Eastern Front (World War II)
The Eastern Front of World War II was a theatre of conflict between the European Axis powers and co-belligerent Finland against the Soviet Union and other Allies, which encompassed Central Europe, Eastern Europe, Northeast Europe, Southeast Europe from 22 June 1941 to 9 May 1945. It has been known as the Great Patriotic War in the former Soviet Union and modern Russia, while in Germany it was called the Eastern Front, or the German-Soviet War by outside parties; the battles on the Eastern Front of the Second World War constituted the largest military confrontation in history. They were characterized by unprecedented ferocity, wholesale destruction, mass deportations, immense loss of life due to combat, exposure and massacres; the Eastern Front, as the site of nearly all extermination camps, death marches and the majority of pogroms, was central to the Holocaust. Of the estimated 70-85 million deaths attributed to World War II, over 30 million, the majority of them civilian, occurred on the Eastern Front.
The Eastern Front was decisive in determining the outcome in the European theatre of operations in World War II serving as the main reason for the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Axis nations. The two principal belligerent powers were Germany and the Soviet Union, along with their respective allies. Though never engaged in military action in the Eastern Front, the United States and the United Kingdom both provided substantial material aid in the form of the Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union; the joint German–Finnish operations across the northernmost Finnish–Soviet border and in the Murmansk region are considered part of the Eastern Front. In addition, the Soviet–Finnish Continuation War may be considered the northern flank of the Eastern Front. Germany and the Soviet Union remained unsatisfied with the outcome of World War I. Soviet Russia had lost substantial territory in Eastern Europe as a result of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, where the Bolsheviks in Petrograd conceded to German demands and ceded control of Poland, Estonia, Latvia and other areas, to the Central Powers.
Subsequently, when Germany in its turn surrendered to the Allies and these territories were liberated under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 at Versailles, Soviet Russia was in the midst of a civil war and the Allies did not recognize the Bolshevik government, so no Soviet Russian representation attended. Adolf Hitler had declared his intention to invade the Soviet Union on 11 August 1939 to Carl Jacob Burckhardt, League of Nations Commissioner, by saying: Everything I undertake is directed against the Russians. If the West is too stupid and blind to grasp this I shall be compelled to come to an agreement with the Russians, beat the West and after their defeat turn against the Soviet Union with all my forces. I need the Ukraine as happened in the last war; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact signed in August 1939 was a non-aggression agreement between Germany and the Soviet Union. It contained a secret protocol aiming to return Central Europe to the pre–World War I status quo by dividing it between Germany and the Soviet Union.
Finland, Estonia and Lithuania would return to the Soviet control, while Poland and Romania would be divided. The Eastern Front was made possible by the German–Soviet Border and Commercial Agreement in which the Soviet Union gave Germany the resources necessary to launch military operations in Eastern Europe. On 1 September 1939 Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II. On 17 September, the Soviet Union invaded Eastern Poland, and, as a result, Poland was partitioned among Germany, the Soviet Union and Lithuania. Soon after that, the Soviet Union demanded significant territorial concessions from Finland, after Finland rejected Soviet demands, the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 in what became known as the Winter War – a bitter conflict that resulted in a peace treaty on 13 March 1940, with Finland maintaining its independence but losing its eastern parts in Karelia. In June 1940 the Soviet Union illegally annexed the three Baltic states; the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact ostensibly provided security to the Soviets in the occupation both of the Baltics and of the north and northeastern regions of Romania, although Hitler, in announcing the invasion of the Soviet Union, cited the Soviet annexations of Baltic and Romanian territory as having violated Germany's understanding of the Pact.
