Iron Cross Symbolism & Meanings
As time goes on styles change, and so does symbolism and meanings of certain symbols. At times, a symbol can have negative meanings, and at other times it the same symbol can be seen as a positive thing. If you are going to be getting a tattoo of any kind, it is always important to know the history behind the art or symbol.
You could get a tattoo thinking it’s a wonderful thing, and then find out too late that it actually means something totally different. Plus, knowing the history behind your tattoo can make it all the more interesting. It’s definitely a great way to break the ice with new people. This article will discuss the varied history of the iron cross as well as its symbolism so that you can have a better understanding of this common tattoo.
When many people think of a cross they think of a shape that is much like a lower case “T.” The iron cross shares this basic style, but instead of having some limbs of the “T” longer or shorter than each other, all of the limbs of the cross are the same length. It looks much more like a rotated “X” than a “T.” The iron cross also has just about nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth as well. This symbol has been a decoration or honor in armies since the early 1800’s, not a symbol for Christ.
History Of The Iron Cross Symbol
It is said that the iron cross was designed by a man named Karl Friedrich. The design was then introduced as a sort of medal of honor for acts of bravery and leadership by Kaiser Frederic Wilhelm in 1813. This was not the only time that the iron cross was used as an honor is wars, though. It was again used in the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. Again, this doesn’t end the symbol’s war history.
A good symbol tends to be reused through time, and this was true of the iron cross, which was again used during World War I. The iron cross was only used in one war after that, in World War II when Hitler used it to reward soldiers in his army. His iron cross was slightly different, with a swastika in the middle of it. This part of the symbol’s history tainted the symbol in war, and it has not been used as a medal of honor since.
Iron Cross Symbolic Meanings
While the iron cross is no longer used for war, it is used for one thing in particular, bikers. Bikers, or people who take great pride in riding motorcycles, still use this symbol. However, they do not relate it to Hitler, or any other war leader. They see it as the proud symbol that it once was. The medal once symbolized honor, loyalty, bravery, faith, and courage. The sign of the iron cross still symbolizes all of these things. It is no longer seen as the negative sign that it was during the second world war. While it is a symbol that mostly bikers get tattooed on themselves, it would be okay for anyone to get this tattoo, so long as they relate to the great symbolism in it.
Now that you know the history behind the iron cross you can better understand people who have this tattoo, or better decide if this is the right tattoo for you. If someone asks you if you know about some of the dirty history about this sign, you can tell them that you do. You can also tell them the heroic symbolism behind the sign as well to show some of its more positive attributes. The more you know about your tattoo, the better.