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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 10, March 9, 2008, Article 22

GERMANY'S IRON CROSS MEDAL ON AGAIN, OFF AGAIN

[In quick order this week, Germany announced that it
was reviving the classic Iron Cross medal under a new
name, then in face of a storm of protest revoked the
decision. -Editor]

Germany is to reintroduce the Iron Cross for bravery
which Hitler was awarded during WW1 - but it won't
call it that.

The Fatherland's answer to the Victoria Cross of Britain
- awarded for gallantry in the field - dated back to 1813
when Prussia was at war with Napoleon.

In recent years, thousands of German graves in the former
Soviet Union have been desecrated by looters digging up
the corpses of the fallen to rob them of their medals to
sell on the black market.

They were the last warriors to get them; with defeat in
1945 and the collapse of Nazism, the Iron Cross went
into history.

Now Secretary of Defence Franz Josef Jung said Germany
will bring back a medal for "unusually courageous acts."

Nato allies of Germany may be bemused by this: the country
refuses to fight in Afghanistan because of political and
voter opposition at home and hasn't fired a shot in anger
since the Red Army stormed Berlin 63 years ago.

Just how the new medal will look hasn't been decided. Nor
has the name for the award, as any mention of Iron Cross
would be deemed far too emotive.

A defence ministry source said: "Hitler won the Iron Cross
first class in WW1 and we cannot have accusations that we
are bringing back something that was revered by him. He
regarded his medal as the high mark of his life before he
gained power as dictator of Nazi Germany."

German president Horst Koehler had to agree to the new
medal which will be struck later this year after a debate
that has dragged on for nearly a decade of a way to honour
brave servicemen and women.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

The German government was yesterday forced to scrap plans
to re-introduce the Iron Cross, after opponents said the
military medal still carried the "burden" of association
with Nazi atrocities.

The medal, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross in Britain,
was established during the Napoleonic Wars to reward bravery
and valour of officers and enlisted men alike.

But its reputation was tarnished by the Nazis, who added
a swastika to the design, linking it to atrocities in the
Second World War. It was abolished in post-Nazi Germany.
On Tuesday the Defence Minister, Franz Josef Jung, backed
a campaign to re-introduce the cross for valour in combat
in flashpoints such as Afghanistan. Currently, there are
only medals for service.

But within 24 hours the ministry reversed its support after
the move led to a public outcry, with critics claiming the
Iron Cross was too reminiscent of the Nazi era. "We are not
thinking of bringing it back, though we do want to introduce
a medal to honour soldiers who show courage," a spokesman said.

A source from the ministry suggested a compromise solution
could create a new medal, which would, however, resemble
the Iron Cross.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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