Before WWI they were on top of the world. The North German Lloyd company was founded in Bremen in 1857 and developed into one of the two most important German shipping companies of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Operating out of Bremen, it became the primary means of transporting German emigrants to America, and also was instrumental in… Continue reading Looking at the history of this company, I am amazed at its resilience
Swabia, or Schwaben, was a region in SW Germany, now part of the states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. Starting in the 9th century, Swabia was the birthplace of Charlemagne's family... Charlemagne, or Karl der Grosse, was the first Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire in 800. Swabia was also home of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, which included Germany's… Continue reading The German land of Swabia was the birthplace of five royal dynasties
Prussian King Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) instituted the blue enameled cross “Pour le Merite” in June 1740 as a token of appreciation for those leaders in his army who distinguished themselves in the first Silesian War. The medal continued to be awarded for the next 180 years, gaining its greatest renown with Germany’s air aces… Continue reading This German medal, nicknamed the “Blue Max”, has an interesting story to tell, including why it has a French name.
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
From the early 1930’s until 1945, the German movie industry rivaled Hollywood in terms of quality, distribution and popularity. It was the golden era of Europe's film industry…with the high point in 1942 when 1.067 billion people were in paid attendance throughout Europe. The movie poster shown here features Zarah Leander and Viktor Staal in… Continue reading Once upon a time the German movie industry rivaled Hollywood
Königsberg Castle with the Kaiser Wilhelm Statue is pictured here in sharp detail, along with the routine comings and goings around the castle in 1895. This stone castle was constructed in 1257 as the fortress residence of the Grandmasters of the Teutonic Order and later became a residence for Prussian rulers. The people captured in… Continue reading Königsberg Castle with the Kaiser Wilhelm Statue is pictured here in sharp detail, along with the routine comings and goings around the castle in 1895.
In Germany the year 1888 is remembered as the year of 3 Kaisers. Friedrich Wilhelm succeeded his father as Emperor in 1888, but ruled for only 98 days, before succumbing to throat cancer. Although still young at age 57, he was Emperor of Germany for only 3 months. Upon Friedrich's death, his son Wilhelm II… Continue reading If Friedrich had lived longer, he might have been able to change European alliances, preventing the outbreak of WWI and thus WWII
Being mostly landlocked, Germany was never really known as a sea power, but in some of its northern cities it was different. In particular, the cities of Lübeck and Hamburg were famous for their flourishing maritime trade…already since the Middle Ages…and for using their merchant ships as armed warships during times of conflict. As an… Continue reading Pirates were a serious problem in Germany from 1398 to 1402
...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
Image from a book, History of Clothing, from a page showing outfits from the first third of the 16th century. The three men at the right are Landsknechte, demonstrating the very colorful and unique clothing that was worn by these mercenary soldiers. Landsknechte became an important military force through late 15th- and 16th-century Europe. At the… Continue reading Landsknechte are probably best known for the variety and flamboyance of their unconventional uniforms