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The Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
was the highest military decoration
A military decoration is a decoration given to military personnel or units for heroism in battle or distinguished service. They are designed to be worn on military uniform....
of the Kingdom of Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...
and the German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...
. It was considered a senior decoration to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
The Grand Cross of the Iron Cross was a decoration intended for victorious generals of the Prussian Army and its allies. It was the highest class of the Iron Cross. Along with the Iron Cross 1st and 2nd Class, the Grand Cross was founded on March 10, 1813, during the Napoleonic Wars. It was...
The Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross was awarded to the most outstanding of generals who performed feats of leadership to the extreme benefit of the German state. It was awarded only twice, over a century apart, to Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt , Graf , later elevated to Fürst von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall who led his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 with the Duke of Wellington.He is...
in 1813 and to Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg
Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg , known universally as Paul von Hindenburg was a Prussian-German field marshal, statesman, and politician, and served as the second President of Germany from 1925 to 1934....
in 1918. Von Blücher's award was referred to as the Blücherstern
while Hindenburg's was known as the Hindenburgstern
During the reign of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...
, it was intended to present the Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross as an award to the most successful German General of the Second World War, once Germany had achieved victory. As Germany was defeated in 1945, the decoration was never bestowed under Nazi authority and has not been awarded since.
The only known prototype example of this decoration is today located at the Museum of the United States Military Academy
The United States Military Academy at West Point is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located at West Point, New York. The academy sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, north of New York City...
in the USA.
|| 1813 Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
|| 1914 Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
|| 1939 Star of the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross