Deutschland und die Ostmark – Introduction

DEUTSCHLAND UND DIE OSTMARK
I N T R O D U C T I O N
(Germany and Austria)

So where did this all begin – this strange connection with Germany and Austria ?

Well – we have to go back to a cloudy, rainy day in January 1958, when Jane Crawford and Peter Crawford (see left in 1955) made their way along the Hanworth Road to the local travel agents.
There Jane booked a holiday to Bavaria.
Now this was odd.
Firstly because travel abroad was relatively rare in the 1950s, mainly because of the rigid currency controls which only allowed individuals to take relatively small sums of money out of the United Kingdom.
And secondly it must remembered that the Second World War had only ended in 1945, and Germany was not a particularly popular destination at that time.
Peter was very excited, although he had little idea of where Bavaria was, or what the place was like.


Soon, however, the excitement was forgotten, and it was only with a trip to the photographers on Hounslow Broadway, opposite the Bus Garage, in the early summer, that the enthusiasm was rekindled.
The photographs were for a new passport, and in those days British Pasports were ‘real passports’, with hard covers of a royal blue, buitfully embossed and gilded with the Royal Arms.
The next step was John Crawford’  visit to the Bank Manager, armed with his passport, in order to change some english sterling into Deutschmarks.
Then it was time for new clothes, with shirts and shorts for Peter, in Jane’s favourite pale green.
Then the school Summer Holidays came in August, and it was time to go on holiday.
Now Peter had been abroad before – to France – and by air – which was a real adventure in the 1950s, but only to Calais and Paris.
Bavaria was like Ruritania, however, a strange place in the middle of Europe, high among the mountain peaks – so this was to be a real adventure !

And Peter had seen the prisoner of Zenda, which was set in the mythical Ruritania, a few years earlier – one of his favourite films – and also had a copy of the book – so he knew what to expect.The Prisoner of Zenda was made in 1952 – starring Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, Louis Calhern, Jane Greer, Lewis Stone, Robert Douglas, James Mason and Robert Coote. It was adapted by Edward Rose, (dramatization) Wells Root, John L. Balderston, Noel Langley and Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue, originally uncredited). It was directed by Richard Thorpe.It is a shot-for-shot copy of the 1937 film, the only difference being that it was made in Technicolor.


So – the summer came, and with it for Peter, came the summer holidays from school.
And the holiday began, but not with a trip to the airport – currency restrictions made that too expensive – so it was off to Victoria, and a train to the coast and a ferry to the continent.
Then it was a journey by train across Europe – and a long journey – and for Peter the first time on a Pullman Train, where you actually slept on the train – and this was the most exciting adventure that Peter had ever had – apart from flying to France perhaps.
And this was a ‘package holiday’ organised by a company called ‘Blue Cars’ – which was a reference to the Pullman cars – which included the train journeys, ferry and accommodation in Germany.


Berchtesgaden

BERCHTESGADEN
STADTWAPPEN BERCHTESGADEN


Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps



It is located in the south district ofBerchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich.

To the south of the city the Berchtesgaden National Park stretches along three parallel valleys.
Berchtesgaden is often associated with the Mount Watzmann, at 2713 m the third-highest mountain in Germany (after Zugspitze and Hochwanner), which is renowned in the rock climbing community for its Ostwand (East Face), and a deep glacial lake by the name ofKönigssee (5.2 km²).

Another notable peak is the Kehlstein mountain (1835 m) with its Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest * see below), which offers spectacular views to its visitors.
Berchtesgaden’s neighbouring towns are Bischofswiesen, Marktschellenberg, Ramsau and Schönau am Königssee.
The first historical note dates back to 1102 and it mentions the area because of its rich salt deposits.
Much of Berchtesgaden’s wealth has been derived from its salt mines.
The town served as independent Fürstpropstei until the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss in 1803.
During the Napoleonic wars, Berchtesgaden changed hands a few times, such as in 1805 under the Treaty of Pressburg, when the area was ceded to Austria.

Berchtesgaden came under Bavarian rule in 1810 and became instantly popular with the Bavarian royal family, which often visited Königssee and maintained a royal hunting residence in the town itself.

Nascent tourism started to evolve and a number of artists came to the area, which reportedly gave rise to “Malereck” (literally painter’s corner) on the shore of Königssee.
The most famous author who lived in Berchtesgaden was Ludwig Ganghofer.

ECKART – HITLER – AND THE OBERSALZBURG


The area of Obersalzberg was purchased by the Nazis in the 1920s for their senior leaders to enjoy.
Hitler’s mountain residence, the Berghof, was located here.
Berchtesgaden and its environs (Stanggass) were fitted to serve as an outpost of the German Reichskanzlei office (Imperial Chancellery).
Some typical Third Reich buildings in Berchtesgaden include the railway station, that had a reception area for Hitler and his guests, and the post office next to the railway station.
The Berchtesgadener Hof Hotel was a hotel where famous visitors stayed, such as Eva Braun, Erwin Rommel, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, as well as Neville Chamberlain and David Lloyd George.

Not long after Hitler siezed the leadership of the party and became it’s Fuhrer, his mentor, Eckart, introduced him to the lovely village of Berchtesgaden that was nestled in the Bavarian Alps.

Located near the Austrian border and only a two hour train ride south-east of Munich, Berchtesgaden was a small farming, mining and resort community.
Since about 1850 the area had been one of the summer stomping grounds for Germany’s royalty and high society.
Since the first world war it had fallen on leaner times.
Under the influence of Eckart, Hitler adapted the custom of spending weekends, holidays, and vacations at the mountain retreat.
Hitler stayed with Eckart in a house, called the Sonnenhauesl, or as Hitler called it, the “Sonnenkopfl,” at Lockstein.
About a year after his introduction to Berchtesgaden, Hitler and a friend made a two mile hike up to Obersalzberg.
Dotted with a few small farms and summer guest-houses, the area offered some of the most spectacular scenic views of the German and Austrian Alps.
Hitler described the region as “a countryside of indescribable
beauty.”

He soon began spending most of his free time there and normally took a room at the Pension Moritz (see right).
A short walk below the Moritz was the Gasthof zum Turken (see left) (named after an innkeeper who fought the Turks) where Hitler and his friends enjoyed the “genuine goulash” and often lingered in one of the small public rooms lost in conversation.
It no doubt impressed Hitler to learn that the Moritz and Turken had once been the meeting places of such dignitaries as Prince-Regent Luitpold of Bavaria, the composer Johannes Brahms and even Crown prince Wilhelm of Prussia.
Having taught Hitler the oratory skills to manipulate an audience through the techniques of hand gestures, voice control and timing, Eckhart now presented his prodigy with a place that would overwhelm him with majestic and inspiring grandeur.
Little wonder that Hitler later said that it was here that he had spent his most pleasant times, and conceived his greatest ideas.
And opposite the Eckart’s Sonnenhauesl (The Little House of the Sun) was the mighty Untersberg (see right) – the massive mountain that dominates the Obersalzburg.
Interetingly, the Untersburg is no ordinary mountain, and one reason Hitler became intrigued by the mountain is because of re-occuring events, legends and tales of people gone missing, people experiencing missing time, encounters with elves and extraterrestrials and passageways to what Hitler called “the inner earth”.
Often noted by occultists as an “energy spot” or “magnetic geo-node,” many seekers came to the Untersberg to be refreshed by the water and drawn to over 400 caves and tunnels by what is described as a “strong magnetic anomaly.”
The Untersberg has been characterized by the Dalai-Lama as the “sleeping dragon,” the “heart-chakra of the world.”
The legends of time portals, missing expeditions, tunnel systems leading to fountains, temples, forests and marble rooms go back hundreds of years.
One of the most persistent rumors involves the legend of Karl the Great (of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation), known in the west as Charles the Great or Charlemagne.
Though physically buried in the German village of Aachen, it is believed that the “astral form” of this emperor sleeps in the mysterious depths of a subterranean throne room, surrounded by his strongest knights, gnomes, frost giants and fire giants, Valkyries and other “Volk,” awaiting the final liberation of his country and kinsmen; that he will rule over a thousand year kingdom of Aryan dominion.

Other accounts maintain this entity is the spirit of the emperor Frederich Barbarossa.
Within the ancient mythologies of the Nordic People are the prophecies that at a future point in time, though time itself is a variable, the “Watcher-god”, Heimdall, will sound his horn to summon the children of Loki (see right).
This semi-divine/human Sixth Race will break their bonds and unite with mystical forces to sail from the land of the Niflheim, located in an astral plane beyond the auroras, waging the final battle with the current “usurpers” of the planet to culminate in the enthronement of their vaticinated king.
It is this anticipated kingdom and its preparation that has been the goal of the ancient spirits. This is the heart of ‘The Awakening of the Black Sun’.
The Untersberg is known to be inhabited by certain kinds of elemental spirits of Nature, some of which are good and benevolent, others of a wicked and malicious nature, and inimical to mankind; and there are innumerable tales circulating among the people in the neighborhood, telling about the doings of the gnomes, fairies, and giants, dwelling within caves and in gorgeous marble halls and grottoes filled with gold and precious stones that will turn into dead leaves and stones when seen in the light of day.
“Some of the friendly tribes come out of the Untersberg on certain occasions, and they are said to have sometimes associated with the inhabitants of our plane of existence, partaking in the dances and amusements of the peasants, and even taking stray children with them into the Untersberg; and, incredible as it may appear, it is even asserted by, “those who know” that marriages have taken place between citizens of our world and the inhabitants of the kingdom of gnomes.
Of course it is well known that within the mysterious depths of the Untersberg there dwells the soul of a great emperor in his astral form.
There, together with his retinue, he sleeps an enchanted sleep, waiting for the liberation of his country.
Sometimes very suddenly, even on a clear summer day, clouds are seen to issue from the sides of the mountain; grotesquely-formed ghost-like mists arise from the caverns and precipices, crawling and gliding slowly upwards toward the top, and form on the neighboring peaks also, clouds of monstrous shapes and sometimes of gigantic proportions floating on, until the head of the Untersberg is surrounded by a surging sea of vapours growing dense and dark.
Seldom included in historical analysis of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler, is the spiritually mesmerizing impact of Mount Untersberg.
Hitler’s first direct encounter took place in 1923, upon which date the future führer would describe his feelings, “It was so wonderful! A view of the Untersberg! Indescribable!”
While not specifically recorded, it is unlikely that the youthful Hitler would have been unaware of the writings of Franz Hartmann.
His obsession with occultism and theosophy, now well documented, would explain the peculiar fascination with the “sleeping dragon” as described by the Dalai Lama.
Having rented Haus Wachenfeld, a small vacation villa across the valley from Mount Untersberg, for four years, it was in 1932, with proceeds earned from royalties from Mein Kampf, that Adolf Hitler purchased what would become the Berghof.

A major renovation of the house soon followed, including a series of extensions, a bowling alley, a library and a basement.
(see Grundstein – Foundation Stone of 1936 – left – with Thule Swastikas)
Most importantly, however, was the construction of a huge picture window, providing a completely open view of the Untersberg.
Hitler was deeply affected by the legend and remarked to Albert Speer, his architect and armaments minister:
Look at the Untersberg over there.It is not just by chance that I have my seat across from it.
In February of 1942, the Fuhrer commented to Heinrich Himmler, “Charlemagne was the one of the greatest men to ever live.”
It may well have been that Adolf Hitler had hoped to see some type of manifestation: his telescopes were specifically designed for earth observation.
Those were the best times of my life,” he would later say. “My great plans were forged there.”
So magnetic was the mountain that the Führer later explained,
I basically built the house around the window,” and he even named the structure Berghof: “The Mountain Court.”
The Berghof has been described as a “Bavarian country house guarded by 2,000 SS troops,” with Adolf Hitler gazing from a “gigantic window… across a valley to the Untersberg massif, a sheer wall of mountain that looms large in Teutonic myths.”
For almost a decade Obersalzburg had become the Holy Mountain of the Third Reich, drawing thousands of pilgrims to pay homage to their Führer.
On February 2, 1942, Hitler said that his residence in Obersalzberg – Berghof, was “Gralsburg”. This indicates a certain connection to the Holy Grail and the Templars.
Just a few days before the end of war some local people reported seeing strange SS convoys that headed toward the Zillertal Alps (a mountain range on the Austrian-Italian border) where they, on their way to the Schleigeiss Glacier, allegedly buried some boxes deep in ice somewhere near a precipice.
Some esoteric authors write that the Holy Grail is here.

     

A recent expedition (August 2008) into the gigantic cave-system under the mountain revealed that it goes down so far, that its lowest point had not been reached yet.The cave explorers had to return from their expedition without knowing how far down it goes.According to a German newspaper report they had gone down 1056 meters before being forced to return at an abyss-like precipce.This had been accomplished by being able to pass an extremely narrow passageway that had been previously unpassable.They also discovered more than 800 new passageways and a lake in 930 meters depth.
Initially Hitler rented a chalet called Haus Wachenfeld – a holiday home built in 1916 by Otto Winter, a businessman from Buxtehude.

Winter’s widow rented the house to Hitler in 1928, and his half-sister Angela (see right) came to live there as housekeeper, although she left soon after her daughter Geli’s 1931 death in Hitler’s Munich apartment.
By 1933 Hitler had purchased Haus Wachenfeld with funds he received from the sale of his political manifesto Mein Kampf.
The small chalet-style building was refurbished and much expanded during 1935-36 when it was re-named The Berghof.
A large terrace was built, a dining room was panelled with very costly cembra pine.
Hitler’s large study had a telephone switchboard room.
The library contained books “on history, painting, architecture and music.”

