Category Archives: News/Stories

Dresden Commemorates 1945 Allied Area Bombing with Human Chain

By DW 

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.

City partnerships

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.

Right-wing demonstrations

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.

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2019 State of the Historical Society and Website

 

Hello All Members,

I’m writing this to discuss the website and historical society in which we will cover some of the good things and issues we are running into while going into 2019.

We are growing. While we do not have a brick and mortar organization as of yet, we are seeing an uptick and improvement in membership and donations while we are working on growing the website in all areas from writing to photography. This is something we strive to bring to all who enjoy this website: the information of history with current events and photos. As we boast, we by far have one if not the largest collection of German historical and military photos beneath the actual German Federal Archives.

We are still focusing on the writing and mainly working on the World War II area of German military history. This will in time change to other areas such as World War I and other parts of German history. I know, I know. We are working towards that for the WWI buffs. But if we come across pictures from all eras, they will be posted soon after when time allows.

Here are some good things we are seeing or accomplishing:
  1. Pages on the Website: 466
  2. Photos and Images on Website: 20,854
  3. The writing is being worked on weekly with more and more information being added.
  4. Website Members lists are growing!
  5. Paying or Society Members are growing at a nice rate!
  6. Donations have been coming in for the website and museum!
  7. We added a Forum for members to talk about historical subjects.
  8. Upgraded security features for the website.
Unfortunately, there are down things also:
  1. We need more donations or the long term goal of the museum will not happen!
  2. We are seeing constant web attacks from spammers and more. Granted the entire internet has this issue, but we are forced to remove members when they don’t follow our Sign Up Rules.
  3. Removing members due to their emails being blacklisted on the web due to spam accounts. People you have to change your passwords and they must be strong or your accounts will be broken into. This causes your email to do illegal things.
  4. Removing the Chat Feature. It was not popular, but maybe one day we will bring it back.
  5. The last and always the constant pain – People coming here thinking we will support their National Socialist – Nazis beliefs, non-sense, stupidity, etc. We cover the history and support the soldaten that served Germany. Nazism is Dead. The Holocaust is a Stain on German Honor. This is not forgivable. Nazis will never secure a majority anywhere around the world. Take the hate and go crawl back into your hole.

I hope everyone has enjoyed my short report on things. Any questions, please send them to our inbox. Danke.

 

Mit Freundlichen Gruß,

Hans-Wilhelm B. von Richter, Chancellor of the Society
Historical Society of German Military History

Please make a Donation to help the study of German History and to help honor German Veterans. Danke.

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German WW1 Submarine emerges off French Coast

by BBC

The wreck of a World War One German submarine is gradually resurfacing on a beach in northern French after decades of being buried in the sand.

Shifting sand off Wissant, near Calais, is exposing the remains of the UC-61 which was stranded there in July 1917.

The crew flooded the vessel and abandoned it and by the 1930s the submarine had largely been buried.

It is now becoming a tourist attraction again, although the local mayor warns it may only be a fleeting visit.

Since December, two sections of the submarine have been visible at low tide about 330ft (100m) from the dunes.

“The wreck is visible briefly every two to three years, depending on the tides and the wind that leads to sand movements, but a good gust of wind and the wreck will disappear again,” said Mayor of Wissant Bernard Bracq.

However, local tour guide Vincent Schmitt believes the winds and tides could lead to even more of the UC-61 being exposed.

“All the residents of Wissant knew there was a submarine here, but the wreck is mostly silted and therefore invisible,” he said.

“Pieces reappear from time to time, but this is the first time we discover so much.”

German submarines, known as U-boats, targeted Allied shipping during World War One, sinking hundreds of vessels.

Historians say the UC-61 was credited with sinking at least 11 ships, either by laying mines or by firing torpedoes.

On its last journey, the submarine had left Zeebrugge in Belgium and was heading to Boulogne-sur-Mer and Le Havre to lay mines when it ran aground.

The 26 crewmen surrendered to French authorities.

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German army forms sixth tank battalion

by DW

The German army is growing for the first time since the end of the Cold War. Germany’s defense minister said the new tank battalion will help the country meet its NATO commitments.

The German army will be strengthened with a sixth tank battalion in response to rising security concerns in Europe, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced on Thursday.

“With this, the German army will grow for the first time in decades,” von der Leyen said at a military base near the western city of Münster.

The formation of the 363rd Tank Battalion will begin in October next year, with battalion staff and the first of four companies to be stationed at the Hardheim military base south of Frankfurt.

A second company will become active in October 2021, followed by the transfer of another two companies to Hardheim from bases in the states of Bavaria and Thuringia.

More than 100 Leopard 2 tanks are currently being upgraded, some of which will join the 363rd Panzer Battalion, von der Leyen said.

The formation of the 500 soldier-strong battalion comes as Germany increases its defense spending in response to security threats from Russia and pressure from the United States to meet NATO defense budget targets.

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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.

‘Dangerous’

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.

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