The Iron Cross was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and in the German Empire and Nazi Germany. It was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars, Louise was the first person to receive this decoration. The recommissioned Iron Cross was awarded during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, the Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. The design of the symbol was black with a white or silver outline. It was ultimately derived from the cross pattée occasionally used by the Teutonic Order from the 13th century, the black cross patty was used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to March/April 1918, when it was replaced by the Balkenkreuz. In 1956, it was re-introduced as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the Black Cross is the emblem used by the Prussian Army, and by the army of Germany from 1871 to present.
It was designed on the occasion of the German Campaign of 1813, from this time, the Black Cross featured on the Prussian war flag alongside the Black Eagle. The design is due to neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, based on a sketch by Frederick William, the design is ultimately derivative of the black cross used by the Teutonic Order. This heraldic cross took various forms throughout the history, including a simple Latin cross. When the Quadriga of the Goddess of Peace was retrieved from Paris at Napoleons fall, an Iron Cross was inserted into her laurel wreath, making her into a Goddess of Victory. The Black Cross was used on the naval and war flags of the German Empire, the Black Cross was used as the symbol of the German Army until 1915, when it was replaced by a simpler Balkenkreuz. The Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic, the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, the traditional design in black is used on armored vehicles and aircraft, while after German reunification, a new design in blue and silver was introduced for use in other contexts.
The ribbon for the 1813,1870 and 1914 Iron Cross was black with two white bands, the colors of Prussia. The non-combatant version of this award had the same medal, but the black, the ribbon color for the 1939 EKII was black/white/red/white/black. Since the Iron Cross was issued several different periods of German history. For example, an Iron Cross from World War I bears the year 1914, the reverse of the 1870,1914 and 1939 series of Iron Crosses have the year 1813 appearing on the lower arm, symbolizing the year the award was created. The 1813 decoration has the initials FW for King Frederick William III, the final version shows a swastika. There was the 1957 issue, a replacement medal for holders of the 1939 series which substituted an oak-leaf cluster for the banned swastika
8th Army (German Empire)
The 8th Army was an army level command of the German Army in World War I. It was formed on mobilization in August 1914 from the I Army Inspectorate, the army was dissolved on 29 September 1915, but reformed on 30 December 1915. It was finally disbanded in 1919 during demobilization after the war, on mobilisation in August 1914, the 8th Army Headquarters was formed in Posen to command troops stationed in East Prussia to defend against the expected Russian attack, Plan XIX. When he heard of this, Helmuth von Moltke, the German Army Chief of Staff, recalled Prittwitz and they were replaced by Paul von Hindenburg, called out of retirement, with Erich Ludendorff as his chief of staff. Under its new command, the Army was responsible for the victories at the Battles of Tannenberg, the Army of the Niemen was formed on 26 May 1915 to control the troops in Courland. The commander of the 8th Army, General der Infanterie Otto von Below, along with his Chief of Staff, Generalmajor von Böckmann, in the meantime, the 8th Army got a deputy commander, General der Artillerie Friedrich von Scholtz, who was simultaneously commander of XX Corps.
8th Army was dissolved on 29 September 1915, on 30 December 1915 the Army of the Niemen was renamed as the 8th Army with von Below still in command. The original 8th Army had the following commanders from mobilisation until it was dissolved 29 September 1915, a new 8th Army was formed by renaming the Army of the Niemen on 30 December 1915. It was dissolved after the end of the war on 21 January 1919, armee-Abteilung or Army Detachment in the sense of something detached from an Army. It is not under the command of an Army so is in itself a small Army, armee-Gruppe or Army Group in the sense of a group within an Army and under its command, generally formed as a temporary measure for a specific task. Heeresgruppe or Army Group in the sense of a number of armies under a single commander, 8th Army for the equivalent formation in World War II German Army order of battle Order of battle at Tannenberg Great Retreat Cron, Hermann. Imperial German Army 1914–18, Structure, Orders-of-Battle
East Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1773–1829 and from 1878–1945. East Prussia was the part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast. East Prussia enclosed the bulk of the lands of the Baltic Old Prussians. During the 13th century, the native Prussians were conquered by the crusading Teutonic Knights, the indigenous Balts who survived the conquest were gradually converted to Christianity. Because of Germanization and colonisation over the centuries, Germans became the dominant ethnic group, while Poles. From the 13th century, East Prussia was part of the state of the Teutonic Knights. After the Second Peace of Thorn in 1466 it became a fief of the Kingdom of Poland, in 1525, with the Prussian Homage, the province became the Duchy of Prussia. The Old Prussian language had become extinct by the 17th or early 18th century, because the duchy was outside of the core Holy Roman Empire, the prince-electors of Brandenburg were able to proclaim themselves King of Prussia beginning in 1701.
Between 1829 and 1878, the Province of East Prussia was joined with West Prussia to form the Province of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia became the leading state of the German Empire after its creation in 1871. Following Nazi Germanys defeat in World War II in 1945, war-torn East Prussia was divided at Joseph Stalins insistence between the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of Poland, the capital city Königsberg was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. The German population of the province was evacuated during the war or expelled shortly thereafter in the expulsion of Germans after World War II. An estimated 300,000 died either in war time bombings raids or in the battles to defend the province. Upon the invitation of Duke Konrad I of Masovia, the Teutonic Knights took possession of Prussia in the 13th century, local Old-Prussian and Polish toponyms were gradually Germanised. Its defeat was formalised in the Second Treaty of Thorn in 1466 ending the Thirteen Years War, together with Warmia it formed the province of Royal Prussia.
Eastern Prussia remained under the Knights, but as a fief of Poland,1466 and 1525 arrangements by kings of Poland were not verified by the Holy Roman Empire as well as the previous gains of the Teutonic Knights were not verified. The Teutonic Order lost eastern Prussia when Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach converted to Lutheranism, Albert established himself as the first duke of the Duchy of Prussia and a vassal of the Polish crown by the Prussian Homage. Walter von Cronberg, the next Grand Master, was enfeoffed with the title to Prussia after the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, in 1569 the Hohenzollern prince-electors of the Margraviate of Brandenburg became co-regents with Alberts son, the feeble-minded Albert Frederick. The Administrator of Prussia, the grandmaster of the Teutonic Order Maximilian III, when Maximilian died, Alberts line died out, and the Duchy of Prussia passed to the Electors of Brandenburg, forming Brandenburg-Prussia
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was a peace treaty signed on 3 March 1918 between the new Bolshevik government of Soviet Russia and the Central Powers, that ended Russias participation in World War I. The treaty was signed at Brest-Litovsk, after two months of negotiations, the treaty was forced on the Bolshevik government by the threat of further advances by German and Austrian forces. According to the treaty, Soviet Russia defaulted on all of Imperial Russias commitments to the Triple Entente alliance, in the treaty, Bolshevik Russia ceded the Baltic States to Germany, they were meant to become German vassal states under German princelings. Russia ceded its province of Kars Oblast in the South Caucasus to the Ottoman Empire, Russia agreed to pay six billion German gold marks in reparations. Historian Spencer Tucker says, The German General Staff had formulated extraordinarily harsh terms that shocked even the German negotiator, Congress Poland was not mentioned in the treaty, as Germans refused to recognize the existence of any Polish representatives, which in turn led to Polish protests.
When Germans complained that the Treaty of Versailles of 1919 was too harsh on them, the treaty was effectively terminated in November 1918, when Germany surrendered to the Allies. By 1917, Germany and Imperial Russia were stuck in a stalemate on the Eastern Front of World War I, at the time, the Russian economy nearly collapsed under the strain of the war effort. The large numbers of war casualties and persistent food shortages in the urban centers brought about civil unrest, known as the February Revolution. The Russian Provisional Government that replaced the Tsar, decided to continue the war on the Entente side, the pro-war Provisional Government was opposed by the self-proclaimed Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies, dominated by leftist parties. Its Order No.1 called for a mandate to soldier committees rather than army officers. The Soviet started to form its own power, the Red Guards. The position of the Provisional Government led the Germans to offer support to the Russian opposition, the Communist Party in particular, in April 1917, Germany allowed Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin to return to Russia from his exile in Switzerland and offered him financial help.
Throughout 1917, Bolsheviks spread defeatist and revolutionary propaganda, called for the overthrow of the Provisional Government, following the disastrous failure of the Kerensky Offensive, discipline in the Russian army deteriorated completely. Soldiers would disobey orders, often under the influence of Bolshevik agitation and German soldiers occasionally left their positions and fraternized. The defeat and ongoing hardships of war led to anti-government riots in Petrograd headed by the Bolsheviks, several months later, on 7 November, Red Guards seized the Winter Palace and arrested the Provisional Government in what is known as the October Revolution. The newly established Soviet government decided to end Russias participation in the war with Germany, on 26 October 1917, Vladimir Lenin signed the Decree on Peace, which was approved by the Second Congress of the Soviet of Workers and Peasants Deputies. The Decree called upon all the belligerent nations and their governments to start negotiations for peace.
Leon Trotsky was appointed Commissar of Foreign Affairs in the new Bolshevik government, on 15 December 1917, an armistice between Soviet Russia and the Central Powers was concluded and fighting stopped
Franz Joseph I of Austria
Franz Joseph I or Francis Joseph I was Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, and many others from 2 December 1848 until his death on 21 November 1916. From 1 May 1850 to 24 August 1866 he was President of the German Confederation, in December 1848, Emperor Ferdinand abdicated the throne at Olomouc as part of Ministerpräsident Felix zu Schwarzenbergs plan to end the Revolutions of 1848 in Hungary. This allowed Ferdinands nephew Franz Joseph to accede to the throne, largely considered to be a reactionary, Franz Joseph spent his early reign resisting constitutionalism in his domains. Franz Joseph was troubled by nationalism during his entire reign and he concluded the Ausgleich of 1867, which granted greater autonomy to Hungary, hence transforming the Austrian Empire into the Austro-Hungarian Empire under his dual monarchy. After the Austro-Prussian War, Austria-Hungary turned its attention to the Balkans, the Bosnian crisis was a result of Franz Josephs annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, which had been occupied by his troops since the Congress of Berlin.
On 28 June 1914, the assassination of his nephew Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo resulted in Austria-Hungarys declaration of war against the Kingdom of Serbia and this activated a system of alliances which resulted in World War I. Franz Joseph died on 21 November 1916, after ruling his domains for almost 68 years and he was succeeded by his grandnephew Charles. His name in German was Franz Joseph I and I and his names in other languages were and Bosnian, Franjo Josip I. Ukrainian, Фра́нц Йо́сиф I, Francisc Iosif Slovene, serbian, Фрања Јосиф Franz Joseph was born in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, the eldest son of Archduke Franz Karl, and his wife Princess Sophie of Bavaria. Franzl came to idolise his grandfather, der Gute Kaiser Franz, at the age of thirteen, Franzl started a career as a colonel in the Austrian army. From that point onward, his fashion was dictated by army style, Franz Joseph was soon joined by three younger brothers, Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian, Archduke Karl Ludwig, and Archduke Ludwig Viktor, and a sister, Maria Anna, who died at the age of four.
Instead, Franz was sent to the front in Italy, joining Field Marshal Radetzky on campaign on 29 April, by all accounts he handled his first military experience calmly and with dignity. Around the same time, the Imperial Family was fleeing revolutionary Vienna for the setting of Innsbruck. Soon, the Archduke was called back from Italy, joining the rest of his family at Innsbruck by mid-June. It was at Innsbruck at this time that Franz Joseph first met his cousin Elisabeth, his bride, a girl of ten. Following victory over the Italians at Custoza in late July, the court felt safe to return to Vienna, but within a few months Vienna again appeared unsafe, and in September the court left again, this time for Olomouc in Moravia. By now, Prince Alfred I of Windisch-Grätz, the military commander in Bohemia, was determined to see the young Archduke soon put on the throne. By the abdication of his uncle Ferdinand and the renunciation of his father, at this time he first became known by his second as well as his first Christian name
Paul von Hindenburg
Hindenburg retired from the army for the first time in 1911, but was recalled shortly after the outbreak of World War I in 1914. He first came to attention at the age of 66 as the victor of the decisive Battle of Tannenberg in August 1914. As Germanys Chief of the General Staff from August 1916, Hindenburgs reputation rose greatly in German public esteem. He and his deputy Erich Ludendorff led Germany in a de facto military dictatorship throughout the remainder of the war, in line with Lebensraum ideology, he advocated sweeping annexations of territories in Poland and Russia in order to resettle Germans there. Hindenburg retired again in 1919, but returned to life in 1925 to be elected the second President of Germany. In 1932, Hindenburg was persuaded to run for re-election as German president, although 84 years old and in poor health, Hindenburg was re-elected in a runoff. He was opposed to Hitler and was a player in the increasing political instability in the Weimar Republic that ended with Hitlers rise to power.
He dissolved the Reichstag twice in 1932 and finally, under pressure, in February, he signed off on the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended various civil liberties, and in March he signed the Enabling Act of 1933, which gave Hitlers regime arbitrary powers. Hindenburg died the year, after which Hitler declared the office of President vacant. Hindenburg was embarrassed by his mothers non-aristocratic background and hardly mentioned her at all in his memoirs and his paternal lineage was considered highly distinguished, in fact, he was descended from one of the most respected ancient noble families in Prussia. His paternal grandfather was Otto Ludwig von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, Hindenburg was a descendant of Martin Luther and his wife Katharina von Bora through their daughter Margareta Luther. Hindenburgs younger brothers and sister were Otto and Bernhard, Hindenburg was proud that one of his ancestors, Colonel Otto Frederich von Hindenburg had lost a leg at the Battle of Torgau in 1760 and had been awarded an estate at Neudeck by Frederich the Great.
Hindenburg received a typical Junker upbringing, being taught the virtues of duty, obedience to authority and loyalty to Prussia, Hindenburgs governess was known to shout Quiet in the ranks. Before entering the Prussian Cadet Corps in 1859, the 12-year old Hindenburg soberly wrote up his last will and testament in case he should die, Hindenburgs favorite reading materials were war and adventure stories with The Pathfinder by James Fenimore Cooper being his favorite. As a cadet, Hindenburg was admired for his commitment to duty, obsession with details, however, he was considered of mediocre intelligence and utterly lacking in a sense of humor, a dedicated if somewhat dull cadet. After his education at schools in Berlin and Wahlstatt, Hindenburg was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1866. He fought in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–1871, during the Seven Weeks War of 1866, Hindenburg wrote his parents, I rejoice in this bright-colored future. For the soldier war is the state of things…If I fall, it is the most honorable
Weimar Republic is an unofficial, historical designation for the German state between 1919 and 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place, the official name of the state was still Deutsches Reich, it had remained unchanged since 1871. In English the country was known simply as Germany. A national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the Deutsches Reich was written, in its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, and contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War. The people of Germany blamed the Weimar Republic rather than their leaders for the countrys defeat. However, the Weimar Republic government successfully reformed the currency, unified tax policies, Weimar Germany eliminated most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles, it never completely met its disarmament requirements, and eventually paid only a small portion of the war reparations.
