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"Eisernes Kreuz" (EK). On 1 September 1939, the anniversary of the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1, Hitler invaded Poland and, anticipating a major conflict as a result, reinstituted the Iron Cross. More commonly termed "EK", it now officially became a German rather then a purely Prussian decoration and, initially at least, was referred to as an order. During the next six years, the Iron Cross was awarded to German and their allies not only for personal bravery, but also for outstanding military achievements and effective war planning.