A great hall was furnished with expensive ‘Nordic’ style furniture, a large globe and an expansive red marble fireplace mantel.
Behind one wall was a projection booth for evening screenings of films.
A sprawling picture window (see right) could be lowered into the wall to give a sweeping, open air view of -the Untersberg. – And on the terrace Hitler installed the finest, very large terrestial telescopes (see left) so that he could observe the mysterious Untersberg in detail.
In his own memoirs, Nazi Germany’s court architect and minister of armaments, Albert Speer, recalled his evening at Hitler’s retreat in the Alps above Berchtesgaden, right after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact that — with its secret clause giving the Soviet Union part of Poland — opened the way to the Nazi invasion that triggered World War Two.
Speer wrote :

In the course of the night we stood on the terrace of the Berghof with Hitler and marveled at a rare natural spectacle. Northern lights of unusual intensity threw red light on the legend-haunted Untersberg across the valley, while the sky above shimmered in all the colours of the rainbow. The last act of the Götterdämmerung could not have been more effectively staged. The same red light bathed our faces and our hands. The display produced a curiously pensive mood among us. Abruptly turning to one of his military adjutants, Hitler said: ‘Looks like a great deal of blood. This time we won’t bring it off without violence.’” 



HITLER’S  BERGHOF





Haus Wachenfeld – Later known as the Berghof 





Haus Wachenfeld – Terrace






Haus Wachenfeld – Terrace 






Haus Wachenfeld 





Haus Wachenfeld and the Untersberg







Haus Wachenfeld – the Telescope






The Berghof – Final Form 









Berghof – Terrace




Berghof – Salon








Berghof – The Picture Window









Berghof – Sitting Area








Berghof – Living Room




Berghof – Study




Berghof – Salon




Berghof – Dining Room










Berghof – Dining Room








Berghof – Dining Room




Portrait of Adolf Hitler in Eva Braun’s Bedroom








 KEHLSTEINHAUS
 *(Adlerhorst – The Eagle’s Nest)

The Kehlsteinhaus – ‘Adlerhorst’ (the Eagle’s Nest) is a chalet-style structure erected on a subpeak of the Hoher Göll known as the Kehlstein.
It was built as an extension of the Obersalzberg complex erected in the mountains above Berchtesgaden.
The Kehlsteinhaus was intended as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler to serve as a retreat for Hitler and place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries.
The Kehlsteinhaus was commissioned by Martin Bormann, with construction proceeding over a 13-month period.

It was completed in the summer of 1938, prior to its formal presentation to Hitler on his 50th birthday on April 20, 1939.
It is situated on a ridge at the top of the Kehlstein mountain 1,834 m (6,017 ft), reached by a 6.5 km (4.0 mi) long and 4 m (13 ft) wide road that cost 30 million RMs to build (about 150 million euros in 2007, adjusted in line with inflation).
It includes five tunnels but only one hairpin turn and climbs 800 m (2,600 ft).

The last 124 m (407 ft)[1] up to the Kehlsteinhaus are reached by an elevator bored straight down through the mountain and linked via a tunnel through the granite below that is 124 m (407 ft) long.

The inside of the large elevator car is surfaced with polished brass, Venetian mirrors and green leather.
The main reception room is dominated by a fireplace of red Italian marble, presented by Mussolini.
Much of the furniture was designed by Paul László.
A significant event held at the Kehlsteinhaus was the wedding reception that followed the marriage of Eva Braun’s sister Gretl to Hermann Fegelein on June 3, 1944.
The building is often mistakenly referred to as a “tea house”, a corruption of its abbreviated name, “D-Haus”, short for “Diplomatic Reception Haus”.
As a result it is frequently confused with the actual tea house at Hitler’s Berghof, the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus he visited daily after lunch.
Although the site is on the same mountain as the Berghof, Hitler rarely visited the property.

It has been suggested he only visited the Kehlsteinhaus around 10 times, and most times for no more than 30 minutes, however he did receive André François-Poncet (the departing French ambassador to Germany) there on October 18, 1938.
As a result of the lack of close association with Hitler the property was saved from demolition at the end of the war.
A trail leads above the Kehlsteinhaus towards the Mannlgrat ridge reaching from the Kehlstein to the summit of the Hoher Goll.
The route, which is served by a Klettersteig, is regarded as the easiest to the top.


click here for more information about ‘Hitler and the Third Reich

Ludwig II Konig von Bayern

the best site for King Ludwig II of Bavaria – the ‘Swan King’
The Arms of the House of Wittlesbach
King of Bavaria was a title held by the hereditary Wittelsbach rulers of Bavaria in the state known as the Kingdom of Bavaria from 1805 until 1918, when the kingdom was abolished.
It was the second kingdom, almost a thousand years after the short-lived Carolingian kingdom of Bavaria.
Under the terms of the Treaty of Pressburg concluded December 26, 1805 between Napoleonic France and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, several principalities allied to Napoleon were elevated to kingdoms.
One of the staunchest of these had been the prince-elector of Bavaria, Maximilian IV Joseph, and on January 1, 1806, he formally assumed the title King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria.
He was a member of the Wittelsbach branch Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken.
On 26 May 1818, the constitution of the Kingdom of Bavaria was proclaimed.

The parliament would have two houses, an upper house comprising the aristocracy and noblemen, including the high-class hereditary landowners, government officials and nominees of the crown.
The second house, a lower house, would include representatives of small landowners, the towns and the peasants.
The rights of Protestants were safeguarded in the constitution with articles supporting the equality of all religions, despite opposition by supporters of the Roman Catholic Church.
The initial constitution almost proved disastrous for the monarchy, with controversies such as the army having to swear allegiance to the new constitution.
The monarchy appealed to the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire for advice, the two refused to take action on Bavaria’s behalf, but the debacles lessened and the state stabilized with the accession of Ludwig I to the throne following the death of Maximilian in 1825.

In 1864, Maximilian II died early, and his eighteen year-old son, Ludwig II (see left), arguably the most famous of the Bavarian kings, became King of Bavaria as escalating tensions between Austria and Prussia grew steadily. Prussia’s Minister-President Otto von Bismarck (see right), recognizing the immediate likelihood of war, attempted to sway Bavaria towards neutrality in the conflict. Ludwig II refused Bismarck’s offers and continued Bavaria’s alliance with Austria.
In 1866, violence erupted between Austria and Prussia and the Austro-Prussian War began. Bavaria and most of the south German states, with the exception of Austria and Saxony, contributed far less to the war effort against Prussia.
Austria quickly faltered after its defeat at the Battle of Königgrätz and was totally defeated shortly afterward.
Austria was humiliated by defeat and was forced to concede control, and its sphere of influence, over the south German states.
Bavaria was spared harsh terms in the peace settlement, however from this point on it and the other south German states steadily progressed into Prussia’s sphere of influence.
With Austria’s defeat in the Austro-Prussian War, the northern German states quickly unified into the North German Confederation, with Prussia’s King leading the state.
Bavaria’s previous inhibitions towards Prussia changed, along with those of many of the south German states, after French emperor Napoleon III began speaking of France’s need for “compensation” from its loss in 1814 and included Bavarian-held Palatinate as part of its territorial claims.
Ludwig II joined an alliance with Prussia, in 1870, against France, which was seen by Germans as the greatest enemy to a united Germany.
At the same time, Bavaria increased its political, legal, and trade ties with the North German Confederation. In 1870, war erupted between France and Prussia in the Franco-Prussian War.
The Bavarian Army was sent under the command of the Prussian crown prince against the French army.
With France’s defeat and humiliation against the combined German forces, it was Ludwig II who proposed that Prussian King Wilhelm I be proclaimed German Emperor or “Kaiser” of the German Empire (“Deutsches Reich”), which occurred in 1871 in German occupied Versailles, France.
The territories of the German Empire were declared, which included the states of the North German Confederation and all of the south German states, with the major exception of Austria. The Empire also annexed the formerly French territory of Alsace-Lorraine, due in large part to Ludwig’s desire to move the French frontier away from the Palatinate.
Bavaria’s entry into the German Empire changed, from jubilation over France’s defeat, to dismay shortly afterward, over the direction of Germany under the new German Chancellor and Prussian Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck.
The Bavarian delegation under Count Otto von Bray-Steinburg had secured a privileged status of the Kingdom of Bavaria within the German Empire (Reservatrechte).
Within the Empire the Kingdom of Bavaria was even able to retain its own diplomatic body and its own army, which would fall under Prussian command only in times of war.
But the persecution of the Catholic Church in Bismarck’s Kulturkampf frustrated the predominantly Catholic southern German states, including Bavaria, although Bismarck was eventually compelled to moderate his policies.
After Bavaria’s unification into Germany, Ludwig II became increasingly detached from Bavaria’s political affairs and spent vast amounts of money on personal projects, such as the construction of a number of fairytale-like castles and palaces, the most famous being the Wagnerian-style Castle Neuschwanstein (see left and below).
Although Ludwig used his personal wealth to finance these projects instead of state funds, the construction projects landed him deeply in debt.
These debts caused much concern among Bavaria’s political elite, who sought to persuade Ludwig to cease his building; he refused, and relations between the government’s ministers and the crown deteriorated.
At last, in 1886, the crisis came to a head: the Bavarian ministers deposed the king, organizing a medical commission to declare him insane, and therefore incapable of executing his governmental powers.
A day after Ludwig’s deposition, the king died mysteriously after asking the commission’s chief psychiatrist to go on a walk with him along Lake Starnberg (then called Lake Würm).
Ludwig and the psychiatrist were found dead, floating in the lake.
An autopsy listed cause of death as suicide by drowning, but some sources claim that no water was found in Ludwig’s lungs.
These facts have led to many conspiracy theories of political assassination.

The crown passed to Ludwig’s brother Otto I, but since Otto had a clear history of mental illness, the duties of the throne actually rested in the hands of the brothers’ uncle, Prince Luitpold, serving as regent.
During the regency of Prince-Regent Luitpold, from 1886 to 1913, relations between Bavarians and Prussians remained cold, with Bavarians remembering the anti-Catholic agenda of Bismarck’s Kulturkampf, as well as Prussia’s strategic dominance over the empire.

Bavaria protested Prussian dominance over Germany and snubbed the Prussian-born German Emperor, Wilhelm II, in 1900, by forbidding the flying of any other flag other than the Bavarian flag on public buildings for the Emperor’s Birthday, but this was swiftly modified afterwards, allowing the German imperial flag to be hung side by side with the Bavarian flag.
In 1912, Luitpold died, and his son, Prince-Regent Ludwig, took over as regent of Bavaria.
A year later, the regency ended when Ludwig declared himself King of Bavaria and from that point on was known as Ludwig III.

In 1914, a clash of alliances occurred over Austria-Hungary’s invasion of Serbia following the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Bosnian Serb militant.
Germany went to the side of its former rival-turned-ally, Austria-Hungary, while France, Russia, and the United Kingdom declared war on Austria-Hungary and Germany.
Initially, in Bavaria and all across Germany, recruits flocked enthusiastically to the German Army. At the outbreak of World War I King Ludwig III sent an official dispatch to Berlin to express Bavaria’s solidarity.
Later Ludwig even claimed annexations for Bavaria (Alsace and the city of Antwerp in Belgium, to receive an access to the sea).
His hidden agenda was to maintain the balance of power between Prussia and Bavaria within the German Empire after a victory.
Over time, with a stalemated and bloody war on the western front, Bavarians, like many Germans, grew weary of a continuing war.
In 1917, when Germany’s situation had gradually worsened due to World War I, the Bavarian Prime Minister Georg von Hertling became German Chancellor and Prime Minister of Prussia and Otto Ritter von Dandl was made new Prime Minister of Bavaria.
Accused of showing blind loyalty to Prussia, Ludwig III became increasingly unpopular during the war.
In 1918, the kingdom attempted to negotiate a separate peace with the allies but failed.

By 1918, civil unrest was spreading across Bavaria and Germany; Bavarian defiance to Prussian hegemony and Bavarian separatism being key motivators.
In November 1918, William II abdicated the throne of Germany, and Ludwig III, along with the other German monarchs, issuing the Anif declaration, followed in abdication shortly afterwards. With this, the Wittelsbach dynasty came to an end, and the former Kingdom of Bavaria became the Free State of Bavaria.
Kings of Bavaria

Maximilian I Joseph 1805–1825

Ludwig I 1825–1848 (d.1868)

Maximilian II 1848–1864

Ludwig II 1864–1886

Otto 1886–1913 (d.1916)

Prince Luitpold of Bavaria, Regent 1886–1912

Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, Regent 1912–1913

Ludwig III 1913–1918

König Ludwig von Bayern 
Ludwig II (Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm; sometimes rendered as Louis II in English) (25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until shortly before his death.
He is sometimes called the Swan King (English) and der Märchenkönig, the Fairy tale King, (German).
Additional titles were Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Franconia and in Swabia.
Ludwig is sometimes also called “Mad King Ludwig”, though the accuracy of that label has been disputed. Because Ludwig was deposed on grounds of mental illness without any medical examination and died a day later under mysterious circumstances, questions about the medical “diagnosis” remain controversial.
One of his most quoted sayings was “I wish to remain an eternal enigma to myself and to others.”
Ludwig is best known as an eccentric whose legacy is intertwined with the history of art and architecture. He commissioned the construction of several extravagant fantasy castles and palaces, the most famous being Neuschwanstein, and was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Since his legacy of grandiose castles lives on in the form of massive tourist revenue, King Ludwig is generally well liked and even revered by many in Bavaria today.
Ludwig II. Otto Friedrich Wilhelm von Bayern (* 25. August 1845 auf Schloss Nymphenburg, München; † 13. Juni 1886 im Würmsee, dem heutigen Starnberger See, bei Schloss Berg), aus dem deutschen Fürstenhaus Wittelsbach stammend, war vom 10. März 1864 an bis zu seinem Tod König von Bayern. Nach seiner Entmündigung am 10. Juni 1886 übernahm sein Onkel Luitpold als Prinzregent die Regierungsgeschäfte. Ludwig II. hat sich in der bayerischen Geschichte vor allem als leidenschaftlicher Schlossbauherr, unter anderem von Neuschwanstein, ein Denkmal gesetzt, weshalb er volkstümlich auch als Märchenkönig bezeichnet wird.
T H E   F A M I L Y
Ludwig’s father – Ludwig I
Ludwig (left) with his parents & brother Otto
Born in Nymphenburg Palace (today located in suburban Munich), he was the eldest son ofMaximilian II of Bavaria (then Crown Prince) and his wife Princess Marie of Prussia.
His parents intended to name him Otto, but his grandfather,Ludwig I of Bavaria, insisted his grandson was to be named after him, since their common birthday, 25 August, is the feast day of Saint Louis, patron saint of Bavaria.
A younger brother, born three years later, was named Otto.
Like many young heirs in an age when Kings governed most of Europe, Ludwig was continually reminded of his royal status.
King Maximilian wanted to instruct both of his sons in the burdens of royal duty from an early age.
Ludwig was both extremely indulged and severely controlled by his tutors and subjected to a strict regimen of study and exercise.
There are some who point to these stresses of growing up in a royal family as the causes for much of his odd behavior as an adult.
Ludwig was not close with either of his parents.
King Maximilian’s advisers had suggested that on his daily walks he might like, at times, to be accompanied by his future successor.
The King replied, “But what am I to say to him? After all, my son takes no interest in what other people tell him.”
Later, Ludwig would refer to his mother as “my predecessor’s consort”.
 Marie Friederike Franziska Hedwig von Preußen
Königin von Bayern

