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Model II was introduced at the behest of Adolf Hitler on January 30, 1938, and unlike the I model, its scope was truly national.
The I Class was awarded to regular or part-time members of fire brigades who rendered faithful service or performed acts of extraordinary bravery during a fire. It could also be conferred upon civilians who provided meritorious service to the fire brigade organization.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, the award became conferrable on foreign citizens. Bravery during fires caused by air raids could either be awarded with a War Merit Cross or a Fire Brigade Decoration.
Recommendations for the awards were made by the Reichsführer-SS Himmler, as he was the Chief of the German Police, which controlled fire departments and brigades.
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