The Honour Cross of the World War (Hindenburg Cross)

The Honour Cross of the World War (Hindenburg Cross)

Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges 1914/1918

The Honour Cross of the World War  – also known as the Hindenburg Cross or the Cross of Honor – was established on July 13, 1934 by the Reich President, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg. The development of the award was entrusted to Gebruder Godet & Co Berlin. The award was intended for front-line soldiers and non-combatants, as well as close relatives of those killed on the battlefield and missing during the First World War.

The Honour Cross of the World War

The Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918. Photo by Apolon

All residents of the Reich and all ethnic Germans of the annexed territories who took part in the First World War had the right to receive the cross. The honorary cross of the World War II became the first award of the Third Reich and was established on July 13, 1934 by Reich President Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg. The cross was worn on a ribbon on his chest in a block with other awards. The memorial cross of the participant of the First World War is located after military awards and before awards for long service and anschlus medals.

The award is established in three degrees:

1. Honorary cross for front-line soldiers – was awarded only to front-line soldiers who fought on the front line.

2. Honorary cross for participants in the war – was awarded to non-combatants and civilians.

3. An honorary cross for relatives of those who died in the war – was awarded to the parents and widows of those who died from wounds and are missing.

Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg

Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known simply as Paul von Hindenburg.

The award is made in the form of an equilateral Teutonic cross measuring 37×37 mm, with a 2.8 mm border at the edges. On the upper beam of the cross there is a whole-stamped eye with a diameter of 1.5-2 mm for the ring. The Hindenburg Cross with swords and without swords was made of steel, iron and bronze. Weight of the award (for those made of steel): with swords – 13.5 grams; without swords – 12 grams.

Appearance of awards:

On the obverse of the Honorary Cross for war veterans, the dates “1914-1918” are framed by a laurel wreath tied with a ribbon from below. Between the rays of the cross  there are two 41-mm crossed swords with their points pointing up.

The reverse is smooth, with the exception of the manufacturer’s marking.

The ribbon of the award with a width of 25-30 mm is three-colored and consisted of five stripes of the same width: red in the center and symmetrically arranged black and white. Along the edges is a narrow black stripe.

The Honour Cross of the World War

The Honour Cross of the World War

When wearing an award on a ribbon, a pad in the form of gilded crossed swords could be attached to it. A similar pad was attached to the bar to distinguish the “combat” class of the award from the “non-combat” one. Another variant of the lining was made in the form of a miniature of the cross itself with swords.

The appearance of the Honor Cross for war veterans is similar to the previous one, except for the absence of swords. The ribbon is similar to the ribbon of the Cross of Honor for war veterans.
Also there are linings for the award bar, made in the form of a miniature cross (without swords).

The obverse of the Honorary Cross for relatives of the deceased is similar to the obverse of the Honorary Cross for war veterans, however, the cross itself is covered with black varnish. The second difference is the ribbon of inverted colors: five stripes of the same width – red in the center and symmetrically arranged white and black. Along the edges is a narrow white stripe. It is worth noting that the award documents for the Honorary Cross for relatives of the victims differed in the degree of relationship – there are forms for widows and for parents. However, the appearance of the 3rd degree award was uniform.

A rare variety of the Cross of Honor for relatives of the deceased is a cross for wearing on a pin without a ribbon. This sample was made of blackened steel, the eyelet was missing, and a horizontal pin was attached to the reverse.

The memorial cross of the participant in the First World War is one of the most common awards of the Third Reich. In 1943, 8,041,414 awards were awarded.

The Honour Cross of the World War

There are two awards in the photo: the Cross for front-line soldiers and the Cross for relatives of the victims (reverse). Photo by Apolon

German soldier

German soldier awarded The Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918

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