Moscow partitioned the annexed Romanian territory between the Ukrainian and Moldavian Soviet republics. Adolf Hitler had argued in his autobiography Mein Kampf for the necessity of Lebensraum: acquiring new territory for Germans in Eastern Europe, in particular in Russia, he envisaged settling Germans there, as according to Nazi ideology the Germanic people constituted the "master race", while exterminating or deporting most of the existing inhabitants to Siberia and using the remainder as slave labour. Hitler as early as 1917 had referred to the Russians as inferior, believing that the Bolshevik Revolution had put the Jews in power over the mass of Slavs, who were, in Hitler's opinion, incapable of ruling themselves but instead being ruled by Jewish masters; the Nazi leadership, saw the war against the Soviet Union as a struggle between the ideologies of Nazism and Jewish Bolshevism, ensuring territorial expansion for the Germanic Übermensch, who according to Nazi ideology were the Aryan Herrenvolk, at the expense of
20 July plot
On 20 July 1944, Claus von Stauffenberg and other conspirators attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of Nazi Germany, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The name Operation Valkyrie—originally referring to part of the conspiracy—has become associated with the entire event; the apparent aim of the assassination attempt was to wrest political control of Germany and its armed forces from the Nazi Party and to make peace with the Western Allies as soon as possible. The details of the conspirators' peace initiatives remain unknown, but they would have included unrealistic demands for the confirmation of Germany's extensive annexations of European territory; the plot was the culmination of efforts by several groups in the German resistance to overthrow the Nazi German government. The failure of the assassination attempt and the intended military coup d'état, to follow led the Gestapo to arrest more than 7,000 people, of whom they executed 4,980. Since 1938, there had been groups plotting an overthrow of some kind within the German Army and in the German Military Intelligence Organization.
Early leaders of these plots included Major General Hans Oster, Colonel General Ludwig Beck and Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben. Oster was the deputy head of the Military Intelligence Office. Beck was a former Chief of Staff of the German Army High Command. Von Witzleben was the former commander of the German 1st Army and the former Commander-in-Chief of the German Army Command in the West, they soon established contacts with several prominent civilians, including Carl Goerdeler, the former mayor of Leipzig, Helmuth James von Moltke, the great-grandnephew of Moltke the Elder, hero of the Franco-Prussian War. Groups of military plotters exchanged ideas with civilian and intellectual resistance groups in the Kreisauer Kreis and in other secret circles. Moltke was against killing Hitler. Moltke said, "we are all amateurs and would only bungle it". Moltke believed killing Hitler would be hypocritical. Hitler and National Socialism had turned "wrong-doing" into a system, something which the resistance should avoid.
Plans to stage an overthrow and prevent Hitler from launching a new world war were developed in 1938 and 1939, but were aborted because of the indecision of Army General Franz Halder and Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch, the failure of the Western powers to oppose Hitler's aggression until 1939. In 1942, a new conspiratorial group formed, led by Colonel Henning von Tresckow, a member of Field Marshal Fedor von Bock's staff, who commanded Army Group Centre in Operation Barbarossa. Tresckow systematically recruited oppositionists to the Group's staff, making it the nerve centre of the army resistance. Little could be done against Hitler as he was guarded, none of the plotters could get near enough to him. During 1942, Oster and Tresckow succeeded in rebuilding an effective resistance network, their most important recruit was General Friedrich Olbricht, head of the General Army Office headquarters at the Bendlerblock in central Berlin, who controlled an independent system of communications to reserve units throughout Germany.
Linking this asset to Tresckow's resistance group in Army Group Centre created a viable coup apparatus. In late 1942, Tresckow and Olbricht formulated a plan to assassinate Hitler and stage an overthrow during Hitler's visit to the headquarters of Army Group Centre at Smolensk in March 1943, by placing a bomb on his plane; the bomb failed to detonate, a second attempt a week with Hitler at an exhibition of captured Soviet weaponry in Berlin failed. These failures demoralised the conspirators. During 1943 Tresckow tried without success to recruit senior army field commanders such as Field Marshal Erich von Manstein and Field Marshal Gerd von Rundstedt, to support a seizure of power. Tresckow in particular worked on his Commander-in-Chief of Army Group Centre, Field Marshal Günther von Kluge, to persuade him to move against Hitler and at times succeeded in gaining his consent, only to find him indecisive at the last minute. However, despite their refusals, none of the Field Marshals reported their treasonous activities to the Gestapo or Hitler.
While the main goal of the plotters was to remove Hitler from power, they did so for various reasons. The majority of the group behind the 20 July plot were conservative nationalists and did not believe in democratic ideas. Martin Borschat writes that the plot was done by conservative elites who were integrated by the Nazi government but during the war lost their influence and were concerned about regaining it; this argument, would seem inadequate to explain the higher ideals of Tresckow, who stated shortly before the attempt: "The assassination must be attempted, coûte que coûte. if it fails, we must take action in Berlin.... Hat matters now is that the German resistance movement must take the plunge before the eyes of the world and of history. Compared to that, nothing else matters." Among demands issued by the plotters towards the Allies were such points as re-establishment of Germany's 1914 boundaries with Belgium and Poland and no reparations. Plotters' demands meant annexation to pre-1939 Germany of 70,000 square kilometers of non-German territory the disputed Polish areas.
Like most of the rest of German resistance, the July 20th plotters believed in the idea of Greater Germany and as a condition for peace demanded that the western allies recognize at minimum the Nazi annexations of Austria, Alsace-Lorrai
In the context of the history of the 20th century, the interwar period was the period between the end of the First World War in November 1918 and the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939. Despite the short period of time, this period represented an era of significant changes worldwide. Petroleum and associated mechanisation expanded leading to the Roaring Twenties, a period of economic prosperity and growth for the middle class in North America and many other parts of the world. Automobiles, electric lighting, radio broadcasts and more became commonplace among populations in the developed world; the indulgences of this era subsequently were followed by the Great Depression, an unprecedented worldwide economic downturn which damaged many of the world's largest economies. Politically, this era coincided with the rise of communism, starting in Russia with the October Revolution and Russian Civil War, at the end of World War I, ended with the rise of fascism in Germany and in Italy.
China was in the midst of long period of instability and civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party of China. The Empires of Britain and others faced challenges as imperialism was viewed negatively in Europe, independence movements in British India, French Indochina and other regions gained momentum; the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian and German empires were dismantled, while the Ottoman and German colonies were redistributed among the Allies, chiefly the United Kingdom and France. The western parts of the Russian Empire, Finland, Latvia and Poland became independent nations in their own right, while Bessarabia chose to reunify with Romania; the Russian communists managed to regain control of the other East Slavic states, Central Asia, the Caucasus, forming the Soviet Union. Ireland was partitioned between the independent Irish Free State and the British-controlled Northern Ireland. In the Middle East and Iraq gained independence. During the Great Depression, Latin American countries nationalised many foreign companies in a bid to strengthen their own economies.
The territorial ambitions of the Soviets, Japan and Germany led to the expansion of their empires, setting the stage for the subsequent World War. The Interwar Period is accepted to have ended in September 1939, with the invasion of Poland and the beginning of World War II. However, in Asia, it is considered to have ended with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Following the Armistice of Compiègne on November 11th, 1918 that ended World War I, the years 1918–24 were marked by turmoil as the Russian Civil War continued to rage on, Eastern Europe struggled to recover from the devastation of the First World War and the destabilising effects of not just the collapse of the Russian Empire, but the destruction of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, as well. There were numerous new nations in Eastern Europe, some small in size, such as Lithuania or Latvia, some large and vast, such as Poland and Yugoslavia; the United States gained dominance in world finance.
Thus, when Germany could no longer afford war reparations to Britain and other former members of the Entente, the Americans came up with the Dawes Plan and Wall Street invested in Germany, which repaid its reparations to nations that, in turn, used the dollars to pay off their war debts to Washington. By the middle of the decade, prosperity was widespread, with the second half of the decade known as the Roaring Twenties; the important stages of interwar diplomacy and international relations included resolutions of wartime issues, such as reparations owed by Germany and boundaries. Disarmament was a popular public policy. However, the League of Nations played little role in this effort, with the United States and Britain taking the lead. U. S. Secretary of State Charles Evans Hughes sponsored the Washington Naval Conference of 1921 in determining how many capital ships each major country was allowed; the new allocations were followed and there were no naval races in the 1920s. Britain played a leading role in the 1927 Geneva Naval Conference and the 1930 London Conference that led to the London Naval Treaty, which added cruisers and submarines to the list of ship allocations.
