Category Archives: Blog

Election of Helmut Kohl, 1983

On March 6th, 1983, new West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl of the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) party would be elected. He would be re-elected in 1987, and again as the first Chancellor of a united Germany following the end of the Cold War. Kohl strove to improve East German financial conditions during the 1990s and to establish a strong German position in the European Union. He would stay in power for 16 years, the longest reign of any Chancellor since Otto von Bismarck, until the 1998 election of Gerhard Schröder of the SDP (Social Democratic party); Schröder in turn would remain Chancellor until the 2005 election of Angela Merkel.

B 145 Bild-F074398-0021

Two new tours

On the birthday of Rosa Luxemburg, I’m happy to announce that I am offering two new tours: ‘Remarkable Women’ and ‘Resistance and Civil Disobedience’. These will soon appear on my website for private booking as usual, and will also be open to public groups on occasion through the upcoming spring and summer.

On March 5th, 1871, the Jewish revolutionary socialist Rosa Luxemburg was born. Upon the outbreak of World War One, she and her comrade Karl Liebknecht, demanding greater civil liberties for the soon-to-be-drafted working class and for women, would form the anti-war ‘Spartacus League’. At war’s end, the Spartacists would launch their rebellion, which Luxemburg thought a blunder; she and Liebknecht would be captured by ‘Freikorps’ militants, among them numerous National Socialists and right-wing sympathizers. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were captured, tortured and murdered by the Freikorps on January 15, 1919.

“Freiheit ist immer die Freiheit des Andersdenkenden,” (Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently) Rosa Luxemburg.

Churchill and the ‘Iron Curtain’

On March 5th, 1946, former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill would address an audience at Westminster College, Missouri, accompanied by President Harry S. Truman. The speech was a landmark moment in the early stages of the Cold War. Churchill lauded the relationship between the UK and USA, and warned against Soviet expansionism, speaking of the descent of an ‘iron curtain’ over Europe.

Beginning of American bombing in Berlin

On March 4th, 1944, the U.S. Eighth Air Force would launch its first bombing raid on Berlin soil. After the initial attack, American pilots would join the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command in strafing the city by day and night.

By ceasefire in May 1945, 26,000 servicemen of the Eighth Air Force would have been killed in combat, as well as 55,000 of their British counterparts. At least 20,000 Berliners would die during Allied raids.