The German Cross was instituted on September 28th, 1941. The German High Command saw it necessary to create an award which would bridge the gap between the Iron Cross First Class and the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross. Once instituted, the German Cross became Germany’s second highest military decoration, second only to the Knights Cross and its subsequent grades. The German Cross was similar to the Knights Cross in regards that the award was not based off of any previous awards in German history. It was a unique creation which also ended with the war. There were approximately 26,000 recipients of the German Cross in Gold, and 2,500 recipients of the German Cross in Silver. This number, however, does not reflect the total amount of German Crosses produced.
The German Cross was actually not a cross at all, it took on the form of an eight-point star resembling some of the former breast awards of the Imperial era. The award came in two forms, a metal version and a cloth version. The metal version being the most complex of the two, it consisted of five separate pieces being fitted and held together using four to twelve rivets depending on who the manufacturer was. The cloth version follows the exact same design as the metal produced version except the entire cross is cloth with the exception of the laurel wreath still being metal.