12 January in German History

1519

Death of Maximilian I in Wels, Austria. Maximilian was the Archduke of Austria, the German king, and the Holy Roman Emperor. He did much to expand and consolidate the Habsburg holdings. He nearly became Pope. The Pope, Julius, was very ill and a schismatic Council of Pisa offered Maximilian the position as an anti-Pope. After much reflection, he declined the offer. His greatest defeat was in a war with Switzerland. After that war through the Peace of Basel in 1499, he was forced to accept the independence of the Swiss.

1721

Birth of Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel in Wolfenbüttel, Germany. Ferdinand was the brother-in-law of the Prussian king, Fredrich II. As a general, he was a dominant military force in Prussia’s Seven Years’ War against Austria. In the war of the American Revolution, he was offered a post by England at the head of British troops in America but he declined.

1993

A German court in Berlin drops charges against Erich Honecker (related to shootings at the German-German border) with the justification that he was 80 years old and terminally ill.

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