Category Archives: Today in History

16 February in German History


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.



15 February in German History


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.


10 February in German History


Birth of Leonty Leontyevich Graf von Bennigsen in Brunswick, Germany (original name Levin August Gottlieb von Benninsen). Bennigsen joined the Russian army in 1773 and fought the Turks in 1774 and 1778. He was a Russian officer crushing the Polish uprising in 1793. He participated in the Russian invasion of Persia in 1796. He became the Governor of Lithuania in 1801. He fought Napoleon in 1806, 1807, and 1812. He led a Russian force against Napoleon again at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813. In 1818 he retired to his estate near Hildesheim, Germany.



6 February in German History


Birth of Eva Braun (1912-1945) in Munich, Germany. Braun was the companion, and at the end, the wife of Adolf Hitler. She met Hitler originally on business, in that she worked in the studio of Hitler’s photographer. Braun and Hitler were married on April 29, 1945, and committed suicide the next day.


Erich Honecker becomes a member of the Politburo in East Germany (DDR).


5 February in German History


The world’s first airline, die Deutsche Luftreederie, later known as Lufthansa, takes off from Berlin to Weimar, Germany, 13 weeks after signing of the Armistice.


Death of Hermann J. Abs (1901-1994) in Bad Soden, Germany. Abs was a banker who played a substantial role in the “Economic Miracle” of the 50’s in Germany. He had been with the Deutsche Bank in Berlin. In 1948 he was appointed to the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, distributing money from the Marshall Plan. He was head of the German team which negotiated at the London debt conference in 1951-1953. When the Deutsche Bank was re-established in Frankfurt in 1957, Abs rejoined it and became the chair of the Aufsichtsrat in 1959.