Two hundred years ago was a joyous time in Germany as the people celebrated the end of French dominance in Europe and the beginning of a long period of peace ahead. They also celebrated the return of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate statue of Victoria on a four horse dtawn chariot.
The Berlin Quadriga, designed by Johann Gottfried Schadow in 1793, included an olive wreath as a symbol of peace that had been positioned atop the Brandenburg Gate. However, the Quadriga was seized by Napoleon during his occupation of Berlin in 1806, and taken to Paris.
Eight years later In 1814, in an action rich with symbolism, Prussian Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher briefly occupied Paris, recovered the Quadriga Victory statue and returned it to Berlin. Thus the year 1814 ended the reign of France as the dominant European power, replaced by the ascendency of Prussia. There was a brief return of Napoleon in 1815, but he was defeated at Waterloo by Wellington and Blücher, pushing Prussia’s ascendency even higher.
In Berlin, the Prussian Iron Cross was added to the olive wreath held by the Victoria statue atop the Brandenburg Gate. The newly conceived Prussian Iron Cross was the symbol of victory and freedom from French occupation. Ever since 1813, the Iron Cross medal has become a German icon of bravery and battlefield success..