Ludwig’s mother was  (so it’s interesting that he so quickly submitted to Prussia’s military will; see post below). She married Ludwig’s father, Maximilian II, at 17 (he was twice her age), and gave birth to Ludwig at 19; she was also her husband’s cousin. Marie was considered a socially engaged monarch, and was well-liked by Bavaria’s Catholics, even though she herself was an Evangelical Protestant (not quite like today’s evangelicals, however; those of Marie’s day were dedicated to personal salvation and piety, and such social causes as temperance and abolitionism). While no intellectual – she once wondered aloud why anyone would spend time reading – Marie nevertheless revived the dormant Bavarian Women’s Association, a service organization which eventually was taken over by the Red Cross. She had the reputation of being a well-meaning, but distant, mother – by most accounts, Ludwig found what motherly affection he came by from his governess (not dramatized in Valhalla), Sybille Meilhaus. Meanwhile Ludwig’s father doted on his brother Otto, who was considered a far happier child than Ludwig, who even as a boy was perceived as inclined to romantic melancholy. To “correct” this tendency, his governess was replaced by a strict military tutor when Ludwig was nine (tellingly, he remained in touch with her for the rest of his life). After Maximilian’s death, Marie converted to Catholicism, at first living with Ludwig in the castle her husband had built for them. But as Ludwig grew more eccentric, she slowly withdrew, spending more and more of her time at her own estate in the Alps. She outlived Ludwig by three years.

He was far closer to his grandfather, the deposed and notorious King Ludwig I, who came from a family of eccentrics.
Ludwig’s childhood years did have happy moments.
He lived for much of the time at Castle Hohenschwangau, a fantasy castle his father had built near the Schwansee (Swan Lake) near Füssen.
It was decorated in the Gothic style with countless frescoes depicting heroic German sagas.
The family also visited Lake Starnberg.
Teenaged Ludwig became best friends with (and possibly the lover of) his aide-de-camp, the handsome aristocrat and sometime actor Paul Maximilian Lamoral, a scion of the wealthy Thurn and Taxis dynasty.
The two young men rode together, read poetry aloud, and staged excerpts from the operas of their idol, Richard Wagner.
Their relationship lapsed when Paul became engaged in 1866.
During his youth Ludwig also initiated a lifelong friendship with his half-first cousin once removed, Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, later Empress of Austria.
They loved nature and poetry; Elisabeth called Ludwig “Eagle” and he called her “Dove.”
Young Ludwig in Uniform

Ludwig’s brother – Prince Otto
Prince Otto served in the Bavarian army from 1863.
When King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German Emperor on 18 January 1871 at the Palace of Versailles, Prince Otto represented his brother who refused to participate.
Otto then criticized the celebration as ostentatious and heartless in a letter to Ludwig.
It is claimed Otto suffered from severe mental illness.
He was declared insane in 1875.
The cause of his illness has not been revealed.
He was kept confined in Fürstenried Palace under medical supervision from 1875 until his death.
Otto became King of Bavaria upon his older brother’s deposition and unexplained death in 1886.
However, Otto never truly ruled as King and was by some accounts not even aware that he had become King.
Otto’s uncle, Prince Luitpold, served as Prince Regent for Otto until Luitpold’s death. Luitpold’s son Ludwig then became the next Prince Regent.
The constitution of Bavaria was amended on 4 November 1913, to include a clause specifying that if a regency for reasons of incapacity lasted for ten years with no expectation that the King would ever be able to reign, the Regent could proclaim the end of the regency and assume the crown himself.
The following day, Otto was deposed by his cousin, Prince Regent Ludwig, who then assumed the title Ludwig III.
The parliament assented on 6 November, and Ludwig III took the constitutional oath on 8 November. Otto was permitted to retain his title and honours until his death in 1916.
In this time Bavaria had “two kings”.
Otto’s remains were interred in the crypt of the Michaelskirche in Munich.
Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Miraculous Image) in Altötting, beside those of his brother, father and grandfather.
Portrait of König Ludwig II 

König Ludwig II 

König Ludwig II von Bayern – Portrait
König Ludwig II – right
Prince Otto of Bavaria – standing – Prince Wilhelm of Hesse – left
(1863 Munich)
König Ludwig II and Duchess Sophie in Bavaria
Ludwig became engaged to Duchess Sophie in Bavaria, his cousin and the youngest sister of his dear friend, Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
The engagement was publicized on 22 January 1867, but after repeatedly postponing the wedding date, Ludwig finally cancelled the engagement in October.
A few days before the engagement had been announced, Sophie had received a letter from the King telling her what she already knew: “The main substance of our relationship has always been … Richard Wagner’s remarkable and deeply moving destiny.”
After the engagement was broken off, Ludwig wrote to his former fiancee, “My beloved Elsa! Your cruel father has torn us apart. Eternally yours, Heinrich” (the names Elsa and Heinrich came from characters from Wagner operas).
Ludwig never married, but Sophie later married Ferdinand d’Orléans, duc d’Alençon (1844–1910).
Ludwig and Josef Kainz
Throughout his reign, Ludwig had a succession of close friendships with men, including his chief equerry and Master of the Horse, Richard Hornig (1843–1911), Hungarian theatre actor Josef Kainz, courtier Alfons Weber (born c.1862) and Richard Wagner.
He began keeping a diary in which he recorded his private thoughts and his attempts to suppress his sexual desires and remain true to his Roman Catholic faith.
Ludwig’s original diaries from 1869 were lost during World War II, and all that remains today are copies of entries during the 1886 plot to depose him.
These transcribed diary entries, along with private letters and other surviving personal documents, suggest that Ludwig was homosexual and struggled with his orientation throughout his life.
Homosexuality had not been punishable in Bavaria since 1813.
Some earlier diaries have survived in the Geheimes Hausarchiv in Munich and extracts starting in 1858 were published by Evers in 1986.
Josef Kainz
Josef Gottfried Ignaz Kainz (2 January 1858 – 20 September 1910) was an Austrian actor of Hungarian birth. He was highly active in theatres in Austria and Germany from 1873–1910.
Revered as one of the greatest actors of the German-speaking theatre, the city of Vienna annually bestowed a theatre award for outstanding acting performance named after him, the Kainz Medal, from 1958 to 1999 (replaced by the Nestroy Award in 2000).
From 1880 he worked with Ernst von Possart at the National Theatre Munich and became one of the favourite actors of King Ludwig II of Bavaria appearing in private performance exclusively for the monarch’s delight. 
© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013
LUDWIG II and RICHARD WAGNER

Richard Wagner’s great opera cycles might not exist were it not for the support of his patron Ludwig II, King of Bavaria (1845–86).

By 1864 Wagner’s life was at its lowest point,his marriage was over, many operas were unproduceable by musicians, and he was in heavy debts.
Wagner was almost suicidal with despair when on 3 May 1864, he received a card from Herr Pflstermeister, secretary to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, requesting to see him.

Franz Seraph von Pfistermeister 

Franz Seraph von Pfistermeister (14 December 1820 – 2 March 1912), was the court secretary and State Council of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Pfistermeister entered history not only as a politician, but also musically when in his first official administrative function he was ordered by King Ludwig II to find the composer Richard Wagner and bring him to Munich. Franz Seraph Freiherr von Pfistermeister was born on 14 December 1820 in Amberg, Germany. After attending the gymnasium in Amberg, Franz Pfistermeister began his career in the Royal Bavarian governmental service as military fiscal adjunct. In 1849 he was appointed to the Court Office in Munich, and by the year 1866 he then began working as Cabinet Secretary to Kings Maximilian II and Ludwig II.
Because of his opposition to Richard Wagner, and his costly promotion by King Ludwig II in 1866, his dismissal from the 1866 service was “the highest immediate service”. From 1864 to 1895 he served as State Council of the Kingdom of Bavaria. He died on the 2 March 1912 in his home on Knöbelstraße, Munich, where he lived from 1881

Not seeing any point to the visit, Wagner refused but Herr Pfistermeister persisted, and when Wagner eventually agreed to meet, he realised that his salvation was at hand – King Ludwig II had decided to pay all the debts of Wagner, and also finance his Operas.
The young, handsome King Ludwig was truly besotted with Wagner’s music and wanted to become his patron.
He offered to take all the financial burden away from Wagner leaving him free to create his art in an ideal atmosphere.
To this end, King Ludwig installed Wagner in a beautiful villa close to the royal castle of Hohenschwangau.

It was on May 5 1864 the monarch and the composer met for the first time.
After their first meeting in May 1864, King Ludwig wrote to Richard Wagner: 
Be assured that I will do everything in my power to make up for your suffering of the past.”
At the time Richard Wagner is in deep financial troubles, he is sickly and homeless. The king is his salvation.

Tristan und Isolde

After his audience with King Ludwig II. Wagner wrote: 
“…he loves me with the sincerity and glow of a first love… I am to complete the Nibelungen….he will give me everything necessary for me to perform my works. I shall be relieved of all problems. Can that be anything but a dream ?” 
The composer’s debts are paid, he receives the impressive salary of 4000 guilders and is able to move into a large house in Munich.Preparations begin for the performance of “Tristan und Isolde”.

More than 20 rehearsals place.
Stage scenery and costumes swallow up large amounts of money.
Following several postponements the day of the premiere the king had waited for so long finally arrived on June 10 1865.
The king was received with loud cheers and fanfare in the royal Court Theater.
The public broke out into enormous storms of applause, and the opera is a great triumph for Wager as well as for Ludwig.

Ludwig’s enormous fairy-tale castles, Teutonic, neo-gothic and oriental versions of Versailles which virtually bankrupted the country, were the grand opera sets made flesh.
He endeavoured to be an absolute monarch at the dawn of the modern republican world, when such goals were impossible.
But having failed in the political and domestic realm, he made his dream reality in art and music.
No expense was spared for the staging of Wagner’s operas, which were often performed with Ludwig the sole member of the audience, and in return Wagner gave him his genius and his love.
Wagner acknowledged that :
Without him I am as nothing ! Even in loving him he was my first teacher. O my King ! You are divine! 
They exchanged some 600 letters, and it is hard to say who was more enthusiastic, at least in the beginning.
Wagner: “What bliss enfolds me! A wonderful dream has become a reality! . . . I am in the Gralsburg, in Parsifal’s sublime and loving care. . . . I am in your angelic arms! We are near to one another.” Or Ludwig: “My only beloved Friend! My saviour! My god! . . . Ah, now I am happy, for I know that my Only One draws near. Stay, oh stay! adored one for whom alone I live, with whom I die.”
Their relationship was almost certainly physical, though not necessarily “genital.”
Wagner at one time held homoerotic ideals, and in ‘Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft’ (The Art-work of the Future), comments on the love of comrades in Sparta :
“This beauteous naked man is the kernel of all Spartanhood; from genuine delight in the beauty of the most perfect human body – that of the male – arose that spirit of comradeship which pervades and shapes the whole economy of the Spartan State. This love of man to man, in its primitive purity, proclaims itself as the noblest and least selfish utterance of man’s sense of beauty, for it teaches man to sink and merge his entire self in the object of his affection. . . . The higher element of that love of man to man . . . not only included a purely spiritual bond of friendship, but this spiritual friendship was the blossom and the crown of the physical friendship. The latter sprang directly from delight in the beauty, aye in the material bodily beauty of the beloved comrade.”
Ludwig refused to get married, even for state reasons, and wanted to give up the throne to live with and for Wagner, but it was not to be, for Wagner loved women as well as music and power.

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© Copyright Peter Crawford 2013




LUDWIG’S DOWNFALL

Why, after years of eccentric behavior, was Ludwig finally declared insane and deposed by his Cabinet? The reasons were probably financial in nature.
While Ludwig paid for his palaces out of his own resources, his relentless building program had dragged him deeper and deeper into debt, and the scandal of royal bankruptcy had begun to loom.
In 1884 a loan had to be secured from the Bavarian State Bank to continue the work on Neuschwanstein, but rather than economize as a result, Ludwig only planned even grander projects – he had the site cleared for Castle Falkenstein, and announced Byzantine and Chinese palaces would soon follow.
When Ludwig turned to his Cabinet for a second loan, however, they refused; the king responded by sending servants out to other monarchs to beg for funds, and gossip arose that he was seeking men for a crazed plan to break into banks in Berlin, Frankfurt and Paris.
By 1886, it was rumored Ludwig had even begun seeking new ministers for his Cabinet, and the ruling clique decided it had to act.

