - holding up the German offensive for nearly a month, giving their French and British allies time to strengthen for the Marne counteroffensive later in the year.
 
Belgium took over the German colonies of Ruanda-Urundi (modern day Rwanda and Burundi) during the war, and they were mandated to Belgium in 1924 by the League of Nations. In the aftermath of the First World War, the Prussian districts of Eupen and Malmedy were annexed by Belgium in 1925, thereby causing the presence of a German-speaking minority.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.
 
The Entente Powers - The Entente Powers or Allies were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the French Republic, the British Empire and the Russian Empire; Italy ended its alliance with the Central Powers and entered the war on the side of the Entente in 1915. Japan, Belgium, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania and the Czechoslovak legions were secondary members of the Entente.
 
The United States declared war on Germany in 1917 on the grounds that Germany violated U.S. neutrality by attacking international shipping and because of the Zimmermann Telegram sent to Mexico.
 
The U.S. entered the war as an ‘associated power’, rather than a formal ally of France and the United Kingdom, in order to avoid ‘foreign entanglements’. Although the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria severed relations with the United States, neither declared war.
 
Although the Dominions and Crown Colonies of the British Empire made significant contributions to the Allied war effort, they did not have independent foreign policies during World War I. Operational control of British Empire forces was in the hands of the five-member British War Cabinet (BWC).
 
However, the Dominion governments controlled recruiting, and did remove personnel from front-line duties as they saw fit.
 
From early 1917 the BWC was superseded by the Imperial War Cabinet, which had Dominion representation. The Australian Corps and Canadian Corps were placed for the first time under the command of Australian and Canadian Lieutenant Generals John Monash and Arthur Currie, respectively, who reported in turn to British generals.
 
In April 1918, operational control of all Entente forces on the Western Front passed to the new supreme commander, Ferdinand Foch.
 
The only countries represented in the 1918 armistice which ended the combat were Britain, France and Germany.
 
This information was taken from ‘Wikipedia’. The original article and details of the authors can be found here. It is reproduced on this web-site under the ‘creative commons’ licence which can be found here.