Dating back to the 19th century, the iron cross has been a symbol of honor and heroism in both the Prussian and German armies.
In 1939, Adolph Hitler proclaimed the iron cross as a German decoration. Like earlier uses of the iron cross, Hitler issued the decorations in various classes depending on achievement. The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross of 1939 had a swastika in the center. It was awarded to recognize extreme bravery in the battlefield. Current laws in Germany prohibit swastikas, so on July 26, 1957, the central image on the iron cross was changed to a oak leaf cluster which could be worn by WWII recipients. Due to the negative implications that arose from the Nazi use of the iron cross, it soon became seen as a symbol of hate. Frederick William III, king of Prussia - a German kingdom comprised of Germany, Russia, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Belgium and Lithuania created a sketch of the iron cross then commissioned architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel to finalize it. The iron cross symbol was created as a military decoration to be awarded to all ranks of the military in honor of the German Campaign of 1813. Also know as the "Wars of Liberation," the German Campaign were numerous battles in which the The Sixth Coalition sought to gain their independence from Emperor Napoleon and First French Empire.
During the 1960's Americans saw a new wave of interest in the iron cross. Surfers began wearing Dad's medals as a form of youthful rebellion. Artist Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, who was well known in Southern California's hot rod and Kustom Kulture movement, began using iron crosses in his artwork. Volkswagon groupies celebrated the iron cross as a symbol of the cars originating country- Germany.
The young chopper culture picked up the iron cross as their symbol in the 60's as a show of rebellion. They enjoyed the shock value they received from the older generation. The symbol grew among bikers as many bikers were vets and embraced the symbol for the meanings of loyalty, bravery and honor.
The 1970's carried the tradition on with the heavy metal crowd. Musicians such as Lemmy of Motörhead were seen wearing Iron cross jewelry which he wore up until his death in 2015. We met Motörhead a few years back and there was Lenny with his trademark iron cross that he never took off.
Today, the iron cross has been widely accepted as a symbol of honor, bravery, and a little rebellion.
Here are few celebrities with WATTO Distinctive Metal Wear Iron Cross items.
Charles and Max Carver, Gregory Michael, Mike of Apocalyptica, Beverally Mitchell, Mista Perkins, Drew Carter, Josh Henderson, Sameer Bhattacharya, Danielle of Year Long Diaster, Rib Hillis, Linda Thompson, Danny Worsnop of Asking Alexandria, Matt Snell of Five Finger Death Punch, TY Stone
Charlie Bellmore of Kingdom of Sorrow, Kent Brooks of Like a Storm, Joel O'Keefe of Airborne, Danielle of Year Long Disaster, Anders priden of InFlames, Joey of Theory of a Deadman
Jareb Duuplaise, Brando Easton, Brian Priedmand, Stephanie Scott,
Joey Theory of A Deadman
Thank you to Backstage Artist Lounge for photos of musicians.