Under the Locarno Treaties, Germany accepted the borders of the republic. From 1930 onwards President Hindenburg used emergency powers to back Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen, the Great Depression, exacerbated by Brünings policy of deflation, led to a surge in unemployment. In 1933, Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor with the Nazi Party being part of a coalition government, the Nazis held two out of the remaining ten cabinet seats. Von Papen as Vice Chancellor was intended to be the éminence grise who would keep Hitler under control, within months the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933 had brought about a state of emergency, it wiped out constitutional governance and civil liberties. Hitlers seizure of power was permissive of government by decree without legislative participation and these events brought the republic to an end, as democracy collapsed, a single-party state founded the Nazi era. The Weimar Republic is so called because the assembly that adopted its constitution met at Weimar, Germany from 6 February 1919 to 11 August 1919, but this name only became mainstream after 1933.
To the right of the spectrum the politically engaged rejected the new democratic model, the Catholic Centre party, Zentrum favoured the term Deutscher Volksstaat while on the moderate left the Chancellors SPD preferred Deutsche Republik. Only during the 1930s did the term become mainstream, both within and outside Germany, after the introduction of the republic, the flag and coat of arms of Germany were officially altered to reflect the political changes. The Weimar Republic retained the Reichsadler, but without the symbols of the former Monarchy and this left the black eagle with one head, facing to the right, with open wings but closed feathers, with a red beak and claws and white highlighting. If the Reichs Eagle is shown without a frame, the charge and colors as those of the eagle of the Reichs coat of arms are to be used. The patterns kept by the Federal Ministry of the Interior are decisive for the heraldic design, the artistic design may be varied for each special purpose. The achievements and signs of movement were mostly done away with after its downfall
The Vistula is the longest and largest river in Poland, at 1,047 kilometres in length. The drainage basin area of the Vistula is 194,424 km2, the remainder is in Belarus and Slovakia. The Vistula rises at Barania Góra in the south of Poland,1,220 meters above sea level in the Silesian Beskids, where it begins with the White Little Vistula and the Black Little Vistula. It empties into the Vistula Lagoon or directly into the Gdańsk Bay of the Baltic Sea with a delta, the name was first recorded by Pomponius Mela in AD40 and by Pliny in AD77 in his Natural History. Mela names the river Vistula, Pliny uses Vistla, the root of the name Vistula is Indo-European *u̯eis- to ooze, flow slowly and is found in many European rivernames. The diminutive endings -ila, -ula, were used in many Indo-European languages, in writing about the Vistula River and its peoples, Ptolemy uses the Greek spelling Ouistoula. Other ancient sources spell it Istula, ammianus Marcellinus refers to the Bisula, note the absence of the -t-.
Jordanes uses Viscla, while the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith refers to it as the Wistla, the Vistula river basin covers 194,424 square kilometres, its average altitude rising to 270 metres above sea level. In addition, the majority of its basin is located at heights of 100 to 200 m above sea level. The highest point of the basin lies at 2,655 metres. The asymmetry of the basin is 73–27%. The most recent glaciation of the Pleistocene epoch, which ended around 10,000 BC, is called the Vistulian glaciation or Weichselian glaciation in regard to north-central Europe. The river forms a delta called the Żuławy Wiślane around the town of Biała Góra near Sztum, about 50 km from the mouth. In the city of Gdańsk the Head of the Leniwka branch separates again into the Szkarpawa branch, the so-called Dead Wisła divides again into the Przegalinie branch flowing into Gdańsk Bay. Until the 14th century the Vistula was divided into an eastern branch, the Elbląg Vistula, and the smaller western branch. Since 1371 the Vistula of Gdańsk is the main artery.
After the flood in 1840 an additional branch formed called the Śmiała Wisła, in 1890 through 1895, additional waterworks were carried out up the Świbna. The history of the River Vistula and her valley spans over 2 million years, the river is connected to the geological period called the Quaternary, in which distinct cooling of the climate took place
German Army (German Empire)
The Imperial German Army was the name given to the combined land and air forces of the German Empire. The term Deutsches Heer is used for the modern German Army, the German Army was formed after the unification of Germany under Prussian leadership in 1871 and dissolved in 1919, after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I. When operating together, the units were known as the Federal Army, Prussia formed the North German Confederation and the treaty provided for the maintenance of a Federal Army and a Federal Navy. Further laws on military duty used these terms, through these conventions and the 1871 Constitution of the German Empire, an Army of the Realm was created. The contingents of the Bavarian, Saxon and Württemberg kingdoms remained semi-autonomous, the Constitution of the German Empire, dated April 16,1871, changed references in the North German Constitution from Federal Army to either Army of the Realm or German Army. After 1871, the armies of the four kingdoms remained relatively distinct.
German Army was used in legal documents, such as the Military Penal Code. Württemberg and Saxon units were numbered according to the Prussian system, the commander of the Imperial German Army, less the Bavarian contingent, was the Kaiser. He was assisted by a Military Cabinet and exercised control through the Prussian Ministry of War, the Chief of the General Staff became the Kaisers main military advisor and the most powerful military figure in the Empire. Bavaria kept its own Ministry of War and General Staff, saxony maintained its own Ministry of War and the Ministry of War of Württemberg continued to exist. Command of the Prussian Army had been reformed in the wake of the defeats suffered by Prussia in the Napoleonic Wars, the General Staff system, that sought to institutionalize military excellence, was the main result. It provided planning and organizational work during peacetime and wartime, the Prussian General Staff, proven in battle in the Wars of Unification, became the German General Staff upon formation of the German Empire, given Prussias leading role in the German Army.
During wartime, the staff of the Army inspectorates formed field army commands, during World War I, a higher command level, the army group, was created. Each army group controlled several field armies, Germany was divided into army inspectorates, each of which oversaw three or four corps. There were five in 1871, with three more added between 1907 and 1913, the corps consisted of two or more divisions and various support troops, covering a geographical area. The corps was responsible for maintaining the reserves and Landwehr in the corps area. By 1914, there were 21 corps areas under Prussian jurisdiction, besides the regional corps, there was a Guard Corps, which controlled the elite Prussian Guard units. A corps usually included an infantry battalion, a heavy artillery battalion, an engineer battalion, a telegraph battalion
Olsztyn is a city on the Łyna River in northeastern Poland. Olsztyn is the capital of the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, and is a city with powiat rights, founded in the 14th century, Olsztyn was under the control and influence of the Teutonic Order until 1466, when it was incorporated into the Polish Crown. For centuries the city was an important centre of trade, science, at the time Olsztyn was inhabited by ethnic Masovians and was predominantly Roman Catholic. Following the First Partition of Poland in 1772 Warmia was annexed by Prussia, Olsztyn entered a period of economic stagnation and decline, devastated by a series of wars as well as plagues which depopulated the city almost completely. After the partition Olsztyn ceased to be the property of the clergy and was in the hands of the Prussian king, in the 19th century the city changed its status completely, becoming the most prominent economic hub of the southern part of Eastern Prussia. The construction of a railway and industrialization greatly contributed to Olsztyns significance, the city remained part of Germany under the name Allenstein until 1945 when it was captured by the Red Army and handed over to the Polish authorities.
As a result of the devastation caused by the Soviets during the final stages of World War II. After the war Olsztyn rapidly recovered and grew to be one of the most important centres of commerce in the country, since 1999 Olsztyn is the capital city of the Warmia-Masuria. In the same year, the University of Warmia and Masuria was founded from the fusion of three local universities. Today, the Castle of Warmian Bishops houses a museum and is a venue for concerts, art exhibitions, film shows and other cultural events, the most important sights of the city include the medieval Old Town and the Olsztyn Cathedral, which dates back more than 600 years. The picturesque market square is part of the European Route of Brick Gothic, for a number of years, has been ranked very highly in quality of life, income and safety. It currently is one of the best places in Poland to live and it is one of the happiest cities in the country. In 1346, the forest was cleared at a location on the Alle River for a new settlement in Prussian Warmia, the following year, Teutonic Knights began the construction of an Ordensburg castle as a stronghold against the Old Prussians.
