Twenty year old Frederick William Hohenzollern became Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia in 1640 and reigned for 48 years until his death in 1688. Historians refer to him as "the Great Elector" (der Große Kurfürst) because of his military and political prowess which set the groundwork for Brandenburg and Prussia to merge and… Continue reading Pundits began to describe Prussia not as country with a great army, but a great army with a country.
The Order of the Black Eagle Breast Star was an award granted by the Kings of Prussia and its design contains a tantalizing clue as to how the small Kingdom came to grow so powerful. The motto that is engraved upon the Breast Star was taken seriously and one that the Prussian kings lived by… Continue reading The motto engraved upon the Breast Star encapsulates how Prussia was ruled
In 1870 France declared war on Prussia but soon lost the war in 1871. The Prussian victory was the final test of leadership for Prussian King Wilhelm. In the afterglow of victory, he announced the formation of the Second German Empire at the Versailles Palace in occupied France… the new German Empire was born on… Continue reading The new German Empire was born on French soil in 1871
The inauguration of the Berlin Siegessäule (Victory Column) is depicted here in an 1873 artist's rendering of the ceremony conducted by Kaiser Wilhelm I...the image in gold is a close up of the Victoria statue atop the column, as it appears today. Originally, the Victory Column was designed by Heinrich Strack in 1864 to commemorate… Continue reading Inauguration of the 1873 Berlin Siegessäule (Victory Column)
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.
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
...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
Political cartoons are not new...yes, they were even used during the reign of Frederick the Great...this image and text was distributed in Frederick's time and was considered a parody, poking a sarcastic finger at the degree of loyalty within Prussian ranks. It shows Frederick surrounded by his amazingly loyal Infantry...the text states: Du bist noch… Continue reading Even Frederick the Great was a target of contemporaneous political sarcasim
This photo was taken in 1934, at a portrait studio 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 ten years later. Summer 1940...Ellen Tschutter just before her… Continue reading Precious family photos that survived WWII
This painting of "Erwachende Germania" (Awakening of Germania) symbolized efforts of the mid-19th century to unite German states into a second empire. In this 1849 painting by Christian Köhler, he depicts an allegorical "Germania" as a female warrior, awakened from her slumber by the approach of an evil power. She protects the old German Imperial… Continue reading This 1849 painting of an allegorical “Germania” symbolized a general yearning for a new German Empire