However the refusal of Japan, Germany and the USSR to go along with this led to the meaningless Second London Naval Treaty of 1936. Naval disarmament had collapsed and the issue became rearmi
Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum
The Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum is a NATO command at Brunssum, the Netherlands. The command was known as Headquarters, Allied Forces Central Europe when it was activated in August 1953 in Fontainebleau, outside Paris, France. After General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed as Supreme Allied Commander Europe in 1950, he found that devising command arrangements in the Central Region, which contained the bulk of NATO’s forces, was to be complicated. General Eisenhower considered naming an overall Commander-in-Chief for the Central Region but soon realized it would be difficult to find an arrangement that would satisfy all three major powers with forces in the Centre - the United States, United Kingdom and France - because their views on the proper relationship of air and ground power differed significantly. Drawing upon his Second World War experience, Eisenhower decided to retain overall control himself and did not appoint a CINC for the Central Region. Instead there would be three separate commanders-in-chief, all reporting directly to SACEUR.
Vice Admiral Robert Jaujard of the French Navy was appointed as Flag Officer Central Europe, served from 2 April 51 until 20 August 1953. On 20 August 1953 General Ridgeway, Eisenhower's successor, established a single Commander-in-Chief for the region with subordinate land and naval commanders. One of the command's exercises in the 1950s was Operation Counter Punch. Counter Punch was a September 1957 AFCENT air-ground military exercise that tested NATO's integrated air-defense system in its central European front; the exercise involved the national air-defense systems of Britain, France and the Netherlands, with Général d'Armée Jean-Étienne Valluy, French Army, NATO's Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Central Europe, in overall command. Operation Counter Punch revealed deficiencies in the Integrated NATO Air Defense System as well as air force responsiveness to theoretical Soviet and Warsaw Pact ground advances. After July 1962 and the establishment of Commander Allied Forces Baltic Approaches, German naval forces were shifted into that command.
Thereafter there was no longer any need for the small headquarters of Allied Naval Forces Central Europe and its two subordinate commands, they were disestablished in 1962, leaving naval liaison provided by a US naval officer. AFCENT remained in France under French command until 1967, when France removed itself from the military command structure; the headquarters was activated under German command. In 2000, the deactivation of Headquarters, Allied Forces Northern Europe in Kolsås, Norway led to the redesignation of AFCENT as Regional Headquarters, Allied Forces Northern Europe; the headquarters operated as RHQ AFNORTH until 2004, when it was renamed Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum to add flexibility to the military command structure by removing regional restrictions. Circa 2010, JFC Brussum appears to be responsible for Contingency Plan Eagle Guardian, NATO's Article 5 plan to defend Poland, Lithuania and Estonia. Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk Camp is the headquarters and main base area of JFC Brunssum.
Other organizations located on Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk Camp are the NATO Communication and Information Systems Services Agency, Sector Brunssum and the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Programme Management Agency. Hendrik van Nassau-Ouwerkerk Camp boasts an all ranks club called Club 13, a small tax-free department store called the B&S Store, a film theatre, a swimming pool, tennis courts and a gymnasium. Additional services are provided by the AAFES on US Army Garrison Schinnen. Static War Headquarters Castlegate is a NATO command and communications bunker located 2 km north-east of the town of Linnich, Germany. SWHQ Castlegate is operated in caretaker status by a German military contingent. During the Cold War, AFCENT commanded the following units: Allied Command Europe, in Mons, Belgium Allied Forces Central Europe, in Brunssum, Netherlands Northern Army Group, in JHQ Rheindahlen, West Germany I Dutch Corps I German Corps I British Corps I Belgian Corps Central Army Group, in Heidelberg, West Germany III German Corps V US Corps VII US Corps II German Corps Allied Air Forces Central Europe, in Ramstein Air Base, West Germany Second Allied Tactical Air Force Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force The III Corps was allocated as NORTHAG reserve.
