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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
Nick

Iron Cross Non Combatant

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Here is an interesting scarce picture of an Imperial German soldier (possibly railwayman?). He is wearing the ribbon of the non combatant (EK2) Iron Cross 2nd Class with the reversed colours.

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was this awarded like the British George Cross and Medal for civilian bravery etc or did it still have to be won in a combat zone?

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It was awarded for service "at home". So I think you are partly right in what you say, but it could only be awarded in wartime not peacetime and could be awarded to military personel as well as civilians. In the Franco Prussian war of 1870 several British Officers (Surgeons who were attached to German Units) were awarded the Iron Cross (mainly of the non combatant variety) for services to the wounded. In WW2 this non combatant award was replaced by the War Merit Cross.

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The Iron Cross was last awarded in WW2. It is only instituted in wartime when the actual security of Germany is threatened. Hence there are the 1813, 1870 1914 & 1939 versions of the Iron Cross. There is also the 1957 version which replaced the 1939 Iron Cross so that WW2 veterans could wear their awards without breaking the German Law and showing the swastika. These crosses were only replacements to those that were awarded the WW2 Iron Cross series.

If there was ever another situation in which Germany was directly threatened by invasion, technically the Iron Cross could be reinstituted, but it cannot be awarded in peacetime. As to whether future German Governments would ever do that even in time of war, is debateable, due to the demilitarisation of German society since WW2.

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With the current Political Correctness, and modern Germany's attitude to the previous War, do you think its likely that they will ever, under any circumstances, ever re-instate the Iron Cross ?

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Probably not.

However the Iron Cross did come long before the nazi's and the German Army still use the stylized Iron Cross shape today.

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Very nice photo. Shots of the "Nichtk?mpferband" being worn are hard to find.

On the Iron Cross, very unlikely that it will ever be awarded again. It is technically a "temporary" award which has to be re-instituted each time the country goes to war, then falls into abeyance in peacetime. So, it would only every be re-introduced if Germany went to war again. Highly unlikely. (War in this case being a declared state of war, so e.g. German troops serving with Nato peacekeeping forcves etc wouldn't qualify anyway.)

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