Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
The Grand Cross of the Iron Cross was a decoration intended for victorious generals of the Prussian Army and its allies. It was the highest class of the Iron Cross, along with the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, the Grand Cross was founded on March 10,1813, during the Napoleonic Wars. It was renewed in 1870 for the Franco-Prussian War and again in 1914 for World War I, in 1939, when Adolf Hitler renewed the Iron Cross as a German decoration, he renewed the Grand Cross. The Grand Cross of the Iron Cross was twice the size of the Iron Cross and was worn from a ribbon around the neck. The Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, instituted in 1939, was worn from the neck, it was smaller than the Grand Cross. Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg, the Iron Cross was renewed on July 19,1870, for the Franco-Prussian War. Nine men received the 1870 Grand Cross of the Iron Cross for service during that war, the Kaiser was supreme commander of the Prussian Army, and Moltke was Chief of the General Staff.
The others were senior combat commanders of the Prussian Army, the Iron Cross was renewed again on August 5,1914. Hermann Göring became the recipient of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross during World War II when it was awarded to him on July 19,1940. The Grand Cross - when Hitler originally re-instituted it - was supposed to have outlined in gold. Göring - who loved amassing medals - felt that the Grand Cross he received from Hitler was not really grand enough, the original awarded Grand Cross was destroyed in an air raid in 1943. Göring was wearing his one at the time of his surrender in 1945. Shortly before his suicide, Hitler deprived Göring of the Grand Cross because he betrayed by him. Also, Göring had the habit of not wearing the Grand Cross at times. The award case for the 1939 Grand Cross had a red leather exterior, the bottom interior of the case was lined in black velvet. The even higher decoration, the Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross, was re-instituted by Hitler, for Führer and Fatherland, Military Awards of the Third Reich
The Kulm Cross was a Prussian award. It was a version of the Badge of the Iron Cross and it was created on 4 December 1813 by Frederick William III of Prussia after the battle of Kulm. It was not awarded for any act of courage or merit. Officers wore it in silver and NCOs and other ranks in metal and it was worn on the tunic, with no ribbon. A Russian version of the order was completely identical in size and shape to the Prussian Order of the Iron Cross, differing only in that it had no date and monogram of the king. By awarding this cross 12,066 people were represented, but the reward could only be obtained by 7,131 soldiers who survived to 1816
The Iron Cross was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and in the German Empire and Nazi Germany. It was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars, Louise was the first person to receive this decoration. The recommissioned Iron Cross was awarded during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, the Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. The design of the symbol was black with a white or silver outline. It was ultimately derived from the cross pattée occasionally used by the Teutonic Order from the 13th century, the black cross patty was used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to March/April 1918, when it was replaced by the Balkenkreuz. In 1956, it was re-introduced as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the Black Cross is the emblem used by the Prussian Army, and by the army of Germany from 1871 to present.
It was designed on the occasion of the German Campaign of 1813, from this time, the Black Cross featured on the Prussian war flag alongside the Black Eagle. The design is due to neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, based on a sketch by Frederick William, the design is ultimately derivative of the black cross used by the Teutonic Order. This heraldic cross took various forms throughout the history, including a simple Latin cross. When the Quadriga of the Goddess of Peace was retrieved from Paris at Napoleons fall, an Iron Cross was inserted into her laurel wreath, making her into a Goddess of Victory. The Black Cross was used on the naval and war flags of the German Empire, the Black Cross was used as the symbol of the German Army until 1915, when it was replaced by a simpler Balkenkreuz. The Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic, the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, the traditional design in black is used on armored vehicles and aircraft, while after German reunification, a new design in blue and silver was introduced for use in other contexts.
The ribbon for the 1813,1870 and 1914 Iron Cross was black with two white bands, the colors of Prussia. The non-combatant version of this award had the same medal, but the black, the ribbon color for the 1939 EKII was black/white/red/white/black. Since the Iron Cross was issued several different periods of German history. For example, an Iron Cross from World War I bears the year 1914, the reverse of the 1870,1914 and 1939 series of Iron Crosses have the year 1813 appearing on the lower arm, symbolizing the year the award was created. The 1813 decoration has the initials FW for King Frederick William III, the final version shows a swastika. There was the 1957 issue, a replacement medal for holders of the 1939 series which substituted an oak-leaf cluster for the banned swastika
War Commemorative Medal of 1870/71
The War Commemorative Medal of 1870/71 is a campagian medal presented by Kaiser William I in his capacity as King of Prussia. The medal was presented to commemorate service in the Franco Prussian War, the medal was presented to members of the united German armies. The medal was presented for service in bronze, and non-combat service in steel. Each version bore minor differences in inscription and design, clasps were authorized on the 25th anniversary of the German victory, to commemorate selected battles. The war medal was presented to officers, military physicians, civil servants and it was awarded to the crew of the SMS Augusta for service from 11 December 1870 to 2 March 1871. The medal for combatants was manufactured from captured bronze cannon barrels, the obverse shows the crowned Royal cypher of William I over the inscription Dem siegreichen Heere. Inscribed around the edge is Gott war mit uns, Ihm sei die Ehre, the reverse shows a cross with rays between the four arms. In the center of the cross is a wreath surrounding the dates 1870 and 1871.
On the edge of the coin is inscribed AUS EROBERTEM GESCHUETZ, the medal for non-combatants is made of steel. It follows a design with only minor deviations. The center inscription on the obverse is Für Pflichttreue im Kriege, on the reverse the wreath on the cross is of oak leaves. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of victory, clasps were authorized to be worn on the medal on 18 August 1895, the clasps were only allowed to be worn on combatant medals by front line soldiers. The clasps are 6 mm high and 32–39 mm wide and were made of bronze or brass. They are as follows, The reverse of the medal, with dates 1914-1918, the German government awarded this to participants, or surviving family members, for service in the First World War. The same ribbon color scheme was used
Military Honor Medal
The Military Honor Medal was a two-class military decoration awarded by the Kingdom of Prussia. The medal was awarded to personnel from the rank of sergeant. Initial award criteria meant that in order to be awarded the 1st Class cross a recipient must have been awarded the 2nd Class medal first, the Military Honor Medal and General Honor Decoration developed in a side-by-side manner in their first years of award. They utilized the same cross and medal for their first few years until the General Honor Decoration, the Military Honor Medal was typically awarded during wars when the Iron Cross was not. These conflicts included the wars of German Unification such as the Revolutions of 1848 in the German states, Second Schleswig War in 1864, awards for military conflicts in the German colonial empire were made from 1896-1906. The Military Honor Medal could be awarded to foreign troops, the 1814 version of the cross and medal shared the same design as the Honor Decoration, the only difference between the awards at that time was the color of ribbon suspending the cross.
The General Honor Decoration for civil merit was suspended from a white with orange striped ribbon, the 1st class was a silver 36 mm cross pattée with a center medallion. The obverse of the medallion bore the inscription VERDIENST UM DEN STAAT in three lines, while the reverse bore the crowned cypher of Friedrich Wilhelm III, the founder of the award. This design change ended the identical paralleling of the designs of the General Honor Decoration, in 1864, King Wilhelm I reauthorized the Military Honor Medal for award with a redesign of the 1st class cross and a 2nd class medal. This came about at the time as the higher ranking Military Merit Cross. This new authorization changed the criteria of the medal, meaning it was no longer necessary to be awarded the 2nd class medal before the 1st class cross. The 1st class cross was still in the form of a silver cross pattée, the obverse now bore the inscription KRIEGS VERDIENST (War Merit above a spray of laurel leaves, while the reverse bore the crowned cypher of King Wilhelm.
The 2nd class medal was still in the form of a medal but gained the updated obverse inscription KRIEGS VERDIENST
Warrior Merit Medal (Prussia)
The Warrior Merit Medal German, Krieger-Verdienstmedaille) was a military decoration of Prussia. Established by Friedrich Wilhelm III, it was awarded to troops not in Prussian service. The first recipients were members of the Imperial Guard grenadier company guarding the Russian imperial residence during Friedrich Whilhelms visit to St. Petersburg in 1835, both versions of the medal are circular and silver,25 mm in diameter. The first version depicts the crowned cypher of Friedrich Wilhelm III on the obverse of the medal, the reverse bears the inscription KRIEGER VERDIENST surrounded by a wreath of two laurel sprigs, tied at its base with a bow. The medal is suspended by a suspension and hangs from the ribbon of the Order of the Red Eagle. The version of the medal depicts the crowned cipher of King Wilhelm I on the obverse, the reverse is inscribed KRIEGER VERDIENST and surrounded by a thicker laurel wreath than the early version. The medal is suspended by a suspension and hangs from the black with white stripes kämpferband or the white with black stripe nichtkämpferband.
