• Germany's news in English

German MP demands return of Iron Cross medal

AFP · 6 Mar 2008, 15:04

Published: 06 Mar 2008 15:04 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"I know that for many people the Iron Cross is associated with the suffering of World War I and II," said Ernst-Reinhard Beck, a member of parliament for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats and head of Germany's association of army reservists.

"But today, when our aircraft and armoured vehicles are deployed in conflict zones or disaster areas, it also serves as a symbol of hope."

Beck, who was born in 1945, said German should reclaim the positive aspects of the Iron Cross now that the Second World War was more than 60 years in the past and that Germany’s modern armed forces, the Bundeswehr, had “over half a century, established a tradition which has nothing to do with the Nazi era."

The Iron Cross was originally a Prussian military honour, established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III in 1813, and the design is still used today as a national symbol on Germany's military aircraft and tanks. The medal, issued in various grades, became the highest decoration for German soldiers serving in combat abroad, but has not been awarded since the end of World War II.

The Iron Cross remains closely associated with the abuses of German soldiers during the Nazi era and Defence Ministry spokesman Thomas Raabe ruled out reintroducing it.

Story continues below…

"We are not thinking of bringing it back though we do want to introduce a medal to honour soldiers who show courage," he said. "The Iron Cross is not an option, not only because of its Third Reich connotations, but because it was awarded for war service and we are not a nation at war."

German soldiers are serving in some 10 foreign missions, including the NATO-led international force in Afghanistan.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Eurowings union threatens cabin crew strike for Thursday
Photo: DPA.

A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will start as of Thursday if ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

Obama to visit Berlin in last presidential trip to Germany
President Barack Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel during a Berlin trip in 2013. Photo: DPA.

The White House announced on Tuesday that US President Barack Obama will be paying one last unexpected visit to the German capital - his last before he leaves office.

Hostility towards minorities 'widespread in Bavaria'
A village in southern Bavaria. Photo: DPA.

Hate and hostility towards groups deemed to be different are not just sentiments felt by fringe extremists, a new report on Bavaria shows.

Hated RB Leipzig emerge as shock challengers to Bayern
RB Leipzig. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig's remarkable unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season has seen them suddenly emerge at the head of the pack chasing reigning champions and league leaders Bayern Munich.

Munich taxi driver in hospital after attack by British tourists
Photo: DPA

A taxi driver had to be hospitalized in Munich on Monday evening after three British tourists refused to pay their fare and then attacked him.

Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd