Blog

Bavaria, Southern Germany

The Bavarian Coat of Arms is a combination of medieval symbols

There is a lot of symbolism on the Bavarian Coat of Arms...have you ever wondered what it all means? It is a combination of medieval symbols held by the two lions that have been used since the 14th century. On the top left is a Golden Lion representing the Upper Palatinate. That golden lion was… Continue reading The Bavarian Coat of Arms is a combination of medieval symbols

History Highlights, Old Germany...lost territory, Prussia...Northern Germany, Teutonic Knights..Deutscher Orden

Marienburg Castle is the largest fortress ever built in Europe

...with walls 27 ft high and 7 feet thick...and with outermost castle walls that enclose 52 acres. For perspective, that is four times the enclosed area of Windsor Castle. Amazingly, this huge German medieval structure still exists... it has survived the ages and is now 743 years old, although it is no longer located within… Continue reading Marienburg Castle is the largest fortress ever built in Europe

Notes on German Culture

Precious family photos that survived WWII

Königsberg, 1937 The photo above was taken in 1937 in Königsberg, the beautiful 700 year old medieval city that was once the capital of East Prussia. In that peaceful and optimistic year, none of the residents could foresee the terror that would befall them only seven years later. Summer 1940. My parents lived in Königsberg… Continue reading Precious family photos that survived WWII

History Highlights, Notes on German Culture, Old Germany...lost territory, Prussia...Northern Germany

This map shows German-speaking areas outside of the Reich borders, giving a good picture of where Germans in previous centuries created settlements

This Map of German Language Areas was produced after a 1910 census. It shows German-speaking areas outside of the Reich borders, giving a good picture of where Germans in previous centuries created settlements, either by self-motivation or in many cases by invitation of foreign rulers who valued their skills and industriousness. This is an unusual… Continue reading This map shows German-speaking areas outside of the Reich borders, giving a good picture of where Germans in previous centuries created settlements

First Reich...800 to 1806, History Highlights

The First Reich, or first German Empire, lasted 1000 years. It was established in 800 AD, was reconfirmed in 962 AD and dissolved in 1806. Officially it was known as the Holy Roman Empire.

This image shown here is the double headed Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, adopted in 1440 to replace the original single headed eagle used since 800 AD. The hand-colored woodcut, showing the states of the Holy Roman Empire in 1510, was produced in Augsburg by Hans Burgkmair and Jost de… Continue reading The First Reich, or first German Empire, lasted 1000 years. It was established in 800 AD, was reconfirmed in 962 AD and dissolved in 1806. Officially it was known as the Holy Roman Empire.

Famous Artists, History Highlights, Old Germany...lost territory, Prussia...Northern Germany, Teutonic Knights..Deutscher Orden

Pomp and ceremony in the 600 year old Königsberg Castle

This finely detailed painting by Adolph von Menzel depicts the 1861 Coronation of King Wilhelm I of Prussia in the 600 year old Königsberg Castle. Only a short 10 years later, this King of Prussia will successfully re-unite most of the states of the former German Holy Roman Empire... an Empire that lasted a thousand… Continue reading Pomp and ceremony in the 600 year old Königsberg Castle

German American, Notes on German Culture

People with German Heritage…where did 100 million Germans live in 1930?

This vintage world map shows the wide dispersion of 100 million Germans around the world. Of course most, 83 million, lived in Germany...at that time a much larger country than the Germany of today... but the remaining 17 million were widely spread out all over the globe... in the U.S. (9 million), Brazil (620,000), Canada… Continue reading People with German Heritage…where did 100 million Germans live in 1930?

History Highlights, Old Germany...lost territory, Prussia...Northern Germany, Teutonic Knights..Deutscher Orden

Much of German history is not well known …for example, there were successful Crusades conducted in northern Europe for hundreds of years

Much of German history is not well known ...for example, there were successful Crusades conducted in northern Europe for hundreds of years and the largest castle ever built in Europe was a German crusader castle, the Marienburg. There once existed a German state, governed by Warrior Monks, that ruled over all the lands along the… Continue reading Much of German history is not well known …for example, there were successful Crusades conducted in northern Europe for hundreds of years

German American, Notes on German Culture

Some interesting facts pertaining to German-Americans.

