Germany - Imperial: Iron Cross 1914, 2nd Class, not ring stamped. Mounted parade style as worn, on original now frayed ribbon, mounting dates from the era of the First World War.

Price: £60.00


Product ID: CMA/27530
Condition: slight wear to paintwork, Good Very Fine.
Availability: IN STOCK
Description:

Germany - Imperial: Iron Cross 1914, 2nd Class, not ring stamped. Mounted parade style as worn, on original now frayed ribbon, mounting dates from the era of the First World War.

Condition: slight wear to paintwork, Good Very Fine.

Emperor Wilhelm II reauthorized the Iron Cross on 5th August 1914, at the start of the First World War. During these three periods, the Iron Cross was an award of the Kingdom of Prussia, although — given Prussia's pre-eminent place in the German Empire formed in 1871 — it tended to be treated as a generic German decoration. The 1813, 1870, and 1914 Iron Crosses had three grades: Grand Cross, Iron Cross 1st Class and Iron Cross 2nd Class. Although the medals of each class were identical, the manner in which each was worn differed. Employing a pin or screw posts on the back of the medal, the Iron Cross 1st Class was worn on the left side of the recipient's uniform. The Grand Cross and the Iron Cross 2nd Class were suspended from different ribbons.

The Grand Cross was intended for senior generals of the Prussian or (later) the German Army. An even higher decoration, the Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (also called the Blücher Star), was awarded only twice, to Generalfeldmarschall Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher in 1813 and to Generalfeldmarschall Paul von Hindenburg in 1918. A third award was planned for the most successful German general during World War II, but was not made after the defeat of Germany in 1945.

The Iron Cross 1st Class and the Iron Cross 2nd Class were awarded without regard to rank. One had to possess the 2nd Class already in order to receive the 1st Class (though in some cases both could be awarded simultaneously). The egalitarian nature of this award contrasted with those of most other German states (and indeed of many other European monarchies), where military decorations were awarded based on the rank of the recipient. For example, Bavarian officers received various grades of that Kingdom’s Military Merit Order (Militär-Verdienstorden), while enlisted men received various grades of the Military Merit Cross (Militär-Verdienstkreuz). Prussia did have other orders and medals which it awarded on the basis of rank, and even though the Iron Cross was intended to be awarded without regard to rank, officers and NCOs were more likely to receive it than junior enlisted soldiers.

During World War I, approximately 218,000 EKIs, 5,196,000 EKIIs and 13,000 non-combatant EKIIs were awarded. Exact numbers of awards are not known, since the Prussian military archives were destroyed during World War II.