The Iron Cross & The Knight's Cross

The Iron Cross & The Knight's Cross

The Iron Cross is probably one of the best known military symbols and medals in the World. It was first established in 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars, it was re-established in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. In 1914 and 1939 it was re-established again for the World Wars. The 1939 included the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross as well. In this video you will learn it’s history, design features, criteria, uniform identification, positioning, numbers of awards and much much more.

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Heinemann, Winfried (Hrsg.): Das Eiserne Kreuz. Die Geschichte eines Symbols im Wandel der Zeit.

Reibert, W.: Der Dienstunterricht im Heere. Ausgabe für den Schützen der Schützenkompanie. Jahrgang 1940. (Reprint N & M Press)

Hettler, Eberhard: Uniformen der Deutschen Wehrmacht 1939. Nebst Nachtrag 1939/1940 (Nachdruck Melchior)

Klietmann, Kurt-Gerhard: Deutsche Auszeichnungen. 2. Band: Deutsches Reich 1871-1945.

Klietmann, Kurt-Gerhard: Deutsche Auszeichnungen. Eine Geschichte der Ehrenzeichen und Medaillen, Erinnerungs- und Verdienstabzeichen des Deutschen Reiches, der deutschen Staaten sowie staatlicher Dienststellen, Organisationen, Verbände, usw. Vom 18.-20. Jahrhundert

Reichsgesetzblat, Berlin 2. September 1939, Nr. 159

Lexikon der Wehrmacht: Eisernes Kreuz

Heimatsammlung Essen: Das Eiserne Kreuz

U-Boot Archiv: Eisernes Kreuz

Bianchi, Sebastián J.: Iron Cross Manufacturing

Peterson, Jordan B.: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Rob for helping out with a question about the Civilian Version of the Iron Cross First Class


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  1. So 2 class Iron Cross was a Bronze Star equivalent, 1 Class was a Silver Star, and Knights Cross was a MOH equivalent.

    What does Germany use now for Valor?

  2. Thank you for the information. I was recently gifted the war souvenirs of a deceased WWII veteran, and there were two Iron Crosses amongst the items. (Though he fought his way across France and Germany, I don't believe that these were battlefield finds. I have reason to believe that he likely purchased them at a flohmarkt when he was part of the occupying force.)

  3. Most Germans speak English, more or less. How many „Tommies“ speak German (beside Panzer, Achtung and Blitz) or a foreign Language at all? I think the number Is neglectable. So please no mockery, Improve your own Language skills …

  4. You endured the pain upright with pride
    And in your heart you carry the Knight's Cross
    German Soldier in Stalingrad

    Until the last bullet
    Until the end of the world
    Immortal, fighting spirit, eternal hero!
    German Soldier in Stalingrad
    (it only rhymes in German)

  5. The Cult incorporated Iron Cross medals and imagery extensively for their Electric and Sonic Temple albums. Motörhead lead singer and bassist Lemmy can be seen wearing an Iron Cross live, and often in interviews as he owns a very large collection of Nazi memorabilia. WWE

  6. I'm curious if there is a serial code for identifying who receives the iron cross because I know my family has one in possession but we would like to identify who wore it. It is half a country away so the possibility of identifying it is what currently my most pressing question.

  7. Many thanks. My grandpa (yes grandpa) served in Kaiserliche Marine, first Battleships then Submarines. EK II and EK I and a Turkish decoration. I love the Belle epoque….military history and history in general. I don't have reichsmark but happy to send you some goldmark. Please buy Schaumwein with it to sponsor a new SMS Seydlitz battle cruiser. Love your channel and I'm busy recommending it

  8. Curious why no reference to the Maltese Cross, and to the Holy Roman Empire, which is why that 8 pointed cross became the National Symbol of Prussia. And the basis of the Iron Cross.

  9. I love this channel. For years I was a bit worried about my families origin and situation but I have learnt to be proud as they fought for their country it just happened to be fighting my birth Country at the time!

  10. Hello – excellent video – although I would have liked to see you illustrate the IC with oak leaves, OL & swords, OL, S & Diamonds and the Golden OL, S & D…also, what were the the qualifications for each and how were they presented and how were they attached to the IC…do any of these variations still exist? Thanks! Good job!

  11. So if a soldier was awarded the Iron Cross second class would they remove the 1st calss cross from their uniform and just wear the ribbon through their button hole or would they wear both?

  12. I was playing the new Call of Duty game and the Commando notes that the officer interogating him doesn't have combat medals. Except thanks to this video I now know the red and white ribbon from the top button is, in fact, an Iron Cross 2nd Class. Either an oversight from the costume designer to the Commando is just guessing.

  13. To finance the War, and after Napoleon rejected her personal appointment, Princess Marianne feels humiliated, and she appealed to all Woman in Prussia to give up their gold and jewelry to finance the war affords.

    In exchange the woman received simple jewelry like a simple ring made out of iron (on purpose not made out of steal) engraved with the sentence:

    "Gold gab ich für Eisen" which translates to: "Gold I gave for Iron"

    It was although reintroduced in WWI:
    "In eiserner Zeit – Gold gab ich zur Wehr – Eisen nahm ich zur Ehr" which translates to: " In iron times – Gold I gave to fight – Iron I took in pride."

    Than there was the civilian "Iron-Cross" The Order of Louise / Louisen-Orden (1815), reserved for woman strictly limited in honour of Queen Luise of Prussia (she died in 1810), only 100 were ever awarded.