See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Germany Timeline: Nationalism. The German Sense of Self.

National, Territorial Identity,
How it Develops.  Perspectives on Germany.
The First Millennium Sets the Stage, Starts the Lessons.
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Romans Fail to Conquer Germanic Tribes. See Teutoburg. Lesson: Distance conquest cannot hold. Rome gives up. Then, 400 years later, local Franks under Charlemagne, and with the church's resources and motivators, does. 
Holy Roman Empire forces conversions, with death as the alternative; even that does not last.
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How to visit another country and come away with a coherent idea of its history.  It often takes a timeline of major invasions, military or religious; with the dominant characters and movements.
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9 CE:  Germanic tribes, allied under command of one Arminius, defeat the Roman army, the 17th, 18th and 19th Legions, at Teutoburg Forest, see http://www.livius.org/te-tg/teutoburg/teutoburg01.htm.  This place is also known as Varusschlacht, for the Roman General, Publius Quintilius Varus.  The name of the forest is Kalkreise; and the word for it, forest, is more properly translated as "narrows" -- the Teutoburg Narrows. The museum exhibits proclaim the fear that the tribes inspired in the Romans, and fed later brutalities of the Holy Roman Empire in moving north yet again; even fear of Germans inspiring the rest of Europe's reluctance to engage Germany in World Wars.
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Test the theory.
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400 CE :  Roman Empire never conquers the German tribes. Rome extended to north of the Alps, to Augsburg and the Danube, and north-west only to the Rhone River, including areas of  Triere, Worms, Strasburg, see http://0.tqn.com/d/ancienthistory/1/0/c/z/2/westernempire.jpg.  That left cultures such as the Alamani, Saxons, Angles, Thuringians, Franks, Burgundians, Lombards, and the Vandals still independent.
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782 CE:  Charlemagne, King of the Franks goes on the march to conquer tribes for Christianity,  slaughtered 4,000 Saxon prisoners in Northern Germany who would not convert.  How much of history is a data-record; and how much laid out to create or make a point. History itself is a grain of salt. Take it that way.
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793 CE:  Vikings raid Lindisfarne, Christian Monastery. What did that have to do with the Franks on the march in German lands?  For scholars:  was the Viking violence against Christians, especially monasteries with their riches, and so suddenly bursting on the scene, related to knowledge of Christian slaughters in Germany, Northern Europe, Saxons and others often trafficking with the Scandinavian tribes, and having migrated already to Britain.
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Read that site carefully, past the predictable outrage against attack, to the "un-Christian" acts that led to it, according to Alcuin, http://www.lindisfarne.org.uk/793/. That still leaves unaddressed the "un-Christian" slaughters in compelling conversions, something
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814 CE.  Charlemagne was first the King of the Franks, and then the Frankish Emperor (Tribe of the Franks) and later Holy Roman Emperor,  and the Holy Roman Empire.  By 814 AD or so, they had fought their way north and east.  This resulted in substantial geographic area increases for the heirs of the Roman Empire, the one under the guise of "God's Will", the Holy Roman Empire.  Empire just the same. 
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By 843 CE, however, the Frankish empire shattered, and Germany emerged as a concept on in its own direction, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1053880.stm.  They were still, although not dominated by the Franks, part of the Holy Roman Empire, is that so?
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In 845 CE, the area subdivisions showed many tribes, accordingly, most already subdued and allocated by the HRE, see http://www.edmaps.com/empire_charlemagne.jpg
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962 CE:  German King Otto, the new Holy Roman Emperor, gained control of Northern Italy and centered the Empire in Germany, with expansion efforts north into Denmark. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1053880.stm
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By 1000 CE, this "Holy" Roman Empire had spread from the border at roughly Poland to France. http://www.edmaps.com/europe_1000.jpg
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1250 CE- Empire collapses into Princely Territories. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1053880.stm
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By the 14th Century, territories had fractured back.  The Empire could not hold. See http://www.edmaps.com/europe_14_century.jpg.
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1517 CE - Martin Luther and the Reformation; further diminution of Roman presencce.
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1618-1648 CE -- Thirty Years' War.  Roman presence reasserted. The Habsburgs try to reinstate Roman Catholicism.  At Osnabruck, photo at top,  Treaty of Westphalia is signed in 1649 and affirms independence of the individual states.
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1806 CE - Napoleon imposes French rule over most of Germany. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1053880.stm.  In 1814, Napoleon was defeated, Battle of Leipzig.
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1848-1890 CE- Revolutions, industrialization Bismarck unifies much, Kaiser Wilhelm continues, with colonial expansion and militarism, workers' movements (SDS).

1914-1918 -- WWI; defeat; heavy reparations ordered
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1923 - See site for rise of Hitler, economic collapse, depression, unemployment, and, in 1933, The Third Reich under Hitler as Chancellor. Increase in persecutions of Jews, other minorities. Weimar Republic to a one-party state, and so on into modern history, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/1053880.stm

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With that framework, all the sites that appear on the way as they happen on a road trip, make sense. Don't try to learn it before you go: when you return, lay out photos and places with the milestones in mind.

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