WWI ended slightly over one hundred years ago, but the repercussions of this conflict were long lasting and immense. One little known example is the German government's final WWI reparations payment that was made in October, 2010. Germany has always felt a deep sense of injustice regarding the 1919 Versailles Treaty. The treaty incorrectly decreed… Continue reading Germany was winning WWI until summer 1918
Teutonic Knights have such a compelling history...their story has all the makings of a great mini-series. In its first 200 years, the Teutonic Order was invincible. Its heavy cavalry of ordained Catholic monks, clad in white surcoats with black crosses, numbered some 3000 men. They were the best in Europe and formed the core of… Continue reading Teutonic Knights and their descendants, the Baltic Germans, prospered for 700 years in north eastern Europe.
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) portrait at age 61 by Elias Gottlob Haussmann....Bach's portrait from 1746 is flanked by his Monogram.... Bach personally designed his Monogram which cleverly consists of the intertwined letters JSB, superimposed over their mirror image. He then topped the design with a crown. Bach took the liberty of adding a crown due… Continue reading Johann Sebastian Bach personally designed his Monogram
Frederick the Great was never the type of Monarch to flaunt his royal status...for example, he said a crown was merely a hat that let the rain in....and he never wore any royal regalia. What he did wear was a soldiers tunic and one decoration, the Order of the Black Eagle Breast Star. The motto… Continue reading Frederick wore a soldiers tunic and one decoration… the Order of the Black Eagle Breast Star.
If a nobleman wanted a woman, he simply took possession of her...that is how it was in the first half of the Middle Ages... from the 5th to 11th centuries. The concept of love and chivalry were unknown. But, by the end of the 12th century, leaders such as the German Kaiser Heinrich VI and… Continue reading The Codex Manesse documented the new concept of love and chivalry, especially that a man should conquer his woman’s heart.
In this famous image by Professor Wilhelm Camphausen, Bismarck is conversing with Napoleon III after the French Emperor was captured at the Battle of Sedan on September 2, 1870. Two months earlier, in July 1870, on the tenuous pretext of opposing a Hohenzollern appointment to the throne of Spain, the French Empire declared war on… Continue reading The quick German victory over France stunned neutral observers in 1870
This is an artist’s rendering of Breslau’s Old City Hall, from an early 20th century series of prints used by the Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) ship company, operating out of Bremen, Germany. The city of Breslau in Silesia has a long German history, but it is no longer part of Germany. It’s the same… Continue reading The city of Breslau in Silesia has a long German history, but it is no longer part of Germany
Germany's war contingency plans...drawn up in 1905...were a creative strategy to achieve a rapid victory in a two front war. The goal of rapid engagement was seen as a way to win and also save lives and minimize economic damage to all belligerents. So the plan, dubbed the "Schlieffen Plan" after its designer Count Alfred… Continue reading The Schlieffen Plan was put into action in 1914, but trouble in East Prussia changed the course of history.
Russian Empress Catherine the Great was actually German. Before she became Empress of Russia and renamed Catherine, her real name was Sophie Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst-Domburg. She was born in 1729 in Stettin in Pommerania, Prussia. After she ascended to the throne, she wanted industrious and skilled Germans to colonize her vast Russian Empire. In 1763,… Continue reading Germans were enticed to emigrate into the Russian Empire in 1763 by Catherine the Great
"Dinner at the Ball" captures a moment in time during the high point of peace and prosperity in the German Empire. It was 7 years after the German unification of 1871 and was the era of Kaiser Wilhelm I and his Chancellor Bismarck, who created a booming economy and a foreign policy that produced 43… Continue reading “Dinner at the Ball” captures a moment in time during the high point of peace and prosperity in the German Empire