The Anschluss Commemorative Medal (German: Die Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 13. März 1938) was a decoration of Nazi Germany awarded in the interwar period.
Instituted on May 1, 1938, the medal commemorated the annexation of Austria to the German Reich, the so-called Anschluss. The move was the first in Hitler’s quest for Lebensraum, and it strengthened German flanks while weakening those of Czechoslovakia. German troops crossed the border on March 12, 1938, without meeting any resistance. The stage had been set by a series of „incidents“ provoked by members of the Nazi Party in Austria, and diplomatic pressure and ultimatums set forth by the German government. This first action, while perhaps raising suspicions, did not cause general alarm in the world community, as it seemed to be done by choice of the Austrian people who spoke German.
The medal, known as the „Anschluss medal“, was awarded to all those Austrians who contributed to or participated in the annexation as well as the members of the Austrian National Socialism movement. It was also awarded to German State officials and members of the German Wehrmacht and SS who marched into Austria.
It was awarded until December 13, 1940. In all 318,689 medals were awarded.
The round, highly detailed, die-struck medal was based on the 1938 Party Day Badge and designed by Professor Richard Klein.
On the obverse of the medal, symbolic of Austrian adhesion to the German realm, a man holding the Nazi flag stands on a dais bearing the emblem of the “Third Reich”; he assists onto the dais a second man, on whose right hand a broken shackle still may be seen. On the reverse is the inscription „13. März 1938“ (March 13, 1938), the date of the Anschluss; the date is surrounded by the words, „Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Führer“ („One People, One Empire, One Leader“).
The edges of the medal are smooth. It is suspended from a red ribbon with white-black-white stripes at the edges of the ribbon and is made of brass or tombak bronze with a silvered matte finish.