Germany scraps new Iron Cross

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The German government was yesterday forced to scrap plans to re-introduce the Iron Cross, after opponents said the military medal still carried the "burden" of association with Nazi atrocities.

The medal, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross in Britain, was established during the Napoleonic Wars to reward bravery and valour of officers and enlisted men alike.

But its reputation was tarnished by the Nazis, who added a swastika to the design, linking it to atrocities in the Second World War. It was abolished in post-Nazi Germany. On Tuesday the Defence Minister, Franz Josef Jung, backed a campaign to re-introduce the cross for valour in combat in flashpoints such as Afghanistan. Currently, there are only medals for service.

[HNN: After an outcry, the ministry relented. A new medal will now be designed.]

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