WW2 medals were typically given for specific gallant acts or valor, as well as for service in a particular war or campaign. Medals and awards, in general, serve to reinforce concepts of what it is to be a citizen, to be a member of a social group, or to be a member of the armed forces. But they also serve more than just the needs of the nation, they are deeply meaningful in that they exist to represent the sacrifices and achievements of individuals above and beyond that which is expected. In general, statistics show that the distribution of combat decorations for all nations, was done in a largely unbiased manner; those that received combat awards deserved them. Their valor was matchless, their deeds recognized by grateful nations.
Australia entered World War II shortly after the invasion of Poland, declaring war on Germany on
3 September 1939. By the end of the war almost a million Australians had served in the Australian armed forces and Australian military units had fought in Europe, North Africa, and the South-West Pacific.
Canada entered the conflict with a declaration of war on Germany on 10 September 1939 and encompassed major campaigns in Italy and Northern Europe. Canada was active in defending the shipping lanes in the North Atlantic and the Canadian Merchant Navy completed over 25,000 voyages across the Atlantic. Canadians were also active in the Pacific.
On 18 June 1940, General Charles De Gaulle broadcasted an appeal on BBC radio for French men and women to join him and the British in the fight against Nazi Germany. The Free French forces were vital in the southern landing also playing an important role in Italy with the other allies.
New Zealand was involved for all but three of the 2179 days of the war - a commitment on a par only with Britain and Australia. It was a war in which New Zealanders gave their greatest national effort and a war that New Zealanders fought globally, from Egypt, Italy and Greece to Japan and the Pacific.
The European theater of World War II opened with the German invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939. The Polish Army was quickly pushed back. After Poland had been overrun, a government-in-exile, an armed forces, and an intelligence service were established outside of Poland. These organisations contributed to the Allied effort throughout the war.
The United Kingdom, along with the British Empire's Crown colonies, including the British West Indies and British India, declared war on Nazi Germany in 1939, after the German invasion of Poland. Hostilities with Japan began in 1941, after it attacked British colonies in Asia.
United States of America
They came late to the ballgame by British standards, but they came to play. They were crude, crass and lacking in military finesse according to Montgomery and other Allied leaders, but they won many more times than they lost. They fought down there in the mud and the blood and the gore and got the job done.
On June 22, 1941, Germany invaded Russia, thereby beginning Operation Barbarossa. Soon following, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Finland declared war. The Soviet Union suffered grievous casualties in the Second World War, which they called the Great Patriotic War.