This decoration was instituted on the 28th of March 1941 by Maréchal Pétain, as titular head of the German-controlled French Vichy government.
The only differences with the official French Croix de Guerre (War Cross) are the dates on the reverse of the award (1939-1940), and the ribbon which is light green with seven black stripes. The Vichy-governmend forbid the wearing of the 1939 Croix de Guerre from 1st July 1941 and onwards. A Honor Council was appointed to reinvestigate all before that date awarded Croix de Guerres.
During the war years, different types emerged on which the dates of the last year could varie from "1941", "1942", "1943" to "1944". The reverse image of the "Marianne" was in the last type replaced by the symbol of the "Francisque", the double bladed axe, with the scripting "ETAT FRANÇAIS".
The French government of de Gaulle strictly forbid the Vichy Cross on 7th January 1944 and decided thesame year that only the in 1939 instituted Croix de Guerre was permitted. After the liberation of Paris in 1944, the wearing of the Vichy-, Giraud- and Foreign Legion Croix de Guerres was forbidden. The mentioned in Despatches to the Croix de Guerres during the Vichy-government were however not removed from the Mentioned in Despatches.