Cross of Merit, I Class (1944-1952)
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The Cross of Merit was established by the Council of Ministers in 1923. It was renewed and modified by the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile during the Second World War and later by the Polish People’s Republic. It was officially re-instituted in the Third Polish Republic in 1992.
It is awarded to Polish civilians and military personnel as well as foreigners for exceptional service to the nation. The Cross (with swords) was added by the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile in 1942 to recognise civilians and military personnel for outstanding contributions to the nation during times of war. This version was not awarded by the Polish People’s Republic, but it is currently awarded by the Republic of Poland.
There are two versions of the I Class Cross awarded during this period that differ in inscription. The first version features initials that stand for "Rzeczpospolita Polska" (Republic of Poland), and the second version, awarded after 1952, features initials that stand for "Polska Rzeczpospolita Ludowa" (Polish People's Republic).
There may be additional versions of the I Class Cross that differ in size, composition, and manufacturer.
The other versions are listed in the Medals & Decorations of the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) and the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile (1939-1989), and the Third Polish Republic (1989-).
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