Iron Cross 1914 (Eisernes Kreuz 1914)

Iron Cross 1914 (Eisernes Kreuz 1914)

The most recognizable German award

The Iron Cross of 1914 (German Eisernen Kreuzes) is a Prussian military award. The Iron Cross was established by Frederick William III on March 10, 1813. With the outbreak of World War I, Emperor of Germany and King of Prussia William II announced on August 5, 1914, the reconstruction of the Iron Cross.

The award had two classes and the Grand Cross; the Star of the Great Cross of the Iron Cross was later added. Awarding took place sequentially from the lowest to the highest. The cross was awarded to all categories of military personnel, regardless of rank or estate, with the exception of the Grand Cross, which was awarded only to generals.

Iron Cross 1914

Iron Cross 1914. Photo by Apolon

Iron Cross 1914 history

The Iron Cross was established by King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm III (German: Friedrich Wilhelm III) on March 10, 1813, during the war with Napoleon. The award had two classes and the Big Cross, the award took place sequentially from the lowest to highest.

They awarded the Iron Cross for the military distinctions shown in the war for the liberation of Germany from Napoleon. The cross was awarded to all categories of military personnel, regardless of rank or estate, with the exception of the Grand Cross, which was awarded only to generals. After the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Iron Cross was no longer awarded.

Friedrich Wilhelm III

Friedrich Wilhelm III

With the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, the Prussian King William I announced on June 19, 1870, the reconstruction of the Iron Cross, in three degrees. The color of the ribbon and the design of the order remained unchanged, there were only slight differences.

The third time the Iron Cross was officially established after the start of a new large-scale war in which Germany took part. August 1, 1914, the war began, which was later called the First World War. Four days later, by decree of William II of August 5, 1914, the Iron Cross was recreated in three degrees. Crosses of the 1st and 2nd class and the Big Cross.

Kaiser Wilhelm II

Kaiser Wilhelm II awarded with two iron crosses.

Grounds for rewarding

In accordance with the statute, it was a military distinction, which was given for outstanding personal courage and courage in the face of the enemy, as well as for special merits in command of the troops.

In awarding a cross, alongside with itwere issued the documents. Most often they were printed.

Iron Cross 1914

Iron Cross 1914. Photo by Apolon

Award Description

The use of various technologies due to the huge number of awards, as well as the lack of metal at the end of the war, led to a significant number of Iron Crosses – the core was made of iron, brass and bronze, the frame was made of silver and a copper-nickel alloy.

The awards were presented either in a cardboard box or for senior military men were handed in a case. Boxes and cases were very diverse depending on the manufacturer. On the top cover, as a rule, the image of the cross was applied and the degree of reward was often written.

There were also cases made of thick cardboard, glued with thin paper with shagreen texture on the outside, and studded with silk inside. On the lid there was a silver stamped image of the contour of the award. The case was locked with a lock button on the outer end of the case.

World War I Iron Cross, 2nd Class

World War I Iron Cross, 2nd Class. Photo by Apolon

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