You see it printed on t-shirts, stuck to the bottom of skateboards, and on TV where it stands as the logo of the motorcycle show West Coast Choppers. The Iron Cross is a symbol familiar to many while few actually know its name. It’s probably safe to assume that this symbol is seen in such a large variety of contexts that to relate it to one thing would be impossible.
Because of its relation to the German military, the Iron Cross was able to get plenty of exposure of the silver screen where it was frequently painted on the wings of war planes and turrets of tanks. With no shortage of WWII movies, the symbol easily became recognizable to most people in the United States.
Representing the symbol of the enemy in all these movies, the Iron Cross eventually became a statement of rebellion. Punk rock bands and biker gangs frequently display iron crosses, either pinned to their clothes or tattooed on their bodies. The cross advertises that whoever is wearing it is a rebel or non-conformist. The skateboarding culture, being the non-conformists of the sports world, has also embraced the use of the cross. In fact, the symbol for the popular skating brand Independent almost exactly resembles an Iron Cross.
Over the Years, the Iron Cross earned itself quite a reputation. The “rebel” or “bad boy” of the symbol population, the cross’ appearance just looks like it has some attitude. Maybe it’s got a chip of its shoulder from all those years of being filmed painted on enemy planes as they plummeted to a fiery end.