Bremen Hanseatic Cross was instituted in one class only by the Senate of the Free and Hanseatic city of Bremen (Freie und Hansestadt Bremen) on September 14, 1915 according to the three-party agreement between governments of all the three Hanseatic cities, i.e. Hamburg, Bremen and Lübeck. Though the award was instituted jointly during discussions held in Hamburg, each Senate ratified its decoration separately, the Lübeck version being established first – on August 21, 1915. The Hamburg cross followed on September 10 and the Bremen cross – on September 14.
Bremen Hanseatic Cross was issued to the following military personnel regardless of rank and social status:
- officers, NCOs and other ranks of the Infanterie-Regiment Bremen (1.Hanseatisches) Nr.75;
- crew of the light cruiser “Bremen” (SMS Bremen);
- crew of other warships of the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) based in Bremen;
- military personnel of units permanently stationed in Bremen;
- military personnel of units temporarily stationed in Bremen in time of war;
- natives and citizens of Bremen serving in other units;
- officers of non-Hanseatic units that comprised of Bremen natives, even if they were not numerous;
- military personnel of non-Hanseatic units that fought alongside Hanseatic units and rendered them combat assistance;
- medical service volunteer assistants involved in caring of the wounded soldiers in the battlefield.
When awarded for bravery or combat merit Bremen Hanseatic Cross was an equivalent of the Prussian Iron Cross.
An award had a shape of an equilateral cross pattée with a superimposed central circular medallion. An obverse was red enameled, while a reverse had silvered surface.
An obverse of medallion shows a lesser coat of arms of Bremen known since XIVth century – obliquely based silver Gothic key of the Saint Peter who was considered as a patron saint of the Bremen Cathedral, with its bit facing upwards.
A reverse of medallion bore a Gothic inscription “For Merits in War
Bremen Hanseatic Cross measuring 40x40 mm and weighing
An award was worn suspended from a silk white
Approximately 20,000 Bremen Hanseatic Crosses were issued.