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 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. The statutes were further revised in 1861, and a Grand Cross was established as the highest class of the Order. By 1918, an affiliated soldier’s medal had been made available to commoners and enlisted men.
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.||Bothmer, Volkhard von||prewar|
|Kptlt.||Forstner, Georg-Günther von||prewar|
|Kptlt.||Gercke, Hermann||4 Jan 1917|
|Kptlt.||Nostitz und Jänckendorff, Heinrich von||prewar|
|Kptlt.||Rosenberg-Gruszczynski, Erich von||prewar|
|Kptlt.||Saalwächter, Alfred||7 Nov 1912|
|Kptlt.||Zitzewitz, Gehrard von||prewar|
18 officers decorated with Order of the Red Eagle (Roter Adlerorden) located.
Note: This listing is still being compiled and some recipients might be missing.