The Iron Cross was instituted on September
1st, 1939, in grades of : 2nd Class, 1st Class, Knights Cross, Knights Cross with Oakleaves.
As the war progressed it was recognised that these grades were not sufficient for the acts of bravery committed
in the field of battle so further grades were added: Oakleaves and Swords, Oakleaves and Swords with Diamonds and finally
the Golden Oakleaves with Swords and Diamonds.
While not officially a cross, the German Cross in Gold (DKiG) was so named for the swastika in the centre.
It was not officially part of the Iron Cross series but to be awarded it, the recipient had to have been already been
awarded the Iron Cross 1st Class. However, the DKiG did not have to be awarded for the Knight's cross to be bestowed,
so it can be a little confusing. In reality many Knight's Cross winners did not hold the DKiG.
The German Cross was instituted in 1941 and this date can be seen on the wreath.