The Iron Cross was a medal given to German soldiers for bravery during wartime. The award was created by King Frederick William III of Prussia. It was first given out on 10 March 1813. The Iron Cross was awarded during the Napoleonic Wars, the Franco-Prussian War, the First World War, and the Second World War. This medal was received by Adolf Hitler after World War I.
The medal is only given in wartime, so no Iron Crosses have been given out since the end of the Second World War in 1945.
Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
During the Second World War an extra type of Iron Cross medal was given. It was the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross and was given for acts of extreme battlefield bravery or successful leadership. The Knight's Cross was divided into five grades:
- Knight's Cross
- Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves
- Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords
- Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds
- Knight's Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds