Now we have come to the last chapter in the history of our region, it covers the period from the Great War to the “Bonn years” of the Federal Republic of Germany.
At the beginning of the 20th century, two blocks all armed to a maximum stood against each other: England, France and Russia („Triple Entente“) on one side, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy („Dreibund“) on the other. Austria-Hungary, the Habsburg Empire, the multi-ethnic-state, was quite an anachronism, and about to fall apart.
Germany, October 1918. The war was lost. By the “October reforms”, Germany became a constitutional monarchy whose Chancellor, Max von Baden, was responsible to the Reichstag. Nonetheless, the military commanders ordered, by their own authority, the navy in Kiel to set sail for a last battle against the British Royal Navy.
November 1918. The war was over, but not for the people here on the Rhine, and not for the occupation soldiers from far away either. The Allied occupation of the Rhine began. That was some 100 years ago.
This chapter if about the first German republic, named after the city of Weimar where the national assembly met in 1919, to decide about a constitution and to form a new government. However, the young Weimar Republican had to struggle from its start.
After the Weimar Republic had survived the year of crisis 1923, it was granted a short time of economic recovery and political stability. These were the “Golden Twenties”. But the German democracy was shaky. Already in the middle of the twenties, the parties of the center and center-left lost many […]
Foreign loans had helped Germany to recover economically and get back on her feet again. But then the “Black Thursday” in New York changed everything. The stock market into widened into a global crisis, sent the USA into the Great Depressing. The Weimar Republic faced another devastating crisis.
On January 30, 1933, pressured by former Chancellor Franz von Papen and other staunch conservatives, President Hindenburg had finally appointed Hitler Chancellor. Within only a few month, Germany became a totalitarian state.
On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria, shortly after an overwhelming majority voted in favor of annexation to the German Reich. The same year, the Sudetenland, the parts of Czechoslovakia inhabited Germans, was annexed. In 1939, German troops first marched into Prague and then in September into Warsaw. […]
Germany, 1948. After World War II, Germany had to start all over again. The Western part of the country, occupied by England, France and the USA and since 1948 combined into the trizone, should be governed democratically.