Cross of Liberty, III Grade, I Class
Image courtesy of Republic of Estonia
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The Cross of Liberty was established by Konstantin Päts and the Provisional Government in 1919. It was conferred upon individuals in recognition of service against the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic in the Estonian War of Independence, including those who died in combat. It was suspended on June 19, 1925, but there are provisions to reactivate it if another war is declared to defend Estonian independence.
It was awarded in three grades with three classes each. The I Grade Cross was awarded for military merit, the II Grade Cross was awarded for bravery, and the III Grade Cross was awarded for civil merit. During the first years of the Estonian Republic, it was the only military decoration available for conferral, and as a result, it was awarded to over 1000 foreign Officers, diplomats, and politicians.
Due to a variety of manufacturers, multiple versions of the decorations exist which vary in composition, size, and enamel colour. The first models were produced in Paris by the Arthus-Bertrand firm, while later models were produced by local jewellers in Tallinn.
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