Circular bronze medal on laterally-pierced barrel suspension; the face with a winged figure of Victory, a laurel branch in her right hand held above her head, an upright sword in her left hand, linden leaves (the Czech national tree) at her feet, signed ‘O • SPANIEL’ (for the Czech artist Otakar Španiel, 1881-1955); the reverse with a central shield bearing the two-tailed lion of Bohemia, coat of arms of Slovakia with patriarchal (two lateral arms) cross imposed on its breast, decorated with linden leaves, the dates ‘1914’ and ‘1919’ on a ribbon to either side, circumscribed ‘SVETOVA VALKA ZA CIVILISACI’ (The Great War for Civilisation); age-toned; on original ribbon.
The medal was instituted on 27 July 1920 and the award criteria set out on 13 February 1922, being essentially those who had fought with the Czech Revolutionary Army or Legion in France, Italy, Serbia or Russia, or who had fought in the armed forces of an Allied nation, including the French Foreign Legion or had been accredited to the Allies as a civilian representative of the Czech Provisional Government based in Paris.
The position of many citizens of the new Czechoslovakia was anomalous for the new republic had been carved out of Austro-Hungarian and German territory and many of them had been obliged to fight for the Central Powers.
The idea of an inter-allied medal to commemorate victory in World War I is credited to the French Field-Marshal Foch. It was agreed that each of the Allies should issue a medal to their nationals featuring a figure representing ‘Victory’ on the front and have a symmetric double rainbow ribbon with red, the colour of courage and sacrifice at the centre, representing the colours of the allies flags and presenting an allegory of calm after storm.
The first examples were produced by Alexander Leisek from 1921 until 1926 when production moved to the Kremnica Mint in central Slovakia. Soon after, the original cylindrical suspension was replaced by one of barrel-shape, as in this example, referred to as the Laslo Type 2.
About 89,500 medals were produced making the Czechoslovak Victory Medal comparatively rare and good original examples are becoming harder to find, especially with the Czech-type ribbon.