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Erich Ludendorff

    

Erich Ludendorff / commons.wikimedia.org

Erich Ludendorff / commons.wikimedia.org

   Germany is a country of tradition, contrast and discipline mixed with a craving for modernity and change. The actual Chancellor is a lady from the Centre/Right who was in her youth a devoted Communist. In the First and Second World Wars almost all of the ‘officer class’ were titled irrespective of whether Germany was a monarchy or a republic. Rare it was to find a senior army officer without a von in his name. Only recently retired was Freiherr Bertoldt von Stauffenberg, a Count as well as being a son of the heroic leader of German military resistance against Adolf Hitler, recently ‘immortalized’ by Mr Tom Cruise in a rather bad film called Valkyrie. Cruise, who is not very tall, played Klaus von Stauffenberg, who was tall. Actually Rommel was one of the few very senior officers in the Second War who was not a von. (more…)

IG Farben

   This was a cartel formed by the leading chemical companies in Germany after the First World War. ‘IG Farben’ is the diminutive of the rather more tongue-stretching Interessen Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie which has been translated as ‘Community of Interests of Dye Industries’. Three of the many companies which joined were BASF, Bayer and Hoechst.

It was by far the largest corporation or cartel in Germany between the two world wars, controlling five hundred companies (in ninety-two countries). Corporative arrangements were made between Farben and Standard Oil (USA), Imperial Chemical Industries (Gt. Britain), and Mitsui (Japan), which makes the period 1929 – 39 so interesting. You may have noticed that the nationality of the first two of these commercial giants formed the major part of the Allies in World War II, while the third joined Hitler’s Axis. (more…)

The character of Franz-Josef (1830 – 1916)

   

 

The Emperor in military uniform / pragueguide.com

The Emperor in military uniform / pragueguide.com

  It is difficult not to feel sympathy for Franz Josef, Emperor of Austria/Hungary. A dashing European prince of eighteen, he succeeded to the throne abdicated by his uncle in 1848, and stayed on it until the middle of the Great War, a world conflict he had helped to make. His reign was neither successful nor happy; his empire grew smaller and smaller and his power lessened by the year. His much loved Empress and wife ‘Sissy’ was murdered by a lunatic; his son Rudolf committed suicide, but not before murdering his fiancée; his brother Maximilian was  executed by a Mexican firing squad, and the murder of his nephew and heir Franz-Ferdinand in Sarajevo plunged Europe into total war. (more…)

The SECOND Reich

Von Bismarck / numaudes.blogspot.com

Von Bismarck / numaudes.blogspot.com

We assume our studious blogwatchers know all that is to be known about the Third Reich, because it was notorious, racist, and the direct cause of half a billion deaths in a Second War to End All Wars. But what do we know about the Second Reich (Empire)? (more…)

A law in urgent need of repeal: the Royal Marriages Act

The Houses of Parliament / gothereguide.com

The Houses of Parliament / gothereguide.com

 Yes I know that the majority of you don’t give a stuff about royalty anyway but quite a few nations prefer their Head of State to wear a crown; some fine republics abound, where the H of S is elected every so often, such as the United States, France and Germany, but there are plenty of Presidents on this planet who would make a fine old mess of managing a small shop, let alone a nation.

    Now in Great Britain a hard law exists which is not as oecumenical as the Church of England claims to be: this law prohibits the heir to the throne (alone among all British subjects) from marrying a Catholic. It does not matter if the heir has not thought of doing so. The fact is that the law is insulting to the British monarch’s innumerable Catholic subjects, as well as being an even greater insult to common sense. (more…)

The Final Solution

  

   Researchers have tried to find cogent reasons for Hitler’s pathological hatred of the Jews. Nothing in his childhood in Austria happened which might have sown the seeds of that poisonous dislike growing in his innermost soul. His military service during the Great War brought him wounds, but what influence could Jewish people have had on him in the trenches? The enemy was British or French, not Jewish. (more…)

The battle of Austerlitz

Battle-of-Austerlitz                                                        Map of the Battle of Austerlitz

Anyone living at the beginning of the nineteenth century might have thought that the battle of Trafalgar, fought in October 1805 would be enough to topple Napoleon Bonaparte from his imperial pretensions and intensely Corsican gut-feeling that he should rule the world, starting with all Europe. But Trafalgar as we know was a sea battle, a crucial one too, but it did not take place between armies on land. Austerlitz, however, did, and it was Bonaparte’s greatest victory, planned almost as if on a model of the battlefield though – that field was in his brain. (more…)

Field-Marshal Radetzky

   

Radetzky von Radetz / en.wikipedia.org

Radetzky von Radetz / en.wikipedia.org

Josef Wenzel, Count of Radetz was born in Austria in 1766. He became a soldier aan fought the Turks at the age of twenty-two in one of those interminable Balkan wars. In 1800 he was wounded charging with the cavalry against Napoleon at the battle of Marengo, but had recovered enough to take part in the battle of Wagram in 1809, again against the French, but with a more senior rank. (more…)

Metternich

Prince Metternich painted by Laurence / en.wikipedia.org

Prince Metternich painted by Laurence / en.wikipedia.org

Of all the great statesmen and diplomats whose many different names have managed to confuse so many history students in the last century or two, this one is perhaps the most important, because of the significance of what he achieved before he finally failed. We have dealt with most of them in this general-history blog – John of Gaunt, Cardinal Richelieu,  Thomas Cromwell, von Bismarck, both William Pitts, Palmerston, Gladstone, Disraeli – the list is long indeed. (more…)

The Seven Years War

  

  Most of the eighteenth century featured wars in Europe, as rulers came and went and tried to dominate other rulers. Nearly always the same countries were involved, and the Seven Years War was no exception: Prussia, Britain and Hanover (then a separate state) ranged up against Austria, France, Sweden, Spain and you guessed it – Russia. The date was 1756. (more…)

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