The Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918

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The Honour Cross of the World War (Hindenburg Cross)
Honour Crosses for Non-combatants, Combatants, and Next-of-Kin. They have the Austrian-style trifold ribbon arrangement.
Awarded by Nazi Germany
Type First World War Service Medal
Eligibility All German and Austrian participants in the war or their next of kin
Status Obsolete
Last awarded 1944
Total awarded 8,041,414

The Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918 (German: Das Ehrenkreuz des Weltkriegs 1914/1918), commonly, but incorrectly, known as the Hindenburg Cross was established by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, President of the German Republic, by an order dated 13 July 1934, to commemorate the distinguished deeds of the German people during the First World War. This was Germany's first official service medal for soldiers of Imperial Germany who had taken part in the war, and where they had since died it was also awarded to their surviving next-of-kin.

The Honour Cross was awarded in three forms:

  • DEU Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges Frontkaempfer BAR.svg - for front-line veterans, with swords
  • DEU Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges Kriegsteilnehmer BAR.svg - for non-combatant veterans, without swords
  • DEU Ehrenkreuz des Weltkrieges Hinterbliebene BAR.svg - for surviving widows, parents, and dependants of fallen participants in the war, without swords.[1]

The Honour Cross was modelled on the reverse side of the War Commemorative Medal of 1870/71 (Preußen Kriegsdenkmünze 1870-1871). The form of it awarded to combatants (the Frontkämpferkreuz) shows a laurel wreath encircling a medallion, with the dates "1914 1918". Crossed swords are between the arms, while the Honour Cross for non-combatants has no swords and has instead a wreath of oak leaves. Both crosses are in bronze. The Honour Cross for Next-of-Kin (commonly known as the Widows Cross), is black. The Honour Cross is worn suspended from a ribbon with black edges, two white stripes, and a red stripe between them. The ribbon for the Honour Cross for Next-of-Kin has these colours in a different order, having a white edge, with two black stripes on either side of a red stripe. They were frequently worn with the ribbon fashioned into a bow, with a pin on the back, which the mother or widow in question attached to her clothing. The application for this award had a time limit, which expired at the end of 1942. Each award came with an Urkunde, or certificate, which indicated which form the award took. The certificates for the next-of-kin crosses came in two types: those for widows were titled Ehrenkreuz für Witwen (Honour Cross for Widows), those for parents Ehrenkreuz für Eltern (Honour Cross for Parents). These certificates were dated and signed, usually by the local police chief or mayor. The number of awards given was:

  • for combatants 6,202,883
  • for non-combatants 1,120,449
  • for widows 345,132
  • for parents 372,950
  • total 8,041,414

By a decree dated 30 November 1938, the State Minister of the Interior introduced these awards into the Ostmark (the name of Austria after it was annexed by Nazi Germany) and also to the Sudetenland after it was seized from Czechoslovakia, so that in those two areas the awarding of the cross to war participants of German heritage continued after the deadline for applications had closed within the previous boundaries of Germany. Such Honour Crosses were still being awarded as late as 1944. For all attached military personnel outside these regions, the Führer, through the ordinance of 30 June 1942, had already ordered approval of these awards.


Doehle, Dr Heinrich (1943). Die Auszeichnungen Des Großdeutschen Reichs. Berlin, Germany: Berlin-Buch und Periodical Press. ISBN 0-9624883-4-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

  1. For the next of kin (widows and parents), of those who died in battle or as a result of wounds received in battle or having died in captivity or missing in action. "About: The Honour Cross of the World War 1914/1918". Retrieved 16 March 2013. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>