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Germany reintroduces Iron Cross

Since the end of World War II, Germany has been reluctant to focus much attention on its fighting forces. More than six decades after its end, though, Germany has reintroduced military honors: A politically correct, newly minted version of the Iron Cross – awarded to German soldiers since 1813, but withdrawn after the Second World ...

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Since the end of World War II, Germany has been reluctant to focus much attention on its fighting forces. More than six decades after its end, though, Germany has reintroduced military honors:

A politically correct, newly minted version of the Iron Cross – awarded to German soldiers since 1813, but withdrawn after the Second World War – was pinned on the chests of four senior non-commissioned officers yesterday.

They had dragged comrades and children to safety after a suicide bomb attack in northern Afghanistan.

“In my trips to Afghanistan I have seen for myself the conditions under which these men have to serve,” Angela Merkel, the Chancellor, said at a ceremony attended by German military top brass in the Berlin chancellery. The award of the bravery medal – known as the Honour Cross, although it has the same shape as the Iron Cross – marks a breakthrough in the way that Germany sees itself.

MICHAEL GOTTSCHALK/AFP/Getty Images

James Downie is an editorial researcher at FP.