In 1914 the Emden had destroyed two Entente warships and sank or captured sixteen British steamers and one Russian merchant ship in the Indian Ocean, totalling 70,825 gross register tons.
Following the destruction of Emden, Kaiser Wilhelm II awarded the Iron Cross to the ship and announced that a new Emden would be built to honour the original cruiser. Wilhelm II ordered that the new cruiser wear a large Iron Cross on her bow to commemorate her namesake ship. The third cruiser to bear the name Emden, built in the 1920s for the Reich marine, also carried the Iron Cross, along with battle honours for the Indian Ocean, Penang, Cocos Islands, and Ösel.
Frigate captain v. Muller Commander S.M.S. Emden