The German name Allenstein refers to a stronghold on the Alle River – which became known in Polish transliteration as Olsztyn, Allenstein received municipal rights in October 1353, and the castle was completed in 1397. Allenstein joined the Prussian Confederation in 1440 and rebelled against the Teutonic Knights in 1454 upon the outbreak of the Thirteen Years War, although the Teutonic Knights recaptured the town the following year, it was retaken by Polish troops in 1463. The Second Peace of Thorn in 1466 designated Allenstein and the Prince-Bishopric of Warmia as part of Royal Prussia under the sovereignty of the Polish Crown, from 1516 to 1521, Nicolaus Copernicus lived at the castle as administrator of both Allenstein and Mehlsack. Copernicus was in charge of the Siege of Allenstein and Warmia during the Polish-Teutonic War of 1519–21, Allenstein was sacked by Swedish troops in both 1655 and 1708 during the Polish-Swedish wars, and the towns population was nearly wiped out in 1710 by epidemics of bubonic plague and cholera.
The town became part of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1772 after the First Partition of Poland, a Prussian census recorded a population of 1,770 people, predominantly farmers, and Allenstein was administered within the Province of East Prussia
Charles I of Austria
Charles I was the last ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was the last Emperor of Austria, the last King of Hungary, and he spent the remaining years of his life attempting to restore the monarchy until his death in 1922. Following his beatification by the Catholic Church in 2004, he has become known as Blessed Charles of Austria. Charles was born 17 August 1887 in the Castle of Persenbeug in Lower Austria and his parents were Archduke Otto Franz of Austria and Princess Maria Josepha of Saxony. At the time, his granduncle Franz Joseph reigned as Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, as a child, Archduke Charles was reared a devout Roman Catholic. He spent his early years wherever his fathers regiment happened to be stationed, on he lived in Vienna and he was privately educated, contrary to the custom ruling in the imperial family, he attended a public gymnasium for the sake of demonstrations in scientific subjects. In 1907, he was declared of age and Prince Zdenko Lobkowitz was appointed his chamberlain, in the next few years he carried out his military duties in various Bohemian garrison towns.
In 1911, Charles married Princess Zita of Bourbon-Parma and they had met as children but did not see one another for almost ten years, as each pursued their education. In 1909, his Dragoon regiment was stationed at Brandýs nad Labem in Bohemia and it was during one of these visits that Charles and Zita became reacquainted. Due to Franz Ferdinands morganatic marriage in 1900, his children were excluded from the succession, as a result, the Emperor severely pressured Charles to marry. Zita not only shared Charles devout Catholicism, but a royal lineage. Zita recalled, Charles became heir presumptive after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in 1914, only at this time did the old Emperor take steps to initiate the heir-presumptive to his crown in affairs of state. But the outbreak of World War I interfered with this political education, Charles spent his time during the first phase of the war at headquarters at Teschen, but exercised no military influence. Charles became a Feldmarschall in the Austro-Hungarian Army, in the spring of 1916, in connection with the offensive against Italy, he was entrusted with the command of the XX.
Corps, whose affections the heir-presumptive to the throne won by his affability, the offensive, after a successful start, soon came to a standstill. Shortly afterwards, Charles went to the front as commander of an army operating against the Russians and Romanians. Charles succeeded to the thrones in November 1916, after the death of his grand-uncle, on 2 December 1916, he assumed the title of Supreme Commander of the whole army from Archduke Friedrich. His coronation as King of Hungary occurred on 30 December, in 1917, Charles secretly entered into peace negotiations with France