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Virtuti Militari Medal

The most prestigious Polish decoration. It is awarded for extraordinary military achievements. Instituted by King Stanislaw August Poniatowski on June 22, 1792, it was initially an oval gold or silver medal. Its first recipients were Prince Jozef Poniatowski and Tadeusz Kosciuszko.

Since 1809, when its was changed to a cross, it exists in five divisions - these range from the Silver Cross to the Grand Cross. In the period 1807-1815 it bore the name Military Order of the Duchy of Warsaw. In the period 1815-1832 its name was the Polish Military Order. It was abolish by the Tsar in 1832.

Restored in 1919, the Grand Cross was awarded on six occasions in the years 1920-1938, intra alia, to Marshal Jozef Pilsudski. To-day it continues to be the highest Polish decoration.


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