Category: West Germany

British Victory Parade 1945: Desert Rats! May Your Glory Ever Shine!

The thump of the 3rd Royal Horse Artillery’s 25-pounder-guns at 10 am on Saturday, July 21st 1945 was intended to represent the last time that British artillery would be fired on the streets of Berlin - and the start of the British Victory Parade. The procession would take place along the very same street where Adolf Hitler’s troops had held their own victory parade almost five years earlier, on July 27th 1940, following the defeat of Poland and surrender of France. [caption id="attachment_6579" align="alignright" width="300"] 3rd Royal Horse Artillery salute[/caption] Now, as the leaders of the Big Three (Truman, Stalin & Churchill) gathered in nearby Potsdam to attend the final Allied conference of the Second World War, some 10,000 men along with tanks, armoured cars, searchlight batteries and artillery formations would march along Berlin's monumental Charlottenburger Chaussee - reviewed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Ministers Anthony Eden and Clement…

Beyond Two Beers: Berliner vs Kindl & Sampling The Craft Beer Scene

May 1945. Berlin was a city of ghosts and ruins. Allied bombing had laid waste to vast swathes of the city centre, decimating the German capital’s infrastructure. Industry was crippled. Large-scale brewing operations had been torn apart by the high explosives that rained from the skies. In the years that immediately followed World War Two, though, two breweries would rise from the rubble and become powerhouses in the period when Berlin was divided: Berliner Pilsner and Berliner Kindl. They would come to define two divergent Cold War cultures in East and West. Berliner Kindl would become the poster child of the Wirtschaftwunder, a microcosmic example of West Germany’s economic recovery. The name was all over West Berlin – the shop front window for Western values behind the Iron Curtain – as Marshall Plan money poured into the city. The war and its immediate aftermath had been nothing short of disastrous for…

Eight Strangest Berlin Wall Escapes

As of Monday the 5th of February 2018, the Berlin Wall will have been down for longer than it stood: 28 years, 3 months, and 28 days. Erected on the 13th of August 1961, The Wall divided Berlin for 28 years during the Cold War and claimed the lives of, as official records currently state, 140 people, until its fall on the 9th November 1989. What started as a ramshackle border fence, comprising mostly of barbed wire and concrete posts, would be continually expanded into a 157-kilometre long fortress consisting of two walls with an armoured ‘no-man’s-land’ running in between – nicknamed, with characteristic German candour, the ‘Death Strip’. Unlike the no-mans land of the First World War, the control zone of the Berlin Wall was entirely in the territory of one power - East Germany - a country determined to stop the flow of citizens escaping West across its…

On this day: The Bundeswehr is born (12th November 1955)

  At the end of the Second World War, Germany was left without a military following the dissolution of the Wehrmacht by the occupying Allied armies.   Following the enactment of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany in May 1949, the new West German state was established. The way it would be allowed to function was set out in that piece of legislation. Article 87a of the Act stipulated that the country's armed force was to be a defensive force for West Germany and, significantly, not allowed to fight outside the country.  It took until the 12th November 1955 for the Bundeswehr to be created.  This was to be the unified armed forces of West Germany - the Army, Navy, Air Force, Joint Support Service and Joint Medical Service. At this time there were just 101 volunteer recruits. To raise the number of personnel, compulsory military service was introduced…