November 29 in German History

November 29, 1378

Death of Karl IV (King Wenceslas) in Prague, Bohemia. Karl raised Bohemia to a central power and after his rise to the rank of German King, Bohemia controlled that position for centuries. Karl was the son of the powerful John of Luxemburg. In 1343 Karl’s father gave him the regency of Bohemia. In 1343 through Karl’s efforts Bohemia was raised to an archbishopric and Bohemia thus gained autonomy in the Church. At this same time efforts were underway to depose the German King, Ludwig IV, as the Pope had excommunicated him in 1324. By 1346 an election was arranged and Karl was elected German King. However, Ludwig did not recognize the election and continued to reign. Thus there were two German kings until Ludwig’s death in 1347. In 1355 Karl also became the Holy Roman emperor. In 1348 he established the University of Prague, the first central European university. In 1356 he promulgated (with the consent of the German Diet) the Golden Bull which established firm guidelines for the election of the German king by seven electors (the archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Trier and the electors of Bohemia, Brandenburg and Saxony.)

November 29, 1780

Death of Maria Theresa. Maria was the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Karl VI. Since Karl had no sons he sought to bring his daughter to the rule of the Habsburg empire through a new regulation, Die Pragmatische Sanktion, which changed the custom of excluding women from the succession. Thus Maria became in 1740 the Archduchess (Erzherzogin) of Austria and the Queen of Hungary and Bohemia. However since there were forces who did not accept the succession, she was forced to fight for her heritage in the War of Austrian Succession (Erbfolgekrieg) (1740-48). She further had to contend with Prussia’s claims on Silesia, the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763) and the War of Bavarian Succession (1778-1779). She was married to Franz Stephan von Lothringen and the mother of 16 children, of whom Josef II succeeded her. She was a deeply committed Catholic both in her moral views and in her devotion to the Church.

November 29, 1939

Death of Philipp Scheidemann in Copenhagen, Denmark (born in Kassel.) Without party or government authorization he created the Weimar Republic de facto by announcing it from the Reichstag. He went on to become chancellor of the Weimar Republic.



November 28 in German History

November 28, 1794

Death of Friedrich von Steuben in Remsen, New York (born in Magdeburg, Germany). Steuben was a Prussian officer who was induced by Benjamin Franklin to come to America on the side of the rebelling colonies. Arriving in 1777 he was placed in charge of the troops at Valley Forge. He retrained the forces and wrote a manual, Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States. The city of Steubenville, Ohio is named for him.

November 28, 1887

Birth of Ernst Röhm in Munich, Germany. Röhm was a member of the National Socialist Party (Nazi) before Hitler. He organized the SA (Sturmabteilung, storm troops; also called the Brownshirts). By 1934 Hitler began to see Röhm as a rival and began to be concerned about the power of the SA. He had Röhm shot.

November 28, 1989

Chancellor Helmut Kohl presents a 10-point plan for German reunification to the Bundestag:

First: Right away, immediate measures arising out of the events of the last few weeks, particularly the refugee movements and the new dimensions of travel, are necessary.

The Federal Government is prepared to give immediate practical assistance where that assistance is needed now. In the humanitarian sphere and in medical provision we shall help wherever it is wanted…

Second: The Federal Government will as hitherto continue cooperation with the GDR in all spheres of direct benefit to the people on both sides . . .

Third: I have offered to extend our assistance and our cooperation comprehensively when a radical change in the political and economic system in the GDR is bindingly decided and irreversibly set in motion. “Irreversibly” means for us that the GDR national leadership should come to agreement with opposition groups on constitutional change and on a new electoral law.

We support the demand for free, equal and secret elections in the GDR with the involvement of independent parties, including non-socialist ones. The SED’s power monopoly must be removed…

Fourth: Prime Minister Modrow spoke in his government statement of a community based on treaty. We are prepared to take up this idea.

Fifth But we are also prepared to take one further decisive step, namely to develop confederative structures between the two States in Germany, with the objective of then creating a federation, that is, a national federal system in Germany. This necessarily presupposes a democratically legitimated government in the GDR. . . How a reunited Germany will finally look is something no one today knows. But that unification will come if the people in Germany want it, of that I am certain.

Sixth: The development of German internal relationships remains embedded in the overall European process and in East-West relationships. The future architecture of Germany must be fitted into the future architecture of Europe as a whole. For this the West, with its concept of a lasting and just European system of peace, has rendered yeoman service.

Seventh: The European Community’s power of attraction and influence is and remains a constant factor in overall European development. We wish to strengthen it further. The European Community is now being called on to approach the reform-oriented States of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe with openness and flexibility.

We see the process of regaining German unity as a European matter. It must therefore also be seen in combination with European integration. In this sense, the European Community must keep itself open for a democratic GDR and for other democratic States of Central and South-Fastern Europe. The Community must not end at the Elbe, but must maintain openness eastward too.

Eighth: The CSCE process is and remains the core of this architecture of Europe as a whole, and must be pushed energetically forward. For this the existing CSCE forums must be taken advantage of…

Ninth: The overcoming of the splitting of Europe and the division of Germany requires far-reaching, speedy steps in disarmament and arms control. Disarmament and arms control must keep pace with political developments…

Tenth: With this comprehensive policy, we are working towards a situation of peace in Europe in which the German people can regain its unity in free self-determination. Reunification, that is, the regaining of Germany’s national unity remains the Federal Government’s political objective.


Ukraine president asks Germany, NATO to send ships to Sea of Azov

by DW

NATO members including Germany have been asked to send naval vessels to the Sea of Azov to back Ukraine against Russia. “Germany is one of our closest allies,” President Petro Poroshenko said.

Ukraine’s president has sought to gain support from NATO states in his stand-off with Russia after the clash in the Sea of Azov off the Crimean coast.

“Germany is one of our closest allies, and we hope that states within NATO are now ready to relocate naval ships to the Sea of Azov in order to assist Ukraine and provide security,” President Petro Poroshenko told Germany’s Bild daily, suggesting Russia “wants nothing less than to occupy the sea.”

Naming German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a great friend of Ukraine, Poroshenko said that “in 2015, she already saved our country with her negotiations in Minsk, and we hope she will once again support us so strongly, together with our other allies.”

Poroshenko suggested that Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, had major plans.

“Putin wants to bring back the old Russian Empire. Crimea, Donbas, he wants the whole country,” Poroshenko suggested. “As a Russian emperor, as he sees himself, his empire cannot function without Ukraine, he sees us as a colony.”

Chancellor Merkel with President Poroshenko at the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv.

Putin defiant

For his part, Putin accused Poroshenko on Wednesday of orchestrating a “provocation” to boost his flagging popularity ratings before an election next year. The latest opinion polls in Ukraine show only 9 or 10 percent support for the Ukrainian president.

Putin defended his forces’ actions in seizing three Ukrainian ships last weekend in the Sea of Azov. “They were fulfilling their military duty,” he said. “They were fulfilling their lawful functions in protecting Russia’s borders.”

Poroshenko has imposed martial law in parts of Ukraine for 30 days.

Ukrainian ports on the Sea of Azov.


The EU’s top diplomat, Federica Mogherini, on Wednesday night issued a statement expressing “utmost concern about the dangerous increase of tensions” and dismay at the “unacceptable” use of force by Russia. It called on Russia to release the Ukrainian vessels and sailors it seized and ensure unrestricted sea access.

There was no mention of sanctions in the statement. The bloc is divided on imposing further measures against Moscow. Countries such as Italy, Greece, Belgium and Cyprus have been calling for a softer approach to Russia, as Germany and France have focused on measures to ease tensions. Only the three former Soviet states on the Baltic Sea — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — backed by Poland and the UK called for tougher language against Moscow.

US President Donald Trump told the New York Post on Wednesday that he “didn’t like” what was happening. He called on European leaders, especially Merkel, to “get involved.”

“Angela, let’s get involved Angela,” Trump said.