On activation, it would have deployed to Europe from bases in the United States. A forward element, 3rd Brigade, US 2nd Armored Division, was located at Germany. US III Corps maintained a forward headquarters at Tapijn Kazerne, Netherlands; the commander of JFC-B is known as Joint Force Command Brunssum. The position was known as Commander-in-Chief North and Commander-in-Chief Central. JFC-B is commanded by a German General but now is commanded by an Italian four-star general for the great contribution of the Italian armed forces to NATO; the current commander is General Riccardo Marchiò of the Italian Army. Official JFC-B Website Allied Land Forces Central Europe
World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Palace of Fontainebleau
The Palace of Fontainebleau or Château de Fontainebleau, located 55 kilometres southeast of the center of Paris, in the commune of Fontainebleau, is one of the largest French royal châteaux. The medieval castle and subsequent palace served as a residence for the French monarchs from Louis VII to Napoleon III. Francis I and Napoleon were the monarchs who had the most influence on the Palace as it stands today.. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the earliest record of a fortified castle at Fontaineau dates to 1137. It became a favorite residence and hunting lodge of the Kings of France because of the abundant game and many springs in the surrounding forest, it took its name from one of the springs, the fountain de Bliaud, located now in the English garden, next to the wing of Louis XV. It was used by King Louis VII, for whom Thomas Becket consecrated the chapel in 1169. In the 15th century some modifications and embellishments were made to the castle by Isabeau of Bavaria, the wife of King Charles VI, but the medieval structure remained intact until the reign Francis I.
He commissioned the architect Gilles le Breton to build a palace in the new Renaissance style imported from Italy. Le Breton preserved the old medieval donjon, where the King's apartments were located, but incorporated it into the new Renaissance-style Cour Ovale, or oval courtyard, built on the foundations of the old castle, it included monumental Porte Dorée, as its southern entrance. As well as a monumental Renaissance stairway, the portique de Serlio, to give access the royal apartments on the north side. Beginning in about 1528, Francis constructed the Gallery Francis I, which allowed him to pass directly from his apartments to the chapel of the Trinitaires, he brought the architect Sebastiano Serlio from Italy, the Florentine painter Giovanni Battista di Jacopo, known as Rosso Fiorentino, to decorate the new gallery. Between 1533 and 1539 Rosso Fiorentino filled the gallery with murals glorifying the King, framed in stucco ornament in high relief, lambris sculpted by the furniture maker Francesco Scibec da Carpi.
Another Italian painter, Francesco Primaticcio from Bologna, joined in the decoration of the palace. Together their style of decoration became known as the first School of Fontainebleau; this was the first great decorated gallery built in France. Broadly speaking, at Fontainebleau the Renaissance was introduced to France. In about 1540, Francis began another major addition to the chateau. Using land on the east side of the chateau purchased from the order of the Trinitaires, he began to build a new square of buildings around a large courtyard, it was enclosed on the north by the wing of the Ministers, on the east by the wing of Ferrare, on the south by a wing containing the new gallery of Ulysses. The chateau was surrounded by a new park in the style of the Italian Renaissance garden, with pavilions and the first grotto in France. Primaticcio created more monumental murals for the gallery of Ulysses. Following the death of Francis I, King Henry II decided to expand the chateau; the King and his wife chose Jean Bullant to do the work.
