Order of the Red Eagle
The Order of the Red Eagle (German: Roter Adlerorden) was an order of chivalry of the Kingdom of Prussia. It was awarded to both military personnel and civilians, to recognize valor in combat, excellence in military leadership, long and faithful service to the kingdom, or other achievements. As with most German (and most other European) orders, the Order of the Red Eagle could only be awarded to commissioned officers or civilians of approximately equivalent status. However, there was a medal of the order, which could be awarded to non-commissioned officers and enlisted men, lower ranking civil servants and other civilians.
The predecessor to Order of the Red Eagle was founded on November 17, 1705, by the Margrave Georg Wilhelm of Brandenburg-Bayreuth as the Ordre de la Sincerité. This soon fell into disuse but was revived in 1712 in Brandenburg-Bayreuth and again in 1734 in Brandenburg-Ansbach, where it first received the name "Order of the Brandenburg Red Eagle". The statutes were changed in 1777 and the Order named therein as the "Order of the Red Eagle". The Order was conferred in one class, limited to fifty knights.
The Kingdom of Prussia absorbed both Brandenburg-Bayreuth and Brandenburg-Ansbach in January, 1792, and on June 12, 1792, King Frederick William II again revived the order as a Prussian royal order. After the Order of the Black Eagle, the Red Eagle was the second highest order of the kingdom in order of precedence.
In 1810, King Frederick William III revised the statutes of the Order, expanding it into three classes. In 1830, a breast star was authorized for the Second Class and a Fourth Class was added to the Order. The statutes were further revised in 1861, and a Grand Cross was established as the highest class of the Order. By change to the statutes of the Order of the Black Eagle, every member of that order was automatically invested with the new Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Eagle, as well as with the Order of the Prussian Crown. By 1918, an affiliated soldier's medal had been made available to commoners and enlisted men.
The monarchy collapsed on November 9, 1918. Though Wilhelm II formally abdicated his personal claims to the throne on November 28, 1918, he admonished his former subjects to "render assistance to those in actual power" until the "re-establishment of order in the German Empire" (1923 Source Records of the Great War, Vol. VI, edited by Charles F. Horne). A new German constitution was signed into law, August 11, 1919, effectually putting a legal end to the monarchy. All orders and decorations formally conferred by the monarchy ceased to exist, but recipients of the Order of the Red Eagle continued to wear it with their other decorations during the eras of the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, and the restored republic.
By the time of World War I, the Order had evolved into six classes:
Within these six classes, however, were a bewildering array of variations. Among these were:
There were also a set of special versions, the Stars 1st through 4th Class, for non-Christians
|Kptlt.||Saalwächter, Alfred||7 Nov 1912|
3 officers decorated with Order of the Red Eagle (Roter Adlerorden) located.
Note: This listing is still being compiled and some recipients might be missing.