Friedrich Wilhelm III version of medal, Deutsches Historisches Museum
The Alsen Cross was a military medal of the Kingdom of Prussia. Established 7 December 1864, the medal commemorates the Prussian victory on 29 June 1864 during the Battle of Alsen, the medal was initially awarded with two different suspension ribbons, for combatants and noncombatants. It was subsequently extended to those held in reserve at the battle
Duppel Storm Cross
The Düppel Storm Cross was a military medal of the Kingdom of Prussia. The cross was awarded to Prussian participants in the Battle of Dybbøl which took place on 18 April 1864, established by Wilhelm, King of Prussia on 18 October 1864, the cross was initially awarded to combatants and noncombatants who directly participated in the battle. The following year, versions were created for those held in reserve at the battle. The Düppel Storm Cross was designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich, a Prussian court medalist and it was the first of three commemorative crosses awarded during the 1860s with similar designs. The medal is in the shape of a cross pattée, visible between the arms of the cross is a laurel wreath. Superimposed in the center of the cross is a round medallion, on the obverse, the medallion bears the left-facing effigy of King Wilhelm I circumscribed are the words WILHELM KOENIG VON PREUSSEN. The medallion on the reverse depicts a crowned Prussian eagle perched upon a Danish cannon.
The top arm of the cross has the word DÜPPEL, the arm of the cross has 18, the right arm has APR. A version for members of the Johanniter Orden was identical in design, the combatants ribbon, was a 32 mm wide blue silk ribbon, in the color of the Prussian Crown Order ribbon. At the edges were a black stripe and white stripe, with a thin white stripe on the outside edge. The non-combatants ribbon was of silk, the edges were thin stripes of white, black. The orange was divided into thirds by two blue stripes. The ribbon for troops held in reserve was blue with white edges. In the center were wide stripes of white and white, the ribbon for Johanniter Orden recipients was suspended from the ribbon of the House Order of Hohenzollern. This ribbon is white, with a central stripe and black stripes near the edge
Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
The Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross was the highest military decoration of the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire. It was considered a decoration to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross. The Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to the most outstanding of generals who performed feats of leadership to the benefit of the German state. The award is known as Blüchers Star after its first recipient. Paul von Hindenburg received the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross to which the Golden Star added on 25 March 1918. During the reign of Nazi Germany, Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess commissioned a new version of the medal, since Germany was defeated in 1945, the award was never bestowed on the intended recipient. Following the Allied victory in May 1945, the US Army seized the only known prototype and it is now a part of the collection of the Museum of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. Lest We Forget, Masterpieces of Patriotic Jewelry and Military Decorations, David T. ed.
Germany at War,400 Years of Military History
Military Merit Cross (Prussia)
The Military Merit Cross was the highest bravery award of the Kingdom of Prussia for non-commissioned officers and enlisted soldiers. The Military Merit Cross came to be known as the Pour le Mérite for non-commissioned officers and enlisted men, after the Pour le Mérite, the Military Merit Cross was founded by King Wilhelm I of Prussia on February 27,1864. The first 16 awards were made for the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, no awards were made for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, where the principal Prussian military decoration, for both officers and enlisted men, was the Iron Cross. The next group of awards were 17 made in 1879 to Russian soldiers for bravery in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78, only five more awards were made before World War I, four for colonial conflicts and one for the Boxer Rebellion. During World War I, the Iron Cross was again reinstituted, the first Military Merit Cross was awarded in October 1916, followed by 54 more awards in 1917. The rest of the awards of the Military Merit Cross were made in 1918, recipients received a monthly stipend, which was maintained even after the end of the Prussian monarchy in November 1918 through the Third Reich era, and was reestablished in West Germany in 1957.
Klaus D. Patzwall, ed. Das Preußische Goldene Militär-verdienst-kreuz, dr. Kurt-Gerhard Klietmann, Pour le Mérite und Tapferkeitsmedaille
Merit Cross for War Aid
The Merit Cross for War Aid was a war decoration of Prussia awarded during World War I. Instituted 5 December 1916, the cross was awarded for patriotic war aid service, the Merit Cross for War Aid is in the shape of a Maltese cross, typically found made of blackened Kriegsmetall alloy. The obverse of the bears a circular central medallion with the crowned cipher of King Wilhelm II. On the reverse the central medallion is inscribed FÜR KRIEGS-HILFSDIENST above an oak wreath, to the upper arm is attached a loop for suspension from its ribbon