Iron Cross, Model III, Grand Cross Breast Star (1914)
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The Iron Cross was a military decoration founded by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and it was awarded for acts of heroism, bravery and exemplary leadership.
The Cross was primarily a military decoration, yet on numerous occasions it was awarded to civilians for services rendered to the military.
The design of the Cross was inspired by the Cross pattée, which was used as a symbol of the Teutonic Order, as well as the Prussian Army from 1871 to 1918.
The Order consisted of three grades, I Class Cross, II Class Cross and Grand Cross. The I and II Class are largely the same in size and composition. The Grand Cross was double the size of the former.
The I and II Class Crosses were worn on the left breast, and the Grand Cross was worn suspended from the neck.
The Cross was first awarded in recognition of exemplary military and civil service during the Napoleonic Wars.
Model II of the Decoration was awarded during the Franco-Prussian War (1870).
Model III of the Decoration was awarded during the First World War (1914), and subsequent versions were awarded during World War II and featured a swastika in the center of the obverse.
The Grand Cross was conferred for winning a decisive battle, defending a fortress, or for conquering an important position or location.
Paul von Hindenburg was the only recipient of the 1914 Grand Cross Breast Star.
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