Albrecht Wallenstein, the commanding general of the Holy Roman Empire in the Thirty Years’ War dies (assassination). Wallenstein was born in Hermanice, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). The classic dramatist Friedrich Schiller wrote a three-part play about the life of Wallenstein.
The four occupation powers in Germany make the decision to liquidate the state of Prussia.
The Gestapo arrested Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie for opposing the Nazi regime. The two were the leaders of the German youth group Weisse Rose (White Rose). They were executed as “political traitors” on February 23, 1943.
Tens of thousands gathered in Dresden’s old town to pay tribute to the victims of Allied air raids in 1945. The commemoration has taken place every year since 2010 and often attracts right-wing demonstrators.
Around 11,500 people stood hand-in-hand to form a human chain around Dresden’s old town on Wednesday commemorating the 74th anniversary of an allied bombing in 1945 during World War II.
Dresden was decimated by a series of four air raids from February 13-15, 1945, during which British and US air forces dropped more than 3,900 tons of explosives. The heavy use of various incendiary bombs led to a firestorm in the city, a phenomenon is more typically seen in nature when a fire becomes so large it creates and sustains its own wind systems, sucking in more oxygen and facilitating its own spread.
Between 23,000 and 25,000 people are thought to have died in the area bombing, concentrated not on strategic targets but on a population center.
Since 2010, thousands have traditionally gathered in Dresden every year on February 13 to form a human chain around the old town, where most of the destruction occurred, to symbolically protect it.
Saxony’s state premier Michael Kretschmer and Dresden’s Mayor Dirk Hilbert were among those who participated. A delegation from Wroclaw, Poland and the British city of Coventry also joined the ranks — both cities suffered severe damage from the air in World War II and have had partnerships with Dresden over the past 60 years.
Hilbert, mayor since 2015, recalled the victims not only in Dresden but also in other European cities. He highlighted the importance of reconciliation, saying there were currently “reconciliation gaps” around Europe that need to be closed.
Around 100 people also gathered at Dresden’s Frauenkirche for a prayer for peace, where pastor Sebastian Feydt paid tribute to the 60-year partnership between Dresden and Coventry. All church bells in Dresden are also set to ring at 9:45 p.m. CET (2045 UTC), the time of the first air raid on February 13.
The annual commemorations in Dresden, a city that was once strong in its Nazi sympathies, have also traditionally attracted right-wing extremists, who organize events on the February 13 anniversary for their own political purposes.
The high numbers of civilian casualties during the bombings of cities like Dresden and Hamburg, coupled with historians questioning their strategic value so late in the war, are popular talking points among the far-right in Germany.
On Wednesday, members of the Young Alternative for Germany, the youth wing of Germany’s AfD party, and the ultranationalist National Democratic Party (NDP) laid a wreath at the Heide cemetery in Northern Dresden.
Other AfD party members also leaned wreaths on the Altmarkt memorial at the center of Dresden’s old town, where the bodies of thousands of victims were burned after the Allied attacks in 1945.
Birth of Otto Liman von Sanders in Stolp, Germany. In 1913 Liman, a German general was appointed the head of the German military mission in Turkey with the purpose of reorganizing and building the Turkish army. His major victory was at the head of the Turkish 5th Army which forced the British and Australian troops out of the Dardanelles in World War I.
Death of Graf Lexa von Aehrenthal in Vienna. He was the Austro-Hungarian foreign minister at the time of the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908.
Birth of Friederich Wilhelm in Köln, Germany. Friederich Wilhelm was the elector of Brandenburg in the Holy Roman Empire. A member of the Hohenzollern family, he rebuilt the family holdings after the devastation of the Thirty Years’ War and established control over Prussia. He built a strong and efficient army and established a strong economic infrastructure in his territories. His son, Friedrich I, thus had a strong basis from which to start his rule.
Death of Karl Theodor, the Wittelsbach Elector (Holy Roman Empire) of the Palatinate. On 30 December 1777, the Bavarian line of the Wittelsbach family ceased and the succession went to Karl Theodor. The Palatinate was thus united with Bavaria. In reaction to the new size and troublesome strength of Bavaria, Austria laid claim to a number of the territories. In a complex series of intrigues, this led to the War of the Bavarian Succession which involved Austria, Bavaria, the Palatinate, and Prussia.
Birth of Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor from 1433-1437, near Nürnberg, Germany. He was the last emperor of the House of Luxembourg. In 1396 he assembled and led an army against the Turks, who had penetrated as far as Serbia, but he was badly defeated in the campaign. It was Sigismund who invited Jan Hus to the Church Council of Constance to defend his views. After his appearance, Hus was burned for heresy. In 1428 Sigismund led another crusade against the Turks but was defeated again.
Death of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II, in Vienna, Austria. Ferdinand was the leading proponent of the Catholic Counter-Reformation and defender of the absolutist rule in the 30 Years’ War.
Death of Friedrich Ludwig Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen in Silesia. Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen was a general of the Prussian army in the battle against Napoleon at Jena in 1806 in which the Prussian army was crushed and Prussia became a dependency of France.