The Cabinet settled on a plan to depose Ludwig for constitutional reasons (rather than through a coup d’etat), by removing him due to his unfitness to govern, by reason of insanity. One problem with this plan was that Ludwig’s brother Otto, next in line to the throne, was clearly incurably mad, and had been institutionalized since 1872. Ludwig’s uncle, Prince Luitpold, however, agreed to act as Regent, but only on the condition that he was convinced Ludwig was truly unfit to govern. Thus a team of four eminent psychiatrists, headed by Dr Berhard von Gudden – the leading German psychiatrist of the day – was chartered to compile an official report on Ludwig, and Count von Holnstein, Ludwig’s Master the Horse, set about collecting stories and gossip about the king.
There was no shortage of lurid rumors.
Ludwig’s public appearances were bizarre enough – he often chattered to himself, pulling his beard, and was so shy on state occasions that he sometimes hid behind screens of flowers. The king was also known to repeatedly hug various pillars and architectural features of his castles, and enjoyed dressing up as Lohengrin and other medieval heroes.

Otto Eduard Leopold
Fürst von Bismarck

But servants also told tales of beatings, children’s games, and stable-boys dancing naked before the king in the moonlight.
The report convinced Prince Luitpold, and a mission was sent to Neuschwanstein to arrest the king.
Appropriately enough, the mission ended in a debacle – alerted to its approach, peasants loyal to Ludwig swarmed the castle, and a baroness in love with the king caused a scene by brandishing her parasol menacingly at the gate.
Loyalists tried to persuade Ludwig to flee over the Alps, but he refused; the king then attempted to issue a proclamation protesting the mission, but it was suppressed by the government.
From Berlin, Bismarck – who was only partly sympathetic to the Cabinet – advised Ludwig that to hold onto the throne, he must show himself to the people, but the neurotic Ludwig refused this course of action, too.

Schloß Berg – Starnberg See
The Arrest of Ludwig

At 4 a.m. on 10 June 1886, a government commission including Holnstein and von Gudden arrived at Neuschwanstein to formally deliver the document of deposition to the king and place him in custody. 
Tipped off an hour or two earlier by a faithful servant, his coachman Fritz Osterholzer, Ludwig ordered the local police to protect him, and the commissioners were turned back at the castle gate at gun-point. 
That same day, the Government publicly proclaimed Luitpold as Prince Regent.
The king’s friends and allies urged him to flee, or to show himself in Munich and thus regain the support of the people.
Ludwig hesitated, instead issuing a statement, allegedly drafted by his aide-de-camp Count Alfred Dürckheim, which was published by a Bamberg newspaper on 11 June:
‘The Prince Luitpold intends, against my will, to ascend to the Regency of my land, and my erstwhile ministry has, through false allegations regarding the state of my health, deceived my beloved people, and is preparing to commit acts of high treason. I call upon every loyal Bavarian to rally around my loyal supporters to thwart the planned treason against the King and the fatherland.’
The government succeeded in suppressing the statement by seizing most copies of the newspaper and handbills.
As the king dithered, his support waned.
Peasants who rallied to his cause were dispersed, and the police who guarded his castle were replaced by a police detachment of 36 men who sealed off all entrances to the castle.
Eventually the king decided he would like to escape, but it was too late.
In the early hours of 12 June, a second commission arrived.
The King was seized just after midnight and at 4 a.m. taken to a waiting carriage.
Ludwig was then transported to Castle Berg (see above) on the shores of Lake Starnberg, south of Munich.
Starnberg See
On 13 June 1886, around 6:00 pm, Ludwig asked Gudden to accompany him on a walk through the Schloß Berg parkland along the shore of Lake Starnberg.
Gudden agreed; the walk may even have been his suggestion, and he told the nurses not to accompany them.
His words were ambiguous (“Es darf kein Pfleger mit gehen”) and whether they were meant to follow at a discreet distance is not clear.
The two men were last seen at about 6:30; they were due back at eight but never returned.
After searches were made for more than three hours by the entire castle personnel in a gale with heavy rain, at 11:30 that night the bodies of both the King and Gudden were found, floating in the shallow water near the shore.
The King’s watch had stopped at 6:54. Gendarmes patrolling the park had heard and seen nothing.
Ludwig’s death was officially ruled a suicide by drowning, but this has been questioned.
Ludwig was known to be a strong swimmer in his youth, the water was less than waist-deep where his body was found, and the official autopsy report indicated that no water was found in his lungs.
Ludwig had expressed suicidal feelings during the crisis, but the suicide theory does not fully explain Gudden’s death.
Gudden’s body showed signs of strangulation and of a struggle, leading to the suspicion that he was strangled to death by Ludwig.
Many hold that Ludwig was murdered by his enemies while attempting to escape from Berg.
Ludwig II Lying in State
Ludwig’s body was dressed in the regalia of the Order of Saint Hubert, and lay in state in the royal chapel at the Munich Residence Palace.
In his right hand he held a posy of white jasmine picked for him by his cousin the Empress Elisabeth of Austria.
After an elaborate funeral on 19 June 1886, Ludwig’s remains were interred in the crypt of the Michaelskirche in Munich.
His heart, however, does not lie with the rest of his body.
Bavarian tradition called for the heart of the king to be placed in a silver urn and sent to the Gnadenkapelle (Chapel of the Mercy) in Altötting, where it was placed beside those of his father and grandfather.
König Ludwig II von Bayern – Death Mask
König Otto von Bayern (1848-1916)
King Ludwig II was succeeded by his brother Otto, but since Otto was genuinely incapacitated by mental illness, the king’s uncle Luitpold remained regent.

König Ludwig III von Bayern
Ludwig III (Ludwig Luitpold Josef Maria Aloys Alfried), (January 7, 1845 – October 18, 1921) was the last King of Bavaria, reigning from 1913 to 1918.
Ludwig was born in Munich, the eldest son of Prince Luitpold of Bavaria and of his wife, Archduchess Augusta of Austria (daughter of Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany).
Hailing from Florence, Augusta always spoke in Italian to her four children.
Ludwig was named for his grandfather, King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
Ludwig spent his first years living in the Electoral rooms of the Munich Residenz and in the Wittelsbacher Palace.
When he was ten years old, the family moved to the Leuchtenberg Palace.
In 1861 at the age of sixteen, Ludwig began his military career when his uncle, King Maximilian II of Bavaria, gave him a commission as a lieutenant in the 6th Jägerbattalion.
A year later he entered the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich where he studied law and economics.
When he was eighteen, he automatically became a member of the Senate of the Bavarian Legislature as a prince of the royal house.
In 1866, Bavaria was allied with the Austrian Empire in the Austro-Prussian War.
Ludwig held the rank of Oberleutnant; he was wounded at the Battle of Helmstedt, taking a bullet in his thigh.
He received the Knight’s Cross 1st Class of the Bavarian Military Merit Order
M Ü N C H E N
Residenz – Műnchen
As admirer of ancient Greece and the Italian renaissance Ludwig patronized the arts as principal of many neoclassical buildings, especially in Munich, and as fanatic collector.
Among others he had built were the Walhalla temple, the Befreiungshalle, the Ludwigstrasse, the Bavaria statue, the Glyptothek, the Old and the New Pinakothek.
His architects Leo von Klenze and Friedrich von Gärtner also strongly influenced the cityscape of modern Athens. The king collected Greek and Roman sculptures, Early German and Early Dutch paintings, masterpieces of the Italian renaissance, and contemporary art for his museums and galleries.
He placed special emphasis on collecting Greek and Roman sculpture.
One of his most famous conceptions is the celebrated “Schönheitengalerie” (Gallery of Beauties), in the south pavilion of his Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. A collection of 36 portraits of the beautiful women painted between 1827 and 1850 mostly by Joseph Karl Stieler.
After his abdication, Ludwig remained an important and lavish sponsor for the arts. This caused several conflicts with his son and successor Maximilian. Finally Ludwig financed his projects from his own resources.
Melchio Frank – Thronsall -Residenz Műnchen – Bayern Deutschland
München – Glyptothek
The Glyptothek is a museum in Munich, Germany, which was commissioned by the Bavarian King Ludwig I to house his collection of Greek and Roman sculptures (hence γλυπτο- glypto- “sculpture”, from the Greek verb γλύφειν glyphein “to carve”). It was designed by Leo von Klenze in the Neoclassical style, and built from 1816 to 1830. 
The Glyptothek was commissioned by the Crown Prince (later King) Ludwig I of Bavaria alongside other projects, such as the neighboring Königsplatz and the building which houses the State Collection of Greek and Roman Antiquities, as a monument to ancient Greece.
He envisioned a “German Athens”, in which the ancient Greek culture would be remembered; he had this built in front of the gates of Munich.
The layout of the Königsplatz complex was designed by the architects Karl von Fischer and Leo von Klenze in 1815, the latter arranged it in the style of a forum, with the Glyptothek on the north side.
Colorful frescoes and stuccos made by distinguished artists such as Peter von Cornelius, Clemens von Zimmermann, and Wilhelm von Kaulbach adorned the walls of the museum.
Propyläen – München
The Propyläen is constructed in Doric order and was completed by Leo von Klenze in 1862, and evokes the monumental entrance of the Propylaea for the Athenian Acropolis.
The gate was created as a memorial for the accession to the throne of Otto of Greece, a son of the principal King Ludwig I of Bavaria.
The reliefs and sculptures celebrating the Bavarian prince and the Greek War of Independence were created by Ludwig Michael Schwanthaler.
Bavaria with Ruhmeshalle 
Bavaria is the name given to a monumental, bronze sand-cast 19th-century statue in Munich, southern Germany. It is a female personification of the Bavarian homeland, and by extension its strength and glory.
The statue is part of an ensemble which also includes a hall of fame (Ruhmeshalle) and a stairway.
It was commissioned by Ludwig I of Bavaria, with the specific design being chosen by competition.
It was cast at the Munich foundry of J.B. Stiglmair between 1844 and 1850 and is the first colossal statue since Classical Antiquity to consist entirely of cast bronze.
It was and is up to the present day considered a technological masterpiece. Because of its size it had to be produced in several parts; it is 18.52 meters high and weighs about 87.36 tons.
It rests on a stone base which is 8.92 meters high.
L U D W I G ‘ S C A S T L E S
SCHLOß  HOHENSCHWANGAU
Hohenschwangau Castle or Schloss Hohenschwangau (lit: High Swan County Palace) is a 19th century palace in southern Germany.
It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
It is located in the German village of Schwangau near the town of Füssen, part of the county of Ostallgäu in southwestern Bavaria, Germany, very close to the border with Austria.
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Schloß Hohenschwangau
As a boy Ludwig lived for much of the time at Castle Hohenschwangau, a fantasy castle his father had built near the Schwansee (Swan Lake) near Füssen.
In 1832, Ludwig’s father King Maximilian II of Bavaria bought its ruins to replace them by the comfortable neo-Gothic palace known as Hohenschwangau Castle. Finished in 1837, the palace became his family’s summer residence.
It was decorated in the gothic style with countless frescoes depicting heroic German sagas.
The family also visited Lake Starnberg.
As an adolescent, Ludwig became best friends with his aide de camp, Prince Paul of Bavaria’s wealthy Thurn und Taxis family. The two young men rode together, read poetry aloud, and staged scenes from the Romantic operas of Richard Wagner. 
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Schloß Hohenschwangau
Music Room with the ‘Wagner Piano’


Richard Wagner
portrait by Franz Von Lenbach
One of Ludwig’s first royal acts was to become an official patron of Wagner, and he invited the composer to visit his court, despite Wagner’s controversial political past, and what was perceived as the “radicalism” of his operas.
Wagner’s ‘Lohengrin’, with its Swan Knight hero, had particularly captured the young king’s fancy, and no wonder – his childhood home, Schloss Hohenschwangau, was built by Ludwig’s father, Maximilian, on the remains of the fortress Schwanstein (or “Swan Stone” Castle), which was first mentioned in records from the 12th century.
Legend had it that a family of knights was responsible for its construction.
After the demise of their order in the 16th century, the fortress changed hands several times, and had fallen into ruin by the time Maximilian ascended the throne.
Ludwig’s awareness that his home was built on the ruins of this legendary fortress would eventually combine with his obsession with Lohengrin to produce his greatest architectural folly – the castle later known as Neuschwanstein (“New Swan Stone” Castle).
Ludwig outlined his vision in a letter to Wagner, dated 13 May 1868; “It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin at Hohenschwangau near the Pollat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles…the location is the most beautiful one could find, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world.
The foundations of the building were laid on September 5, 1869 – although Ludwig would not live to see the project completed. Neuschwanstein was designed by Christian Jank, a theatrical set designer, which explains much of its fantastic decoration.
Despite its faux-medieval appearance, however, the castle was built on a steel frame and came outfitted with every modern convenience.
During Ludwig’s life, the building was known as ‘Schloß Neuhohenschwangau’  (New Hohenschwangau Castle); it was only after his death that the name “Neuschwanstein” became popular, melding Ludwig’s identity with that of the Swan Knights.

SCHLOß   NEUSCHWANSTEIN

‘Schloß Neuhohenschwangau’

Schloss Neuschwanstein, is a 19th-century Gothic Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany.
The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner.
Neuschwanstein is comprised of a gatehouse, a “Bower,” the Knight’s House with a square tower, and a Palas, or citadel (above), with two towers to the Western end.
On the exterior, it is a fanciful pastiche of medieval and Romanesque elements; its interior, however, was intended as an even more flamboyant evocation of the chivalric ethos of Richard Wagner’s operas.
The rooms within the Palas that were finished by Ludwig are so overdecorated as to be almost overwhelming; the Throne Room in particular was intended to resemble the legendary Grail-Hall of Parsifal (father of Lohengrin), and so was designed in an elaborate Byzantine style by Eduard Ille and Julius Hofmann.

