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Iron Cross, 2nd Class

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  • Otto Kumm (1909 - 2004)
    - Otto Kumm (1 October 1909 – 23 March 2004) commanded two Waffen-SS divisions in the latter stages of World War II and was a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swo...
  • Joachim Peiper (1915 - 1976)
    Joachim Peiper (30 January 1915 – 14 July 1976) was a German Schutzstaffel (SS) officer and war criminal convicted for the Malmedy massacre of U.S. Army prisoners of war (POWs). During the Second Wor...
  • Max Sachsenheimer (1909 - 1973)
    Max Heinrich Sachsenheimer (5 December 1909 – 2 June 1973) was a German general in the Wehrmacht during World War II who commanded the 17th Infantry Division. He was a recipient of the Knight's Cross...
  • Hans Kroh (1907 - 1967)
    Hans Kroh (13 May 1907 – 18 July 1967) was a German paratroop general in the Wehrmacht and Bundeswehr and a recipient of the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords of Nazi German...
  • Kurt Meyer (1910 - 1961)
    Kurt Meyer (23 December 1910 – 23 December 1961) was an SS commander and convicted war criminal of Nazi Germany. He served in the Waffen-SS (the combat branch of the SS) and participated in the Battl...

The Iron Cross (German: Eisernes Kreuz, listen (help·info), abbreviated EK) was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire (1871–1918) and Nazi Germany (1933–1945). King Frederick William III of Prussia established it on 17 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars (EK 1813). The award was backdated to the birthday (10 March) of his late wife, Queen Louise. Louise was the first person to receive this decoration (posthumously). Recommissioned Iron Cross was also awarded during the Franco-Prussian War (EK 1870), World War I (EK 1914), and World War II (EK 1939). During the 1930s and World War II, the Nazi regime superimposed a swastika on the traditional medal.

The Iron Cross was usually a military decoration only, though there were instances awarded to civilians for performing military functions, including Hanna Reitsch, who received the Iron Cross, 2nd class, and Iron Cross, 1st Class, and Melitta Schenk Gräfin von Stauffenberg, who received the Iron Cross, 2nd Class, for being civilian test pilots during World War II.

The cross symbol's design, black with a white or silver outline, was ultimately derived from the cross pattée of the Teutonic Order and used by knights on occasions from the 13th century.

The Prussian Army black crosses pattée was also used as the symbol of the succeeding German Army from 1871 to March–April 1918, when the Balkenkreuz replaced it. In 1956, it was re-introduced as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the modern German armed forces (with the "ends" of the white border removed, as in the Balkenkreuz of 1918).