This time has shaped our region, back then the Grand Duchy of Berg, and Napoleon’s laws lasted long beyond his reign. In the Rhineland, the Napoleonic Code was in use until the introduction of the Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (civil code of Germany) in 1900.
After the Congress of Vienna, the Rhinelanders became Prussian Rhineland citizens, subjects of the Prussian kings and emperors in Berlin. The Prussians on the Rhine? What business did they have here?
The Rhineland around 1815. After the Congress of Vienna, our region was part of the Prussian Rhine Province within the Kingdom of Prussia under Frederick William III (1797-1840).
Germany, 1848, the year of the Revolution of 1848/49. The news about the February Revolution in France had spread quickly. Already in the first days of March, people throughout Germany had taken the streets, waving black-red-golden flags, demanding unity, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and the right to form armed militias.
For almost 30 years, named Bismarck Era after him, the “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck he and his Emperor William I decided about Prussia’s and Germany’s fate. Among all the Prussian and then German politicians, he stands out. He raised Prussia to a position of hegemony among the German-speaking countries.
Germany around 1900, named Wilhelmine Era after Kaiser Wilhelm II. For many people, life was good. It was the time of impressionist and expressionist painting, historicism and eclecticism in architecture, and, turning away from old styles, art nouveau. In the “Belle Époque” people enjoyed their lives – at least those who could afford it.
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.
The Kaiser’s world was about to fall apart. The Great War would bring total mobilization and upheaval in Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia, plus a new social and world order.
Germany, 1918: The war was lost, there was hunger and need everywhere, millions of soldiers had perished in battle. The mood swung against the Kaiser. In Russia, the Bolsheviks had seized power and finally killed the Tsar and his family. The multi-ethnic Austria-Hungary was falling apart. A German Revolution would do away with the Kaiser and the Hohenzollern Monarchy.
Rhineland, 1918/1919. The armistice had put a temporary end to the fighting in the Great War, the allied occupation of the Rhineland began. Martial law remained in force, and the British fleet maintained its naval blockade.