The Clasp to the Iron Cross (Spange zum Eisernen Kreuz) was a metal medal clasp displayed on the uniforms of German Wehrmacht personnel who had been awarded the Iron Cross in World War I. It was displayed on the uniforms of many high-ranking officers during World War II as most had also served in World War I.
A holder of the 1914 Iron Cross could be awarded a second or higher grade of the 1939 Iron Cross. To permit the two medals to be worn together, a "1939 Clasp" (Spange) would be worn on the original 1914 Iron Cross. It depicted an eagle clutching an oak leaf wreath surrounding a swastika above a trapezoid including the year 1939. It was attached to the 1914 Iron Cross medal ribbon beneath a tunic button. A similar award had been made in 1914 but was quite rare, since there were few in service at that time who held the even earlier 1870 Iron Cross.
For the First Class award the clasp was pinned directly above the Iron Cross on the breast of the wearer. Although two separate awards, in some cases the holders soldered them together.
The examples listed here are unmarked, Type I with scalloped edges, in silvered tombac, 30.0mm x 30.5mm, with remains of their original silver frosting, in extremely fine condition showing a nice patina with all for attachment prongs intact. Exc.
A Brief History of Iron Cross
Reich Chancellor Adolf Hitler restored the Iron Cross in 1939 as a German decoration (rather than Prussian), and continued the tradition of issuing it in various classes.
Legally, it is based on the enactment (Reichsgesetzblatt I S. 1573) of 1 September 1939 Verordnung über die Erneuerung des Eisernen Kreuzes (Regulation for the Re-introduction of the Iron Cross). The Iron Cross of World War II was divided into three main series of decorations with an intermediate category, the Knight's Cross, instituted between the lowest, the Iron Cross, and the highest, the Grand Cross. The Knight's Cross replaced the Prussian Pour le Mérite or "Blue Max". Hitler did not care for the Pour le Mérite, as it was a Prussian order that could be awarded only to officers. The ribbon of the medal (2nd class and Knight's Cross) was different from the earlier Iron Crosses in that the color red was used in addition to the traditional black and white (black and white were the colors of Prussia, while black, white, and red were the colors of Germany). Hitler also created the War Merit Cross as a replacement for the non-combatant version of the Iron Cross.
The standard 1939 Iron Cross was issued in the following two grades:
Iron Cross 2nd Class (Eisernes Kreuz 2. Klasse - abbreviated as EK II or E.K.II.)
Iron Cross 1st Class (Eisernes Kreuz 1. Klasse - abbreviated as EK I or E.K.I.)
The Iron Cross was awarded for bravery in battle as well as other military contributions in a battlefield environment.
The Iron Cross 2nd Class came with a ribbon and the cross itself was worn in one of two different ways:
From the second button in the tunic for the first day after award.
When in formal dress, the entire cross was worn mounted alone or as part of a medal bar. For everyday wear, only the ribbon itself was worn from the second buttonhole in the tunic.
The Iron Cross 1st Class was a pin-on medal with no ribbon and was worn centered on a uniform breast pocket, either on dress uniforms or everyday outfit. It was a progressive award, with the second class having to be earned before the first class and so on for the higher degrees.
It is estimated that some four and a half million 2nd Class Iron Crosses were awarded during World War II, and 300,000 of the 1st Class. Two Iron Cross 1st Class recipients were women, one of whom was test pilot Hanna Reitsch. One of the Muslim SS members to receive the award, SS Obersturmführer Imam Halim Malkoć, was granted the Iron Cross (2nd Class) in October 1943 for his role in suppressing the Villefranche-de-Rouergue mutiny. He, together with several other Bosnian Muslims, was decorated with the EK. II personally by Himmler in the days after the mutiny. Because of his Muslim faith, he only wore the ribbon, and not the cross. The Spanish double-agent Joan Pujol Garcia, known to the Germans as Arabel and the British as Garbo received the 2nd Class Iron Cross, and an MBE from King George VI four months later, William Manley is possibly the only recipient of both the Iron Cross and the Victoria Cross. He was awarded the Iron Cross for service with an ambulance unit in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.
Te video below shows the Commander of the Spnaish Blue Division in Russia being awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class and makes for a very interesting historical document in itself.
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