Lohengrin – Schwan Ritter – Swan Knight

Lohengrin first appears in the written record as “Loherangrin,” the son of Parzival, the Grail King, in the epic Parzival of Wolfram von Eschenbach (1170-1220). The Knight of the Swan story was part of a long oral tradition associated with Godfrey of Bouillon, but von Eschenbach was the first to tie the tale to the Arthurian legend of the Holy Grail. In this version of the story, Loherangrin serves his father as one of the Grail Knights, who are sent out in secret to guard kingdoms that have lost their protectors. Loherangrin is eventually called to this duty in Brabant, where the duke has died without a male heir. The duke’s daughter Elsa fears the kingdom will be lost, but Loherangrin arrives in a boat pulled by a swan and offers to defend her, though he warns that she must never ask his name. They fall in love and eventually wed, but one day Elsa asks what she knows is verboten. The Swan Knight answers, but then regretfully steps back onto his boat, never to return.
In 1848 Richard Wagner adapted the tale into his wildly popular opera Lohengrin,the work through which the story is best known today. In the opera, Lohengrin appears on his favorite mode of transport to defend Princess Elsa from the false accusation of killing her brother (who turns out to be alive and well at the end of the opera). Intriguingly, Wagner extends the theme of the Holy Grail, and its symbolism of masculine purity, further into the story by adding an explanation for Lohengrin’s keeping his true identity in the closet: the Grail, recovered by Lohengrin’s father, imbues the Knight of the Swan with mystical powers that can only be maintained if their source remains unspoken.

Inspired by the Hagia Sophia, the two-story Throne Room was only completed in the year of the king’s death; the throne itself was never made.
The Grotto, which was not underground, as one might expect, but was located between Ludwig’s living room and his study, was one of the most unusual rooms in Neuschwanstein, and was used by the increasingly-isolated king as a refuge in which to indulge his melancholy moods.
Its artificial stalactites were built of oakum and plaster-of-Paris by the famed landscape sculptor Dirrigl of Munich.
Dirrigl had already built a far more extravagant grotto in the park of the Schloss Linderhof.
This artificial lake was designed as a kind of real-life stage set for the “Venus Grotto” scene from Wagner’s Tannhäuser.

Schloß Neuschwanstein
The building design was drafted by the stage designer Christian Jank and realized by the architect Eduard Riedel.
Initial ideas for the palace drew stylistically on Nuremberg Castle and envisaged a simple building in place of the old Vorderhohenschwangau Castle, but they were rejected and replaced by increasingly extensive drafts, culminating in a bigger palace modelled on the Wartburg.
The king insisted on a detailed plan and on personal approval of each draft.
His control went so far that the palace has been regarded as his own creation rather than that of the architects involved.
Whereas contemporary architecture critics derided Neuschwanstein, one of the last big palace building projects of the 19th century, as kitsch, Neuschwanstein and Ludwig II’s other buildings are now counted among the major works of European historicism.
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Plan – showing proposed un-built Chapel
Schloß Neuschwanstein under construction 1882-1885
Schloß Neuschwanstein under construction 1886
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Photochrom print c.1900
For financial reasons a project similar to Neuschwanstein – Fanstelkein Castle – never left the planning stages.
The palace can be regarded as typical for 19th century architecture.
The shapes of Romanesque (simple geometric figures such as cuboids and semicircular arches), Gothic (upward-pointing lines, slim towers, delicate embellishments) and Byzantine architecture and art (the Throne Hall décor) were mingled in an eclectic fashion and supplemented with 19th century technical achievements.
The Patrona Bavariae and Saint George on the court face of the Palas (main building) are depicted in the local Lüftlmalerei style, a fresco technique typical for Allgäu farmers’ houses, while the unimplemented drafts for the Knights’ House gallery foretell elements of Art Nouveau.
The basic style was originally planned to be neo-Gothic but was primarily built in Romanesque style in the end. The operatic themes moved gradually from Tannhäuser and Lohengrin to Parsifal.
for more information about Christian Jank, Fanstelkein and Parsifal see –

for more information about Richard Wagner see:
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein Castle, or “New Swan Stone Castle”, is a dramatic Romanesque fortress with Byzantine, Romanesque and Gothic interiors, which was built high above his father’s castle: Hohenschwangau.
Numerous wall paintings depict scenes from the legends Wagner used in his operas.
Christian glory and chaste love figure predominantly in the iconography, and may have been intended to help Ludwig live up to his religious ideals, but the bedroom decoration depicts the illicit love of Tristan & Isolde (after Gottfried von Strasbourg’s poem).
The castle was not finished at Ludwig’s death; the Kemenate was completed in 1892 but the watch-tower and chapel were only at the foundation stage in 1886 and were never built.
The residence quarters of the King – which he first occupied in May 1884 – can be visited along with the servant’s rooms, kitchens as well as the monumental throne room.
Unfortunately the throne was never completed although sketches show how it might have looked on completion.
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Turm – (Tower)
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Turm – (Tower)
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Pforte
Schloß Neuschwanstein
SCHLOß  NEUSCHWANSTEIN

I N T E R I O R
Vestibule – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Staircase – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Corridor – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Salon – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Study – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Study – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Salon – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Salon – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Chapel – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Grotto – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Minstrel’s Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Minstrel’s Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein


Minstrel’s Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Throne Hall – Schloß Neuschwanstein

Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal – Schloß Neuschwanstein
Thronsaal Dome – Schloß Neuschwanstein
View from Schloß Neuschwanstein
View from Schloß Neuschwanstein
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Project
Schloß Neuschwanstein – Swan Fabric
Because of its obvious beauty and elegance, the swan had long been a favored emblem of European nobility; nobles across Britain, Germany and France wanted swans in their moats and peacocks pecking at their lawns.
There seems to have been a “perfect storm” of swan imagery around Ludwig II, however.
The name of his childhood home, Hohenschwangau, literally translates as “High Swan District,” and it overlooked the Schwansee (“Swan Lake”), a natural habitat for the birds .
The foundation of Hohenschwangau had also been built centuries before by the Knights of Schwangau, or the Swan Knights; it’s not so strange, having grown up in this environment, that Ludwig should have been especially drawn to the mythical Swan Knight Lohengrin.
SCHLOß   LINDERHOF
Schloß Londerhof
Linderhof Palace (German: Schloss Linderhof) is in Germany, near Oberammergau in southwest Bavaria near Ettal Abbey.
It is the smallest of the three palaces built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and the only one which he lived to see completed.
Atlas Sculpture – Schloß Linderhof
Schloß Linderhof – Fountain
The water parterre in front of the castle is dominated by a large basin with the gilt fountain group “Flora and puttos”. The fountain itself is nearly 25 meters high.
Schloß Linderhof at Night
Schloß Linderhof – Plan
Linderhof Castle is an ornate palace in neo-French Rococo style, with handsome formal gardens.
Just north of the palace, at the foot of the Hennenkopf, the park contains a Venus grotto where Ludwig was rowed in a shell-like boat on an underground lake lit with red, green or “Capri” blue effects by electricity, a novelty at that time, provided by one of the first generating plants in Bavaria.
In the forest nearby a romantic wooded hut was also built around an artificial tree (see Hundinghütte above).
Inside the palace, iconography reflects Ludwig’s fascination with the absolutist government of Ancien Régime France.
Ludwig saw himself as the “Moon King”, a romantic shadow of the earlier “Sun King”, Louis XIV of France.
From Linderhof, Ludwig enjoyed moonlit sleigh rides in an elaborate eighteenth century sleigh, complete with footmen in eighteenth century livery.
He was known to stop and visit with rural peasants while on rides, adding to his legend and popularity.
The sleigh can today be viewed with other royal carriages and sleds at the Carriage Museum (Marstallmusem) at Nymphenburg Palace in Munich.
Its lantern was illuminated by electricity supplied by a battery.
There is also a Moorish Pavilion in the park of Schloß Linderhof.
Schloß Linderhof – State Bedroom
Schloß Linderhof – State Bedroom
Schloß Linderhof – Salon
Schloß Linderhof – Salon
Schloß Linderhof -Ludwig’s Private bedroom
Schloß Linderhof – Peacock
Schloß Linderhof – Gardens
Schloß Linderhof – Garden Temple
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
This building was designed by the Berliner architect Karl von Diebitsch for the International Exhibition in Paris 1867.
Ludwig II wanted to buy it but was forestalled by the railroad king Bethel Henry Strousberg. Ludwig bought the pavilion after the bankruptcy of Strousberg.
The most notable piece of furniture of this building is the peacock throne.
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk – Interior
Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk – Interior


Schloß Linderhof – Maurischer Kiosk
The Peacock Throne
Schloß Linderhof – Venusgrotte
The building is wholly artificial and was built for the king as an illustration of the First Act of Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”.
Ludwig liked to be rowed over the lake in his golden swan-boat but at the same time he wanted his own blue grotto of Capri. Therefore 24 dynamos had been installed and so already in the time of Ludwig II it was possible to illuminate the grotto in changing colours.
Schloß Linderhof – Venusgrotte
SCHLOß  HERRENCHIEMSEE
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
Herrenchiemsee is a replica (although only the central section was ever built) of Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles, France, which was meant to outdo its predecessor in scale and opulence – for instance, at 98 meters the Hall of Mirrors is a third longer than the original.
The palace is located on the Herren Island in the middle of the Chiemsee Lake.
Most of the palace was never completed once the king ran out of money, and Ludwig lived there for only 10 days in October 1885, less than a year before his mysterious death.
It is interesting to note that tourists come from France to view the recreation of the famous Ambassadors’ Staircase.
The original Ambassadors’ Staircase at Versailles was demolished in 1752.
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
The unfinished Neues Schloss (New Palace) was designed by Christian Jank, Franz Seitz, and Georg von Dollmann and built between 1878 and 1885.
Between 1863 and 1886 a total of 16,579,674 Marks was spent constructing Herrenchiemsee. An 1890 ’20 Mark’ gold coin contained 0.2304 troy ounce (7.171 g) of gold. Therefore, 16,579,674 Marks would equate to 190,998 oz of gold.
Ludwig only had the opportunity to stay within the Palace for a few days in September 1885. After his death in the following year, all construction work discontinued and the building was opened for the public.
In 1923 Crown Prince Rupprecht gave the palace to the State of Bavaria.
Schloß Herrenchiemsee
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Spiegelgalerie – (Hall of Mirrors)
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Ambassador’s Staircase
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Ambassador’s Staircase
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Spiegelgalerie – (Hall of Mirrors)
Unlike the medieval design of Neuschwanstein Castle begun in 1869, the New Palace is, in a sense, a Neo-Baroque monument to Ludwig’s admiration of King Louis XIV of France.
In the great hall of mirrors of the palace the ceiling is painted with 25 tableaux showing Louis XIV at his best.
It was to have been an equivalent to the Palace of Versailles, but only the central portion was built before the king died in 1886, where-after construction was discontinued leaving 50 of the 70 rooms of the palace incomplete.
It was never meant to be a perfectly exact replica of Versailles and in several places surpasses it.
With a length of 98 m (322 ft) and 23 arches the Hall of Mirrors is larger than the Versailles equivalent.
The dining room features an elevator table and a huge chandelier of Meissen porcelain, the largest in the world.
The building also benefits from nearly two centuries of technological progress, while the original Versailles palace did not have a single toilet and the only running water was outside in the fountains.
King Ludwig’s “copy” has more modern facilities including a central heating system and a large heated bathtub.
Schloß Herrenchiemsee – Gardens & Fountains
Also, unlike Versailles, it was built on an island and is now only accessible by a small ferry.
The formal gardens are filled with fountains, a copy of the Versailles Bassin de Latone and statues in both the classical style typical of Versailles and in the fantastic style typical of romanticism that was favored by King Ludwig. Cool maidens which look as if they have stepped out of a museum of classical antiquity are never too far from dragons, winged warriors, giant lizards and other extravagant beings which look as if they have come from one of Richard Wagner’s romantic operas.
Adolf Hitler visiting Schloß Herrenchiemsee
c1930s

Adolf Hitler visiting Schloß Herrenchiemsee
c1930s

click here for more information about Adolf Hitler
Wappen Freistaat Bayern
Bavaria, formally the Freistaat Bayern (Free State of Bavaria), pronounced is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of the country.
With an area of 70,548 square kilometres (27,200 sq mi), it is the largest German state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany.
Bavaria is Germany’s second most populous state (after North Rhine-Westphalia) with almost 12.5 million inhabitants, more than any of the three sovereign states on its borders.
Bavaria’s capital is Munich.
One of the oldest states of Europe, it was established as a duchy in the mid first millennium.
In the 17th century, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, and Bavaria has since been a free state (republic).
Modern Bavaria also includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia and Swabia.

for more information see
click here for ‘Richard Wagner
a fascinating, fully illustrated study of this
truly remarkable period of modern history
click here for ‘Parsifal’
Richard Wagner’s greates music drama
for the art of Peter Crawford go to

Ehrwald and Lermoos


LERMOOS & EHRWALD
    
Lermoos is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol.
It consists of 2 places. Unterdorf and Oberdorf, which are separated from each other.
The vilage is set on a beautiful location looking towards the Zugspitze (the highest mountain in Germany) and the Sonnenspitze.



Ehrwald is a municipality in the Austrian district of Reutte, Tyrol.
Ehrwald lies at the southern base of the Zugspitze (2950 meters above sea level), Germany’s highest mountain, but which is shared with Austria.
The town is connected to the Zugspitze with the Tiroler Zugspitzbahn


Zugspitze – Blick auf Ehrwald 






Ehrwald – Seebensee





Peter Swimming in the Seebensee
Ehrwald

Ruhpolding

RUHPOLDING

    
(A BAVARIAN VILLAGE)



Peter first visited Ruhpolding in 1958 with his parents John and Jane Crawford.

