In the 1300’s, the northern German city of Lübeck was the "Queen of the Hanseatic League", by far the largest and most powerful member of this medieval trade organization, with offices in many countries. Lübeck was the "Queen of the Hanseatic League" Trade routes and office locations of the German Hansa League As testimony to… Continue reading Lübeck’s German offices in London were the largest medieval trading complex in Britain, from 1282 until 1853
Otto von Bismarck, presented in heroic fashion in this 19th century image celebrating the architect of German unification and the creation of the Second Reich in 1871. Portrait of Otto von Bismarck flanked by symbolic German warriors of north and south who fought the serpents and are presenting the ancient First Reich crown to Germania.… Continue reading As a result of his efforts, the quality of life in the new German Empire compared favorably to America.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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!