9 December – Today in German History


  • Death of Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor from 1433-1437, in Znojmo, Bohemia (born 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, he led another crusade against the Turks but was defeated again.


  • German Pocket Battleship Admiral Graf Spee sailed toward the River Plate estuary on the border of Uruguay and Argentina to attack a reported convoy departing from Montevideo, Uruguay. Meanwhile, Royal Navy Force G consisting of light cruisers HMS Ajax and HMS Achilles, soon to be joined by the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter was already en route toward the area in search of Admiral Graf Spee.
  • German merchant freighter Kurmark, acquired by the German Navy in the fall of 1939, was commissioned into service as auxiliary cruiser Orion.


  • German submarine U-103 sank British ship Empire Jaguar 250 miles west of Ireland at 0132 hours, killing the entire crew of 37.
  • Battleship Bismarck arrived at Hamburg, Germany.


  • China declares war on Japan, Germany, and Italy in WWII.
  • Soviet troops recaptured Tikhivin in northern Russia.
  • German submarine U-652 sank French ship Saint-Denis 50 miles south of the Balearic Islands at 1400 hours, killing 3. The ship was sunk in a case of misidentification, as she flew the flag of Vichy France.
  • German submarine U-134 mistakenly sank German ship Steinbek 20 miles off of northern Norway at 2100 hours; 12 survived.
  • Adolf Hitler arrived in Berlin, Germany at 1100 hours. He decided to declare war on the United States on this date but decided to withhold the announcement until 11 Dec in order to have enough time to draft his speech.
  • Soviet 30th Army attacked north of Moscow, Russia, capturing many trucks and field guns abandoned by the German 3rd Panzer Army. South of Moscow, Soviet troops captured Venev and Yelets. Despite the victories, the Soviet logistic situation was extremely poor largely due to the destruction of many vehicles at the hands of the Germans in the past few months; for example, Viktor Abakumov reported on this day that on 25 Nov 1941 Soviet 18th Ski Battalion went without any food.


  • Germany agreed to cede to Italy the French warships captured at Bizerte, Tunisia in the previous month. They included sloop La Batailleuse, sloop Commandant Rivière, torpedo boat Bombarde, torpedo boat La Pomone, torpedo boat L’Iphigénie, submarine Phoque, submarine Saphir, submarine Requin, submarine Espadon, submarine Dauphin, submarine Turquoise, submarine Circé, submarine Calypso, and submarine Nautilus.


  • The Doctors’ Trial began in Nuremberg before a United States military court against 20 doctors and 3 Nazi officials who were accused of involvement in human experimentation. The trial ended on 20 Aug 1947 while 7 were acquitted, 7 were given death sentences, and 9 were given prison sentences.


  • A plebiscite approves the merger of 3 states to form the new state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany.Württemberg became a state (Land) in the new Weimar Republic. After the excitements of the 1918–1919 revolution, its five election results between 1919 and 1932 show a decreasing vote for left-wing parties. From 1934, the Gau of Württemberg-Hohenzollern added the Province of Hohenzollern. After World War II in 1945, Württemberg was split between Württemberg-Baden in Bizonia and Württemberg-Hohenzollern in the French zone. Both of these finally became part of the land of Baden-Württemberg in 1952. After World War II, Allied forces established three federal states: Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Baden (both occupied by France), and Württemberg-Baden (U.S.-occupied). In 1949, these three states became founding members of the Federal Republic of Germany. Article 118 of the new German constitution, however, had already prepared a procedure for those states to merge. After a referendum held in December 1951, Württemberg-Baden, Württemberg-Hohenzollern, and Baden voted in favor of a merger. Baden-Württemberg officially became a state on April 25, 1952.


  • Adolf Eichmann is found guilty by a court in Israel and sentenced to death.