Ruhpolding is a municipality of the Traunstein district in southeastern Bavaria, Germany.

It is situated in the south of the Chiemgau region in the Alps.
Ruhpolding has a population of approximately 6,400.
The economy is based on tourism and sports.
The name “Ruhpolding” originates from the Bavarian word Rupoltingin and means “the people of the strong famous one”. The town is mentioned as Ruhpoldingen for the first time in 1193.
It was connected through railway in 1895.
Since 1948, Ruhpolding became a famous spa and tourist resort, especially for winter sports.









Ruhpolding – Satellite View






Ruhpolding Bahnhof






Ruhpolding Bahnhof






Welcoming Music at Ruhpolding Station







‘Grüß Gott in Ruhpolding’





Ruhpolding – the Village





Ruhpolding – Haus Tant Agnes






Ruhpolding – Village Centre






Ruhpolding – General View






Kurhaus – Ruhpolding






Jane and Peter – Kurhaus
Ruhpolding – c 1958






Auf dem weg nach Ruhpolding – Bayern 

      
HOLIDAY IN RUHPOLDING


Peter was very excited, although he had little idea of where Bavaria was, or what the place was like.

1950s British Passport
Soon, however, the excitement was forgotten, and it was only with a trip to the photographers on Hounslow Broadway, opposite the Bus Garage, in the early summer, that the enthusiasm was rekindled.
The photographs were for a new passport, and in those days British Pasports were ‘real passports’, with hard covers of a royal blue, buitfully embossed and gilded with the Royal Arms.
The next step was John Crawford’  visit to the Bank Manager, armed with his passport, in order to change some english sterling into Deutschmarks.
Then it was time for new clothes, with shirts and shorts for Peter, in Jane’s favourite pale green.
Then the school Summer Holidays came in August, and it was time to go on holiday.
Now Peter had been abroad before – to France – and by air – which was a real adventure in the 1950s, but only to Calais and Paris.
Bavaria was like Ruritania, however, a strange place in the middle of Europe, high among the mountain peaks – so this was to be a real adventure !

The Prisoner of Zenda

And Peter had seen the prisoner of Zenda a few years earlier – one of his favourite films – and also had a copy of the book – so he knew what to expect The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)—Starring Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, Louis Calhern, Jane Greer, Lewis Stone, Robert Douglas, James Mason and Robert Coote. It was adapted by Edward Rose, (dramatization) Wells Root, John L. Balderston, Noel Langley and Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue, originally uncredited). It was directed by Richard Thorpe.It is a shot-for-shot copy of the 1937 film, the only difference being that it was made in Technicolor.

Harwich – Gateway to Europe

So – the summer came, and with it for Peter, came the summer holidays from school.
And the holiday began, but not with a trip to the airport – currency restrictions made that too expensive – so it was off to Liverpool Street station, and a train to the coast and a ferry to the continent.

Pullman
Liverpool Street Station – London

Then it was a journey by train across Europe – and a long journey  – and this was the most exciting adventure that Peter had ever had – apart from flying to France perhaps.
And this involved a crossing of the North Seas by British Rail Ferries (later known as Sealink) and then the train journey provided by a company called ‘Blue Cars’ – which was a reference to the Pullman cars.

Liverpool Street to Harwich
Arriving at Harwich

Liverpool Street station, in London, was still a place of steam and noise, as the boilers of huge locomotives were fired up in preparation for their journeys.

For Peter, this was the start of a momentous journey, and it was also Peter’s first journey on a Pullman train – where you actually slept on the train.
But there was no sleeping to begin with – because first there was a rather boring journey to Harwich.

SS Amsterdam
British Railways Logo – 1950s

As the train steamed into Parkston Quay in Harwich the atmosphere changed completely.
There is nothing like the crisp smell of sea salt and marine diesel, which for many years, for Peter, meant the beginning of an adventure.

Hoek van Holland – 1950s

The next step was to board the SS Amsterdam, one of British Rail’s newest ships, and then settle down and prepare for the sea crossing.
This was a daytime crossing, for the trip from Harwich to the Hoek van Holland.
The crossing in those days, took about seven hours, and the SS Amsterdam would reach the Hoek in the late afternoon.
After a good look round the ship, Peter, Jane and John Decided to have lunch.

Dining on Board the Ferry

The SS Amsterdam was a large, new ferry, and had a magnificent dining salon.
Arrival at the Hoek involved disembarkation and customs – remember that this was in that golden time before the European Common Market, and border restrictions were scrupulously enforced on the continent by imposing and intimidating customs officers, in resplendent uniforms, and carrying side-arms.
Jane, John and Peter then re-boarded the Pullman, and prepared for the journey across Europe.

British Railways Dining Car

The Train started its journey, passing through the incredibly flat countryside, dotted with the inevitable windmills, which reminded Peter of the Norfolk Broads.
By then it was getting dark so, before retiring for the night, Peter Jane and John decided to go to the restaurant car for dinner.
After dinner it was time to go to bed – and for Peter, the first ‘bed-time’ on a train.
Obviously Peter found it difficult to sleep. Obviously there was the noise and the movement, and the dim blue light that remained on in the compartment throughout the night – but Peter also had the urge to peek out through the curtains to glimpse the twinkling lights of the occasional town, village and station.
Then came the oblivion of sleep…….

Now while Peter is sleeping we may consider the strange circumstances of this holiday to Bavaria – or Bayern as it is called in German.
We have already explained how Jane had an antipathy to Germans, and in particular Herr Hitler as a result of what had happened during the war.
Well now we must consider a little of the recent history of the particular alpine resort that Peter’s parents had decided to use as the base for their first continental holiday.
Remember as you read this that there were many other places in Germany that they could have visited, and more significantly many places in Europe other than Germany.
We mention this because Ruhpolding had some rather interesting recent history.
Ruhpolding Hauptplatz
Celebration of the Austrian Anchluß
Ruhpolding Hauptplatz Feb 1936

We know that in 1938, a year after Jane and John married, and the year of the Anchluß  that there was a celebration in the main square in Ruhpolding.
We know this because there is photographic evidence.
Of course, everybody that Peter ever met in Germany, (with the exception of Adolf Lördermann, who we will meet later), made it very clear that they had nothing to do with the National Socialists or the Third Reich, so it’s interesting to see evidence of the villagers giving enthusiastic Nazi salutes – and it makes one wonder just who were all those enthusiastic people in the Nürnberg Stadium, (remember Nürnberg is also in Bavaria).

Finnish SS – Ruhpolding
23rd of May 1943

Equally, later in the war the Finnish SS were stationed in Ruhpolding.
That is as it may be, but even more interesting is the link that Ruhpolding had with the highest echelons of the Third Reich hierarchy.
While, in the 1950s, most of the leaders of the Reich and individuals closely associated with Hitler were either dead, or had gone into hiding, usually in some obscure South American state, some of those closest to Jane’s much reviled Herr Hitler were actually living in Ruhpolding.

Family of Eva Braun

We are referring  of course, to Adolf Hitler’s in-laws.
Yes, members of Eva Braun’s family were living openly and unmolested in Ruhpolding.
And these people were pillars of the community, and were regular visitors to the local Gasthof where, in fact, they met Peter, Jane and John.
So this makes this holiday very strange.

Gretl and Fegelein
Adlerhorst 1944

Friedrich Braun (also known as Fritz; a School teacher; – Parents: Phillip Braun, Christina Heyser)
Birth: Neckargmund, Germany – Death: 22 January 1964 in Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany
Franziska Kronberger – Birth:1880 – Death: January 1976 in Ruhpolding, Bavaria, Germany
Occupation: Seamstress ; Father: Unidentified Veterinarian b: in of Oberpfalz, Germany
Their Children: – Eva Anna Paula Braun b: 6 February 1912 in Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Margarete (Gretl) Braun (married SS-Gruppenführer Hans Georg Otto Hermann Fegelein 3 June 1944. born 30 October 1906 in Ansbach, Germany, and died 29 April 1945 in Berlin, Germany.

And then, to cap it all, John arranged for a visit to Berchtesgaden, the ruins of the Berghof, the  Gasthof Zum Türken, and the Adlerhorst (Eagles Nest) on the Kehlstein.
But, of course, while Peter slept he knew nothing of this.
So back to the story …

Chiemgau Alps – Bayern

Peter woke up early – he could see the sun shining brilliantly through the curtains.
Bleary eyed, Peter opened the curtain just a little, only to get one of the biggest shocks of his life.
Outside the window, above the passing forest were huge, snow-capped mountains.
So then, after dressing, Peter, Jane and John went to the dining car for breakfast, and this would be the last English meal that Peter would have for two weeks.
So it was breakfast while watching the beautiful Bavarian Alps.

Arrival in Ruhpolding

Ruhpolding Bahnhof – Bayern
Tirolean Band – Ruhpolding Bahnhof

And so the final destination came into view.
A tiny little station, without a proper platform, (on the continent then you either climbed up or climbed down to enter or leave a train).
And on the low platform were a group of Bavarian villagers, and a Tirolean Band.
There, amid the raucous sounds of the ‘oompah’ band and the chatter of the villagers, was a very small, dark haired woman, probably in her sixties.

She was looking for ‘Herr Crawford’, because this was to be our hostess for the next two weeks.

This was Frau Agnes – a sweet little old lady, with dark, ‘frizzy’ hair, who was dragging a small trolley.
She insisted on loading the cases onto the little trolley, despite John’s protestations to the contrary.
She then began dragging the trolley from the station to the road, chatting away all the time in broken English, as they all made their way through the village.
Agness, as Peter learned later, had been married, but her husband, a forester (sounds like something from ‘Red Riding Hood’), had been killed in the First World War.
Agness had then inherited a remarkably large house in the centre of the village.
What she had done during the Third Reich and the Second World War Peter never discovered, (but then that was the case with most of the people he met in Austria and Germany), but in the fifties she had supported herself by renting out rooms in her spacious home to tourists.
And that, of course, is how Peter, Jane and John met her.

Die Gebrüder Grimm 

To Peter, Ruhpolding was like a place for a Brothers Grimm story.

Die Gebrüder Grimm (The BrothersGrimm) – Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who together collected folklore. They are among the most well-known storytellers of European folk tales, and their work popularized such stories as “Cinderella”, “The Frog Prince” (Der Froschkönig), “Hansel and Gretel” (Hänsel und Gretel), “Rapunzel”, “Rumpelstiltskin” (Rumpelstilzchen), and “Snow White” (Schneewittchen). Their first collection of folk tales, Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), was published in 1812.

Ortszentrum Ruhpolding
The quaint houses, in most case with painted stucco façades and carved wooden, flower bedecked balconies, were set in a lush landscape of pasture of gentle, green hills overlooked by some magnificent mountains.
In the centre of the town was a water trough, undoubtedly originally used for the passing dairy herds, and a strange object which reminded Peter of an Indian Totem pole indicated the various amenities of the village and the surrounding area.


click here for Peter’s Biography

‘Peter – the early years’

Deutschland – Germany – a Brief History

DEUTSCHLAND
(Germany)

A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100.
During the Migration Age, the Germanic tribes expanded southward, and established successor kingdoms throughout much of Europe.

The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Nordic Bronze Age or the Pre-Roman Iron Age.

From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south, east and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well as Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes in Eastern Europe.

Under Augustus (see right), the Roman General Publius Quinctilius Varus began to invade Germania (an area extending roughly from the Rhine to the Ural Mountains). In AD 9, three Roman legions led by Varus were defeated by the Cheruscan leader Arminius (see below left).
  
Arminius, also known as Armin or Hermann (18 BC/17 BC – 21 AD) was a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
Arminius’s influence held an allied coalition of Germanic tribes together in opposition to the Romans but after defeats by the Roman general Germanicus, nephew of the Emperor Tiberius, his influence waned and Arminius was assassinated on the orders of rival Germanic chiefs.
    
Arminius’s decimation of the Roman legions in the Teutoburg forest had a far-reaching effect on the subsequent history of both the ancient Germanic peoples and on the Roman Empire.
The Romans were to make no more concerted attempts to conquer and permanently hold Germania beyond the river Rhine.
    
By AD 100, when Tacitus wrote Germania, Germanic tribes had settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus), occupying most of the area of modern Germany; Austria, southern Bavaria and the western Rhineland, however, were Roman provinces.
    
In the 3rd century a number of large West Germanic tribes emerged: Alamanni, Franks, Chatti, Saxons, Frisii, Sicambri, and Thuringii.
Around 260, the Germanic peoples broke into Roman-controlled lands.
After the invasion of the Huns in 375, and with the decline of Rome from 395, Germanic tribes moved further south-west.
Simultaneously several large tribes formed in what is now Germany and displaced the smaller Germanic tribes.
Large areas (known since the Merovingian period as Austrasia) were occupied by the Franks, and Northern Germany was ruled by the Saxons and Slavs.

A great step forward in the establishing of the German identity was the founding of the Teutonic Knights.
The Orden der Brüder vom Deutschen Haus St. Mariens in Jerusalem (Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem – Latin: Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum), commonly the Teutonic Order or the Deutscher Orden, also Deutschherren- or Deutschritterorden), is a German medieval military order. 
It was formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to establish hospitals. Its members have commonly been known as the Teutonic Knights, since they also served as a crusading military order in the Middle Ages.
The military membership was always small, with volunteers and mercenaries augmenting the force as needed.
In 1224 the Knights petitioned Pope Honorius III to be placed directly under the authority of the Papal See.

In 1346, the Duchy of Estonia was sold, by the King of Denmar, for 19,000 Köln marks, to the Teutonic Order.
The Teutonic lands in Prussia were split in two after the Peace of Thorn in 1466.