They extended the east wing of the lower court, decorated it with the first famous horseshoe-shaped staircase. In the oval court, they transformed the loggia planned by Francois into a Salle des Fétes or grand ballroom with a coffered ceiling. Facing the courtyard of the fountain and the fish pond, they designed a new building, the Pavillon des Poeles, to contain the new apartments of the King; the decoration of the new ballroom and the gallery of Ulysses with murals by Francesco Primaticcio and sculptured stucco continued, under the direction of the Mannerists painters Primaticcio and Niccolò dell'Abbate. At Henri's orders the Nymphe de Fontainebleau by Benvenuto Cellini was installed at the gateway entrance of Château d'Anet, the primary domain of Henri's primary mistress Diane de Poitiers. Following the death of Henry II in a jousting accident, his widow, Catherine de' Medici, continued the construction and decoration of the château, she named Primaticcio as the new superintendent of royal public works.
He designed the section known today as the wing of the Belle Cheminée, noted for its elaborate chimneys and its two opposing stairways. In 1565, as a security measure due to the Wars of Religion, she had moat dug around the château to protect it against attack. King Henry IV made more additions to the château than any King since Francis I, he extended the oval court toward the west by building two pavilions, called Luxembourg. Between 1601 and 1606, he remade all the façades around the courtyard, including that of the chapel of Saint-Saturnin, to give the architecture greater harmony. On the east side, he built a new monumental gateway with a dome, called the porte du Baptistère. Between 1606 and 1609, he built a new courtyard, called the Cour des Offices or the Quartier Henry IV, to provide a place for the kitchens and residences for court officials. Two new galleries, the Galerie de Diane de Poitiers and the Galerie des Cerfs, were built to enclose the old garden of Diane, he added a large Jeu de paume, or indoor tennis court, the largest such court existing in the world.
A "second school of Fontainebleau" of painters and decorators went to work on the interiors. The architect Martin Fréminet created the ornate chapel of the Trinity, while the p
Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only federal decoration of Germany. It was created by the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, on 7 September 1951, has been awarded to over 200,000 individuals in total, both Germans and foreigners. Since the 1990s the number of annual awards has declined from over 4,000, first to around 2,300–2,500 per year, now under 2,000, with a low of 1752 in 2011. In recent years women have made up a steady 30–31% of recipients. Colloquially, the decorations of the different classes of the Order are known as the Federal Cross of Merit. Most of the German federal states have each their own order of merit as well, with the exception of the Free and Hanseatic Cities of Bremen and Hamburg, which reject any orders; the order was established on 7 September 1951 by the decree of the Federal President Theodor Heuss. The decree, co-signed by the President Heuss together with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the Minister of the Interior, Robert Lehr, states: Desiring to visibly express recognition and gratitude to deserving men and women of the German people and of foreign countries, on the second Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany, I establish the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
It is awarded for achievements that served the rebuilding of the country in the fields of political, socio-economic and intellectual activity, is intended to mean an award of all those whose work contributes to the peaceful rise of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Order comprises four groups with seven regular and two special classes, hereafter the official denominations in English: Grand Cross Grand Cross special class. Grand Cross special issue. Class Cross, it is awarded to him in a ceremony by the President of the Bundestag, attended by the Chancellor of Germany, the President of the Bundesrat, the Supreme Court President. Other than the German president, only a foreign head of state and their spouse can be awarded with this highest class. There is the provision of awarding the Grand Cross in a "special issue" with laurel wreath design, in which the central medallion with the black eagle is surrounded by a stylized laurel wreath in relief; this Grand Cross special issue has been awarded so far only twice, to former German chancellors Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl.
Except for the lowest class, the badge is the same for all classes, but with different versions for men and women: The badge is a golden cross enamelled in red, with a central disc bearing a black eagle. The star is a golden star with straight rays, its size and points vary according to class, with the badge superimposed upon it. 8-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross special class 6-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross 1st class 4-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross silver Square-upon-point: Knight Commander The riband is red with gold-black-gold stripes. Recipients by years Iron Cross Order of Karl Marx Pour le Mérite Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Awards and decorations of the German Armed Forces The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Classes of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany with their official French, English and Russian translations The President of the Federal Republic of Germany webpage Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland