December 7 in German History

December 7, 983

Emperor Otto II of the (later so named) Holy Roman Empire dies.

December 7, 1800

Death of Wilhelm Freiherr von Knyphausen in Kassel, Germany. In 1776 as a general with over 40 years of service, Knyphausen was appointed second in command to General Leopold von Heister commanding the Hessian troops fighting with the British against the colonial rebels in America. In 1777 Knyphausen assumed the command. He returned to Germany in 1782.

December 7, 1835

The opening of Germany’s first railroad between Nürnberg and Fürth. Powered by steam, this locomotive was built by Stephenson and Co. in Newcastle upon Tyne and followed along the lines of a Patentee 2-2-2. The locomotive would stay in service until 1857.

December 7, 1932

Adolf Hitler and Gregor Strasser again argued over whether Nazi Party should work with the new German Chancellor Kurt von Schleicher. Reaching no agreement, Hitler would soon purge Strasser and his supporters from the party to consolidate Hitler’s position.

December 7, 1940

Battleship Bismarck entered the Kiel Canal.

Admiral Hipper departed Kiel, Germany for an anti-shipping sortie in the Atlantic.

Orion and Komet sank the ship Vinni off Nauru; shortly after, Komet sank the ship Komata.

December 7, 1941

Erwin Rommel ordered his forces to pull back by about 10 miles toward the Gazala Line, abandoning the Tobruk objective.

Hitler published his notorious Nacht und Nebel (Night and Fog) decree which allows the Gestapo to dispose of their prisoners without a trace.

Soviet forces captured Tikhvin, Russia east of Leningrad. Soviet 30th Army attacked the German 3rd Panzer Army at Klin while Soviet 50th Army attacked the German 2nd Panzer Division near Moscow, Russia.

December 7, 1942

The British liner-turned-troopship, SS Ceramic, on her way to Australia with 378 mainly military and nursing passengers, a crew of 278, and 12 children, was torpedoed by U-515 off the Azores. Survivors took to the lifeboats but in heavy seas and a gale force wind, these soon capsize. The U-boat captain, Werner Henke, fished one man from the water for interrogation purposes and left the rest, 655 men, women, and children, to die. U-515 was eventually sunk by American warships in Apr 1944 and the crew captured. Two months later Henke, who had been responsible for sinking 26 Allied ships was shot dead in an attempt to scale the fence of his POW camp in Virginia in the United States. Refusing an order to stop demanded by alerted guards, Henke appeared to deliberately commit suicide rather than face being tried as a war criminal over the Ceramic incident. The one passenger rescued, Royal Engineer Eric Monday, survived the war.

December 7, 1944

German V-2 rocket hit Canley Road in Hackney, London, England, United Kingdom.

December 7, 1970

The Federal Republic of Germany signs a treaty with Poland recognizing the Oder-Neisse Line as a legitimat