The western part of Teutonic Prussia was converted into Royal Prussia.
The monastic state in the east was secularized in 1525 during the Protestant Reformation when it was replaced by the Duchy of Prussia, a Polish fief governed by the House of Hohenzollern.
In old texts and in Latin the term Prut(h)enia refers to “Teutonic Prussia”, “Royal Prussia” and ‘”Ducal Prussia” alike.
In battle the Knights were the tip of a crusading invasion of the pagan lands of the Baltic.
They ravaged and conquered Courland and Prussia and parts of Poland and western Russia, waging ruthless campaigns against ‘‘the northern Saracens.’’
They settled in conquered lands as the new aristocracy, enserfing native populations.
The legacy of the ‘‘Drang nach Osten’’ (‘‘Drive to the East’’) of the ‘‘Sword Brethren’’ was the Christianization and enfeoffment of Prussia by force of arms and merciless war with Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, and Muscovy.
The northern crusades, especially the long forest-ambush campaigns of the 14th century against animist Lithuanians, were among the most ferocious of the entire Middle Ages.
On July 15, 1410 the Teutonic Knights were beaten decisively and with huge losses by a Polish-Lithuanian army at Tannenberg.
That ended their Baltic crusade and accelerated a terminal military decline.
After he defeat of the Teutonic Knights the emphasis of German identity fell on the Holy Roman Empire.

Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (see right).
The Heiliges Römisches Reich (Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum), was a realm (Reich) that existed from 962–1806 in Central Europe. It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor.
Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes.
In its last centuries, its character became quite close to a union of territories.
The empire’s territory was centred on the Kingdom of Germany, and included neighbouring territories, which at its peak included the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Burgundy.
For much of its history, the Empire consisted of hundreds of smaller sub-units, principalities, duchies, counties, Free Imperial Cities and other domains.
Otto I (see left) was crowned King of Germany in 962, but he is nevertheless considered to have been the first Römisch-Deutscher Kaiser (Holy Roman Emperor) in retrospect.
Otto was the first emperor of the realm who was not a member of the earlier Carolingian dynasty.
The last Holy Roman Emperor was Francis II, who abdicated and dissolved the Empire in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. 
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was officially changed to the Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation (the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation) (Latin: Imperium Romanum Sacrum Nationis Germanicæ).
The territories and dominion of the Holy Roman Empire in terms of present-day states comprised Germany (except Southern Schleswig), Austria (except Burgenland), the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Slovenia (except Prekmurje), besides significant parts of eastern France (mainly Artois, Alsace, Franche-Comté, Savoy and Lorraine), northern Italy (mainly Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Trentino and South Tyrol), and western Poland (mainly Silesia, Pomerania and Neumark).
The Holy Roman Empire was the First Reich.

During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation which had been inaugurated by the German monk Martin (Luther see left), while southern and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic denominations, with the two factions clashing in the Thirty Years’ War.

Unleashed in the early sixteenth century, the Reformation put an abrupt end to the relative unity that had existed for the previous thousand years in Western Christendom under the Roman Catholic Church.
The Reformation, which began in Germany but spread quickly throughout Europe, was initiated in response to the growing sense of corruption and administrative abuse in the church.
It expressed an alternate vision of Christian practice, and led to the creation and rise of Protestantism, with all its individual branches.
Though rooted in a broad dissatisfaction with the church, the birth of the Reformation can be traced to the protests of one man, the German Augustinian monk Martin Luther (1483–1546)
The German territories were occupied during the Napoleonic Wars.
The subsequent defeat of Napoleon enabled conservative and reactionary regimes such as those of the Kingdom of Prussia, the Austrian Empire and Tsarist Russia to survive, laying the groundwork for the Congress of Vienna and the alliance that strove to oppose radical demands for change ushered in by the French Revolution.
The Great Powers at the Congress of Vienna in 1815 aimed to restore Europe (as far as possible) to its pre-war conditions by combating both liberalism and nationalism and by creating barriers around France.
With Austria’s position on the continent now intact and ostensibly secure under its reactionary premier Klemens von Metternich, the Habsburg empire would serve as a barrier to contain the emergence of Italian and German nation-states as well, in addition to containing France. But this reactionary balance of power, aimed at blocking German and Italian nationalism on the continent, was precarious.
After Napoleon’s final defeat in 1815, the surviving member states of the defunct Holy Roman Empire joined to form the German Confederation (Deutscher Bund) — a rather loose organization, especially because the two great rivals, the Austrian Empire and the Prussian kingdom, each feared domination by the other.
In Prussia the Hohenzollern rulers forged a centralized state.
By the time of the Napoleonic Wars, Prussia was a socially and institutionally backward state, grounded in the virtues of its established military aristocracy (the Junkers), stratified by rigid hierarchical lines.

After 1815, Prussia’s defeats by Napoleonic France highlighted the need for administrative, economic, and social reforms to improve the efficiency of the bureaucracy and encourage practical merit-based education. Inspired by the Napoleonic organization of German and Italian principalities, the reforms of Karl August von Hardenberg (see left) and Count Stein were conservative, enacted to preserve aristocratic privilege while modernizing institutions.
Outside Prussia, industrialization progressed slowly, and was held back because of political disunity, conflicts of interest between the nobility and merchants, and the continued existence of the guild system, which discouraged competition and innovation.
While this kept the middle class small, affording the old order a measure of stability not seen in France, Prussia’s vulnerability to Napoleon’s military proved to many among the old order that a fragile, divided, and backward Germany would be easy prey for its cohesive and industrializing neighbour.

The reforms laid the foundation for Prussia’s future military might by professionalizing the military and decreeing universal military conscription.
In order to industrialize Prussia, working within the framework provided by the old aristocratic institutions, land reforms were enacted to break the monopoly of the Junkers on landownership, thereby also abolishing, among other things, the feudal practice of serfdom.

Although the forces unleashed by the French Revolution were seemingly under control after the Vienna Congress, the conflict between conservative forces and liberal nationalists was only deferred at best.

The era until the failed 1848 revolution, in which these tensions built up, is commonly referred to as Vormärz (“pre-March”), in reference to the outbreak of riots in March 1848.
This conflict pitted the forces of the old order against those inspired by the French Revolution and the Rights of Man.
The sociological breakdown of the competition was, roughly, one side engaged mostly in commerce, trade and industry, and the other side associated with landowning aristocracy or military aristocracy (the Junker) in Prussia, the Habsburg monarchy in Austria, and the conservative notables of the small princely states and city-states in Germany.
Meanwhile, demands for change from below had been fomenting since the influence of the French Revolution.
Throughout the German Confederation, Austrian influence was paramount, drawing the ire of the nationalist movements.
Metternich considered nationalism, especially the nationalist youth movement, the most pressing danger: German nationalism might not only repudiate Austrian dominance of the Confederation, but also stimulate nationalist sentiment within the Austrian Empire itself.
In a multi-national polyglot state in which Slavs and Magyars outnumbered the Germans, the prospects of Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, Polish, Serb, or Croatian sentiment along with middle class liberalism was certainly horrifying.

The Vormärz era saw the rise of figures like August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Ludwig Uhland, Georg Herwegh, Heinrich Heine (see left) , Georg Büchner, Ludwig Börne and Bettina von Arnim. Father Friedrich Jahn’s gymnastic associations exposed middle class German youth to nationalist and democratic ideas, which took the form of the nationalistic and liberal democratic college fraternities known as the Burschenschaften.
The Wartburg Festival in 1817 celebrated Martin Luther as a proto-German nationalist, linking Lutheranism to German nationalism, and helping arouse religious sentiments for the cause of German nationhood.

The festival culminated in the burning of several books and other items that symbolized reactionary attitudes. One item was a book by August von Kotzebue.
In 1819, Kotzebue was accused of spying for Russia, and then murdered by a theological student, Karl Ludwig Sand, who was executed for the crime.
Sand belonged to a militant nationalist faction of the Burschenschaften.
Metternich (see right) used the murder as a pretext to issue the Carlsbad Decrees of 1819, which dissolved the Burschenschaften, cracked down on the liberal press, and seriously restricted academic freedom.

German artists and intellectuals, heavily influenced by the French Revolution, turned to Romanticism.
At the universities, high-powered professors developed international reputations, especially in the humanities led by history and philology, which brought a new historical perspective to the study of political history, theology, philosophy, language, and literature.

With Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) in philosophy, Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) in theology and Leopold von Ranke (1795-1886) in history, the University of Berlin, founded in 1810, became the world’s leading university.
Von Ranke, for example, professionalized history and set the world standard for historiography. By the 1830s mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology had emerged with world class science, led by Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) in natural science and Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) in mathematics.
Young intellectuals often turned to politics, but their support for the failed Revolution of 1848 forced many into exile.

News of the 1848 Revolution in Paris quickly reached discontented bourgeois liberals, republicans and more radical workingmen.
The first revolutionary uprisings in Germany began in the state of Baden in March 1848.
Within a few days, there were revolutionary uprisings in other states including Austria, and finally in Prussia.
On 15 March 1848, the subjects of Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia vented their long-repressed political aspirations in violent rioting in Berlin, while barricades were erected in the streets of Paris.

King Louis-Philippe (see right) of France fled to Great Britain.
Friedrich Wilhelm gave in to the popular fury, and promised a constitution, a parliament, and support for German unification. But at least his regime was still standing.
On 18 May the Frankfurt Parliament (Frankfurt Assembly) opened its first session, with delegates from various German states.
It was immediately divided between those favoring a kleindeutsche (small German) or grossdeutsche (greater German) solution.
The former favored offering the imperial crown to Prussia.
The latter favored the Habsburg crown in Vienna, which would integrate Austria proper and Bohemia (but not Hungary) into the new Germany.
From May to December, the Assembly eloquently debated academic topics while conservatives swiftly moved against the reformers.
As in Austria and Russia, this middle-class assertion increased authoritarian and reactionary sentiments among the landed upper class, whose economic position was declining.
They turned to political levers to preserve their rule.
As the Prussian army proved loyal, and the peasants were uninterested, Friedrich Wilhelm regained his confidence.
The Assembly issued its Declaration of the Rights of the German people, a constitution was drawn up (excluding Austria which openly rejected the Assembly), and the leadership of the Reich was offered to Friedrich Wilhelm, who refused to “pick up a crown from the gutter”. Thousands of middle class liberals fled abroad, especially to the United States.
In 1849, Friedrich Wilhelm proposed his own constitution.

His document concentrated real power in the hands of the King and the upper classes, and called for a confederation of North German states (the Erfurt Union) (see left).
Austria and Russia, fearing a strong, Prussian-dominated Germany, responded by pressuring Saxony and Hanover to withdraw, and forced Prussia to abandon the scheme in a treaty dubbed the “humiliation of Olmütz”.

A new generation of statesmen responded to popular demands for national unity for their own ends, continuing Prussia’s tradition of autocracy and reform from above.
Germany found an able leader to accomplish the seemingly paradoxical task of conservative modernization.

Bismarck was appointed by Wilhelm IV of Prussia (the future Kaiser Wilhelm I) to circumvent the liberals in the Landtag who resisted Wilhelm’s autocratic militarism.
Bismarck told the Diet, “The great questions of the day are not decided by speeches and majority votes…but by blood and iron” –that is, by warfare and industrial might.
Prussia already had a great army; it was now augmented by rapid growth of economic power.
Gradually Bismarck won over the middle class, reacting to the revolutionary sentiments expressed in 1848 by providing them with the economic opportunities for which the urban middle sectors had been fighting.

Bismarck successfully waged war on Denmark in 1864.

The Second Schleswig War – (Deutsch-Dänischer Krieg) – was the second military conflict as a result of the Schleswig-Holstein Question.

It began on 1 February 1864, when Prussian forces crossed the border into Schleswig.
Denmark fought Prussia and Austria.
Like the First Schleswig War (1848–51), it was fought for control of the duchies because of succession disputes concerning the duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg when the Danish king died without an heir acceptable to the German Confederation.
Decisive controversy arose due to the passing of the November Constitution, which integrated the Duchy of Schleswig into the Danish kingdom in violation of the London Protocol.
Reasons for the war were the ethnic controversy in Schleswig and the co-existence of conflicting political systems within the Danish unitary state.
The war ended on 30 October 1864, when the Treaty of Vienna caused Denmark’s cession of the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein, and Saxe-Lauenburg to Prussia and Austria.
It was the last victorious conflict of the Austrian Empire/Austria-Hungary in its history.

The Austro-Prussian War (in Germany known as the Seven Weeks War, or the Unification War,  was a war fought in 1866 between the German Confederation under the leadership of the Austrian Empire and its German allies on one side, and the Kingdom of Prussia with its German allies and Italy on the other, that resulted in Prussian dominance over the German states.
In the Italian unification process, this is called the Third Independence War.
In English it is also commonly known as the Seven Weeks’ War.

The major result of the war was a shift in power among the German states away from Austrian and towards Prussian hegemony, and impetus towards the unification of all of the northern German states in a Kleindeutschland that excluded Austria.
It saw the abolition of the German Confederation and its partial replacement by a North German Confederation that excluded Austria and the South German states.
The war also resulted in the Italian annexation of the Austrian province of Venetia.
Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 enabled Bismark to create the North German Federation (Norddeutscher Bund) and to exclude Austria, formerly the leading German state, from the federation’s affairs.

The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War (19 July 1870 – 10 May 1871) was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia.
Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria.

The complete Prussian and German victory brought about the final unification of Germany under King Wilhelm I of Prussia.
It also marked the downfall of Napoleon III and the end of the Second French Empire, which was replaced by the French Third Republic.
As part of the settlement, the territory of Alsace and part of Lorraine was taken by Prussia to become a part of Germany, which it would retain until the end of World War I when it was returned to France in the Treaty of Versailles.

