Hungarian Order of Merit, Grand Cross Breast Star, Civil Division
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This Order was founded by Admiral Nicholas Horthy, and it was awarded for outstanding merit within civil and military fields.
Originally the Order was called the Hungarian Cross of Merit and only featured four grades. From 1935-1939, it was expanded to feature 12 grades including a Collar and supplementary crosses and medals of merit.
When it was amended in 1939, the Order was also changed to reward both military and civil merit. Thus there are three main versions, the Civil Division, the Military Division, and the Military Division with War Decoration.
The Military Division awards feature additional crossed swords, and were worn on a green ribbon with red and white exterior stripes.
The Civil Division awards feature a plain cross, and were worn on a green ribbon.
The War Decoration awards were conferred with an oak leaf wreath on the bottom cross arm, and were worn on a red ribbon with white and green exterior stripes. Therefore the Military Division with War Decoration awards feature crossed swords, and an oak leaf wreath on the bottom cross arm.
Early versions of the Grand Cross grade may also feature a surmounting Holy Crown.
The Order was discontinued after the fall of the Hungarian Monarchy in 1946, and it was replaced by the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, which was subsequently discontinued in 1949. The Order was re-established after the collapse of communism in Hungary, and it was re-named the Order of Merit of Hungary in 2012.
The Grand Cross and Grand Cross Breast Star also have an additional War Decoration version.
Versions of the Grand Cross Breast Star with a surmounting Holy Crown may also be known as the Special grade.
The Grand Cross Breast Star may feature golden rays or no rays between the cross arms.
See the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic, HUN149, in the Republic of Hungary (1944-1949), the Order of Merit of the Hungarian People's Republic, HUN159, in the Hungarian People's Republic (1949-1989), and the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary, HUN236, in Hungary (1989-) for more information.
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