The first thing to know is that German Americans comprise about 50 million people, making them the largest self-reported ancestry group in the US…more than English Americans (26 million), more than Irish Americans (33 million), and more than African Americans (42 million). Distribution of German Americans according to the 2000 Census… California, Texas and Pennsylvania… Continue reading Some interesting facts pertaining to German-Americans.

History Highlights, Prussia...Northern Germany, Second Reich...1871 to 1918

For everyone with German heritage, the Kaiserzeit of 1871 to 1918 is a another good reason to be proud.

Germany launched an era of prosperity in 1871 when almost all German states merged into one new nation. The synergy that was unleashed... plus 47 years of peace in Europe...lead to a German Empire that was an industrial, technological, and scientific giant. For example, Germany received more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country… Continue reading For everyone with German heritage, the Kaiserzeit of 1871 to 1918 is a another good reason to be proud.

Notes on German Culture, Old Germany...lost territory, prussia

The city of Breslau in Silesia has a long German history, but it is no longer part of Germany

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

History Highlights, Second Reich...1871 to 1918, WWI...First World War

The Schlieffen Plan was put into action in 1914, but trouble in East Prussia changed the course of history.

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.

Notes on German Culture

Germans were enticed to emigrate into the Russian Empire in 1763 by Catherine the Great

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

Notes on German Culture

“Dinner at the Ball” captures a moment in time during the high point of peace and prosperity in the German Empire

"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

History Highlights, prussia

At Waterloo, Napoleon was defeated by a combined force of 76,000 Germans, 25,000 British and 17,000 Dutch and Belgians.

Most of us know about the famous Battle of Waterloo, commanded by the Duke of Wellington, who decisively defeated Napoleon 200 years ago. But, would it surprise you to know that German soldiers were actually the bulk of the forces that defeated Napoleon at Waterloo? Or that the Germans led by Prussia’s Gebhard von Blücher…… Continue reading At Waterloo, Napoleon was defeated by a combined force of 76,000 Germans, 25,000 British and 17,000 Dutch and Belgians.

History Highlights

In 1814 German Field Marshal Blücher briefly occupied Paris and recovered the stolen Brandenburg Gate Statue

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. 1814...Berlin celebrated the return of Berlin's… Continue reading In 1814 German Field Marshal Blücher briefly occupied Paris and recovered the stolen Brandenburg Gate Statue

Famous Artists, History Highlights

Frederick the Great playing the flute, accompanied by C. P. E. Bach

This candlelit scene depicts an 18th century “Flute Concert at Sanssouci”. It’s a painting by Adolph von Menzel, showing Frederick II of Prussia, known to history as Frederick the Great, playing the flute in his music room at Sanssouci, accompanied by C. P. E. Bach on the harpsichord.  As a musician, Frederick wrote 4 symphonies… Continue reading Frederick the Great playing the flute, accompanied by C. P. E. Bach

History Highlights, Notes on German Culture

If the East Prussian moose antler symbol could speak it would say: Germany, forget me not!

My message with this image is that today's Germans should remember and honor the history of East Prussia. This relatively small part of old Germany, the easternmost part of Germany once mentioned in the national anthem, played an oversized role in history. But the descendants of these East Prussians are now dispersed all over the… Continue reading If the East Prussian moose antler symbol could speak it would say: Germany, forget me not!

Notes on German Culture

The story of Kaiser Friedrich III is a tale that ended sadly in 1888, “The year of three Emperors”

1871...Crown Prince Friedrich with his father Kaiser Wilhelm I at Versailles Palace As the Crown Prince of Prussia, Friedrich was popular with the British royal family and in return he was fond of them and their more liberal policies. It makes me wonder what would have happened in 1914 if Friedrich had lived to be… Continue reading The story of Kaiser Friedrich III is a tale that ended sadly in 1888, “The year of three Emperors”

Notes on German Culture

Heralds were the MC’s at Tournaments and experts in military matters, diplomacy, coats of arms and genealogy

Jörg Rugen, master of ceremonies at Jousting Tournaments https://www.redbubble.com/people/edsimoneit/works/40594795-bavarian-herald-landshuter-hochzeit-1475?p=canvas-print&ref=similar_products The wand held by Jörg Rugen was an important tool, used by Heralds to gain attention and make grand gestures. His tabard with the white-and-blue lozenges design, was originally the coat of arms of the Counts of Bogen, adopted in 1247 by the House of Wittelsbach, rulers… Continue reading Heralds were the MC’s at Tournaments and experts in military matters, diplomacy, coats of arms and genealogy