After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was proclaimed 1871 in Versailles (see left), uniting all scattered parts of Germany except Austria (Kleindeutschland, or “Lesser Germany”).
With almost two thirds of its territory and population, Prussia was the dominating constituent of the new state; the Hohenzollern King of Prussia ruled as its concurrent Emperor, and Berlin became its capital.
In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Bismarck’s foreign policy as Chancellor of Germany under Emperor William I secured Germany’s position as a great nation by forging alliances, isolating France by diplomatic means, and avoiding war.
Unofficially, the transition of most of the German-speaking populations into a federated organization of states occurred over nearly a century of experimentation.
Unification exposed several glaring religious, linguistic, social, and cultural differences between and among the inhabitants of the new nation, suggesting that 1871 only represents one moment in a continuum of the larger unification processes.

Under Wilhelm II (see right), however, Germany, like other European powers, took an imperialistic course leading to friction with neighbouring countries.

As a result of the Berlin Conference in 1884 Germany claimed several colonies including German East Africa, German South-West Africa, Togo, and Cameroon.
Most alliances in which Germany had previously been involved were not renewed, and new alliances excluded the country.

Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert
Seine Kaiserliche und Königliche Majestät
der Deutsche Kaiser, König von Preußen
After his Abdication

Wilhelm II – Kaiser von Deutschland
und König von Preußen

Wilhelm II – (Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albert;) (27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918.

He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe. Crowned in 1888, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 and launched Germany on a bellicose “New Course” in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led to World War I. Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview that cost him most of his power in 1908. His generals dictated policy during World War I with little regard for the civilian government. An ineffective war leader, he lost the support of the army, abdicated in November 1918, and fled to exile in the Netherlands.

Erzherzog Franz Ferdinand
von Österreich

The assassination of the Arch-duke Franz Ferdinand (see left), Austria’s crown prince on 28 June 1914 triggered World War I.

Germany, as part of the Central Powers, suffered defeat against the Allies in one of the bloodiest conflicts of all time.
An estimated two million German soldiers died in World War I.
The German Revolution broke out in November 1918, and Emperor Wilhelm II and all German ruling princes abdicated.

An armistice ended the war on 11 November, and Germany was forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919.

The treaty, which placed all the blame for causing the war on Germany, along with crippling reparations, was perceived in Germany as a humiliating continuation of the war.

Karl Franz Joseph Ludwig Hubert Georg Otto Marie
Kaiserliche und Königliche Apostolische Majestät,
Karl I von Österreich
At the beginning of the German Revolution in November 1918, Germany was declared a republic.
In Austria the Kaiser Franz Joseph died in 1916 and was succeeded by Karl I (see right).
In 1917 Kaiser Karl I abdicated and Austria, like Germany was declared a republic.
In Germany the struggle for power continued, with radical-left communists seizing power in Bavaria.

The revolution came to an end on 11 August 1919, when the Weimar Constitution (see left) was signed by President Friedrich Ebert (see right).

Suffering from the Great Depression, the harsh peace conditions dictated by the Treaty of Versailles, and a long succession of unstable governments, Germans increasingly lacked identification with the government. 
This was exacerbated by a widespread right-wing Dolchstoßlegende, or stab-in-the-back myth, which argued that Germany had lost World War I because of those who wanted to overthrow the government.
The Weimar government was accused of betraying Germany by signing the Versailles Treaty. By 1932, the German Communist Party and the Nazi Party controlled the majority of parliament, fuelled by discontent with the Weimar government.

After a series of unsuccessful cabinets, President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933.

The national Socialist Government was known as the Third Reich.
On 27 February 1933 the Reichstag building went up in flames (see left), and a consequent emergency decree abrogated basic citizens’ rights.

An Enabling Act passed in parliament gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power.
Only the Social Democratic Party voted against it, while Communist MPs had already been imprisoned.

Using his powers to crush any actual or potential resistance, Adolf Hitler (see right) established a centralised state within months.

Industry was revitalised with a focus on military rearmament.
In 1935, Germany reacquired control of the Saar and in 1936 military control of the Rhineland, both of which had been lost in the Treaty of Versailles.
In 1938 the Anchluss took place, uniting Germany and the Ostmark, and 1939 Czechoslovakia were brought under German control, and the invasion of Poland was prepared through the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact and Operation Himmler.
On 1 September 1939 the German Wehrmacht launched a blitzkrieg on Poland, which was swiftly occupied by Germany and by the Soviet Red Army.
The UK and France declared war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II.
After 1945, Germany was divided by allied occupation, and evolved into two states, East Germany and West Germany.
In 1990 Germany was reunified.

for more information about Germany see

  
  
  
  
  

Die Ostmark

DIE OSTMARK
   
(AUSTRIA)
Settled in ancient times, the Central European land that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by various Celtic tribes.
The Celtic kingdom of Noricum was later claimed by the Roman Empire and made a province. Present day Petronell-Carnuntum in Eastern Austria was an important army camp turned capital city in what became known as the Upper Pannonia province.

Fifty thousand people called Carnuntum (see left) home for nearly 400 years.
After the fall of the Roman Empire the area was invaded by Bavarians, Slavs and Avars.
The Slavic tribe of the Carantanians migrated into the Alps and established the realm of Carantania, which covered much of eastern and central Austrian territory.
Charlemagne (see right) conquered the area in 788 AD, encouraged colonisation and introduced Christianity.
As part of Eastern Francia, the core areas that now encompass Austria were bequeathed to the house of Babenberg.
The area was known as the marchia Orientalis and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976.
The first record showing the name Austria is from 996 where it is written as Ostarrîchi, referring to the territory of the Babenberg March.
In 1156 the Privilegium Minus elevated Austria to the status of a duchy.
In 1192, the Babenbergs also acquired the Duchy of Styria.
With the death of Frederick II in 1246, the line of the Babenbergs went extinct.
As a result Ottokar II of Bohemia effectively assumed control of the duchies of Austria, Styria and Carinthia.
His reign came to an end with his defeat at Dürnkrut at the hands of Rudolph I of Germany in 1278.

Thereafter, until World War I, Austria’s history was largely that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburgs.

Austria later became engaged in a war with Revolutionary France, at the beginning highly unsuccessful, with successive defeats at the hands of Napoleon meaning the end of the old Holy Roman Empire in 1806.
Two years earlier, in 1804, the Empire of Austria was founded.
In 1814 Austria was part of the Allied forces that invaded France and brought to an end the Napoleonic Wars.
It thus emerged from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 as one of four of the continent’s dominant powers and a recognised great power.
The same year, the German Confederation, (Deutscher Bund) (see right) was founded under the presidency of Austria.
Because of unsolved social, political and national conflicts the German lands were shaken by the 1848 revolution aiming to create a unified Germany.
A unified Germany would have been possible either as a Greater Germany, or a Greater Austria or just the German Confederation without Austria at all.
As Austria was not willing to relinquish its German-speaking territories to what would become the German Empire of 1848, the crown of the newly formed empire was offered to the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
In 1864, Austria and Prussia fought together against Denmark and successfully freed the independent duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.
Nevertheless as they could not agree on a solution to the administration of the two duchies, they fought in 1866 the Austro-Prussian War.
Defeated by Prussia in the Battle of Königgrätz, Austria had to leave the German Confederation and subsequently no longer took part in German politics.

The Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, the Ausgleich, provided for a dual sovereignty, the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary, under Franz Joseph I.
The Austrian-Hungarian rule of this diverse empire included various Slavic groups including Croats, Czechs, Poles, Rusyns, Serbs, Slovaks, Slovenes and Ukrainians, as well as large Italian and Romanian communities.
As a result, ruling Austria–Hungary became increasingly difficult in an age of emerging nationalist movements, causing a high reliance on the use of an expanded secret police.
Yet the government of Austria tried its best to be accommodating in some respects: The Reichsgesetzblatt, publishing the laws and ordinances of Cisleithania, was issued in eight languages, all national groups were entitled to schools in their own language and to the use of their mother tongue at state offices, for example.
The government of Hungary to the contrary tried to magyarise few ethnic entities and thus the wishes of ethnic groups dwelling in both parts of the dual monarchy hardly could be solved.
The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (see left) in Sarajevo in 1914 by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip was used by leading Austrian politicians and generals to persuade the emperor to declare war on Serbia, thereby risking and prompting the outbreak of World War I which led to the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Franz Ferdinand, eldest son of Carl Ludwig, the brother of Emperor Franz Josef, was born in 1863. Educated by private tutors, he joined the Austro-Hungarian Army in 1883.
His military career included service with an infantry regiment in Prague and with the hussars in Hungary.
While in the army Ferdinand received several promotions: captain (1885), major (1888), colonel (1890) and general (1896). 
In 1889, Crown Prince Rudolf, the son of Franz Josef, shot himself at his hunting lodge.
The succession now passed to Franz Ferdinand’s father, Carl Ludwig.
When he died in 1896, Franz Ferdinand became the new heir to the throne.
After attending the official reception at the City Hall, Franz Ferdinand and Sophie von Chotkovato were driven through the city.
Gavrilo Princip, the assassin, stepped forward, drew his gun, and at a distance of about five feet, fired several times into the car.
Franz Ferdinand was hit in the neck and Sophie von Chotkovato in the abdomen. Princip’s bullet had pierced the archduke’s jugular vein but before losing consciousness, he pleaded “Sophie dear! Sophie dear! Don’t die! Stay alive for our children!” Franz Urban drove the royal couple to Konak, the governor’s residence, but although both were still alive when they arrived, they died from their wounds soon afterwards.

Over one million Austro-Hungarian soldiers died in World War I.
On 21 October 1918, the elected German members of the Reichsrat (parliament of Imperial Austria) met in Vienna as the Provisorische Nationalversammlung für Deutschösterreich (Provisional National Assembly for German Austria).
On 30 October the assembly founded the State of German Austria by appointing a government, called Staatsrat.
This new government was invited by the emperor to take part in the decision on the planned armistice with Italy, but refrained from this business; this left the responsibility for the end of the war on 3 November 1918, solely to the emperor and his government.
On 11 November the emperor, counseled by ministers of the old and the new government, declared he would not take part in state business any more; on 12 November German Austria, by law, declared itself to be a democratic republic and part of the new German republic.
The constitution, renaming Staatsrat to Bundesregierung (federal government) and Nationalversammlung to Nationalrat (national council) was passed on 10 November 1920.
The Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1919 (for Hungary the Treaty of Trianon of 1920) confirmed and consolidated the new order of Central Europe which to a great part had been established in November 1918, creating new states and resizing others.
Over 3-million German speaking Austrians found themselves living outside of the newborn Austrian Republic as minorities in the newly formed or enlarged respective states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Italy.
This included the provinces of South Tyrol and German Bohemia, the later which would play a role in sparking WWII.
The South Tirol Question would become a lingering problem between Austria and Italy until it was officially settled by the 1980s with a large degree of autonomy being granted by the Italian national government.
Between 1918 and 1919 Austria was known as the State of German Austria (Staat Deutschösterreich).
Not only did the Entente powers forbid German Austria to unite with Germany, they also rejected the name German Austria in the peace treaty to be signed; it was therefore changed to Republic of Austria in late 1919.
The First Austrian Republic lasted until 1933 when Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, using what he called “self-switch-off of Parliament” (Selbstausschaltung des Parlaments), established an autocratic regime tending toward Italian fascism.
The two big parties at this time, the Social Democrats and the Conservatives, had paramilitary armies; the Social Democrats’ Schutzbund was now declared illegal but still operative as civil war broke out.
In February 1934 several members of the Schutzbund were executed, the Social Democratic party was outlawed and many of its members were imprisoned or emigrated.
On 1 May 1934, the Austrofascists imposed a new constitution (“Maiverfassung”) which cemented Dollfuss’s power but on 25 July he was assassinated in a Nazi coup attempt

.

His successor, Kurt Schuschnigg, (see right) struggled to keep Austria independent as “the better German state”, but on 12 March 1938, German troops occupied the country while Austrian Nazis took over government.

On 13 March 1938, the Anschluss of Austria was officially declared.
Two days later Hitler, a native of Austria, proclaimed the “re-unification” of his home country with the rest of Germany on Vienna’s Heldenplatz.
He established a plebiscite confirming the union with Germany in April 1938.
Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich and ceased to exist as an independent state.
Vienna fell on 13 April 1945, during the Soviet Vienna Offensivejust before the total collapse of the Third Reich.
Karl Renner and Adolf Schärf (Socialist Party of Austria [Social Democrats and Revolutionary Socialists]), Leopold Kunschak (Austria’s People’s Party [former Christian Social People’s Party]) and Johann Koplenig (Communist Party of Austria) declared Austria’s secession from the Third Reich by the Declaration of Independence on 27 April 1945 and set up a provisional governmentin Vienna under state Chancellor Renner the same day, with the approval of the victorious Red Army and backed by Stalin.
At the end of April, most of Western and Southern Austria still was under Nazi rule.
On 1 May 1945, the federal constitution of 1929, which had been terminated by dictator Dollfuss on 1 May 1934, was declared valid again.
Total Austrian military deaths from 1939–1945 are estimated at 260,000.
Much like Germany, Austria was divided into British, French, Soviet and American zones and governed by the Allied Commission for Austria.
As forecast in the Moscow Declaration in 1943, there was a subtle difference in the treatment of Austria by the Allies.
The Austrian Government, consisting of Social Democrats, Conservatives and Communists (until 1947) and residing in Vienna, which was surrounded by the Soviet zone, was recognised by the Western Allies in October 1945 after some doubts that Renner could be Stalin’s puppet. Thereby the creation of a separate Western Austrian government and the division of the country could be avoided. Austria, in general, was treated as though it had been originally invaded by Germany and liberated by the Allies.
On 15 May 1955, after talks which lasted for years and were influenced by the Cold War, Austria regained full independence by concluding the Austrian State Treaty with the Four Occupying Powers.
On 26 October 1955, after all occupation troops had left, Austria declared its “permanent neutrality” by an act of parliament, which remains to this day.
Following a referendum in 1994, at which consent reached a majority of two thirds, the country became a member of the European Union on 1 January 1995.