Lower Franconia is one of seven districts of Bavaria, Germany. The districts of Lower and Upper Franconia make up the region of Franconia. After the founding of the Kingdom of Bavaria the state was reorganised and, in 1808, divided into 15 administrative government regions, in Bavaria called Kreise, they were created in the fashion of the French departements, quite in size and population, named after their main rivers. In the following years, due to territorial changes, the number of Kreise was reduced to 8. One of these was the Untermainkreis. In 1837 king Ludwig I of Bavaria renamed the Kreise after historical territorial names and tribes of the area; this involved some border changes or territorial swaps. Thus the name Untermainkreis changed to Lower Franconia and Aschaffenburg, but the city name was soon dropped, leaving just Lower Franconia. In 1933, the regional Nazi Gauleiter Otto Hellmuth insisted on renaming the district Mainfranken, but after 1945 the name Unterfranken was resurrected.
The municipal reform of June 1972 consolidated the 22 country districts of Lower Franconia into nine. Unterfranken is the north-west part of Franconia and consists of three district-free cities and nine country districts; the major portion of the Franconian wine region is situated in Lower Franconia. The Coat of Arms includes the Arms of Duchy of Franconia in the upper portion, the “Rennfähnlein,” a banner, quarterly argent and gules, on a lance or, in bend, on an azure field, associated with Würzburg in the lower left quadrant, a white/silver wheel on a red field symbolizing the clerical state of Mainz, in the lower right quadrant. Next to the former episcopal residence cities of Würzburg and Aschaffenburg, the towns of Miltenberg and Werneck, the scenic attractions of the River Main including the Mainschleife at Volkach and the low mountain ranges of the Rhön with the spa town Bad Kissingen and of the Spessart with Mespelbrunn Castle belong to the major tourist attractions. Regiomontanus Florian Geyer Tilman Riemenschneider Balthasar Neumann Friedrich Rückert Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Leonhard Frank Carl Diem Dirk Nowitzki Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt Hochschule Aschaffenburg Middle Franconia Upper Franconia Official website Official website in English Official website Flag at Flagspot Unterfranken 1910 Statistics
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
World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II. The operation was launched on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings. A 1,200-plane airborne assault preceded an amphibious assault involving more than 5,000 vessels. Nearly 160,000 troops crossed the English Channel on 6 June, more than two million Allied troops were in France by the end of August; the decision to undertake a cross-channel invasion in 1944 was taken at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force, General Bernard Montgomery was named as commander of the 21st Army Group, which comprised all the land forces involved in the invasion; the coast of Normandy of northwestern France was chosen as the site of the invasion, with the Americans assigned to land at sectors codenamed Utah and Omaha, the British at Sword and Gold, the Canadians at Juno.
To meet the conditions expected on the Normandy beachhead, special technology was developed, including two artificial ports called Mulberry harbours and an array of specialised tanks nicknamed Hobart's Funnies. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted a substantial military deception, Operation Bodyguard, using both electronic and visual misinformation; this misled the Germans as to the location of the main Allied landings. Führer Adolf Hitler placed German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in charge of developing fortifications all along Hitler's proclaimed Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an invasion; the Allies failed to accomplish their objectives for the first day, but gained a tenuous foothold that they expanded when they captured the port at Cherbourg on 26 June and the city of Caen on 21 July. A failed counterattack by German forces on 8 August left 50,000 soldiers of the 7th Army trapped in the Falaise pocket; the Allies launched a second invasion from the Mediterranean Sea of southern France on 15 August, the Liberation of Paris followed on 25 August.
German forces retreated east across the Seine on 30 August 1944, marking the close of Operation Overlord. In June 1940, Germany's leader Adolf Hitler had triumphed in what he called "the most famous victory in history"—the fall of France. British craft evacuated to England over 338,000 Allied troops trapped along the northern coast of France in the Dunkirk evacuation. British planners reported to Prime Minister Winston Churchill on 4 October that with the help of other Commonwealth countries and the United States, it would not be possible to regain a foothold in continental Europe in the near future. After the Axis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin began pressing for a second front in Western Europe. Churchill declined because he felt that with American help the British did not have adequate forces for such a strike, he wished to avoid costly frontal assaults such as those that had occurred at the Somme and Passchendaele in World War I. Two tentative plans code-named Operation Roundup and Operation Sledgehammer were put forward for 1942–43, but neither was deemed by the British to be practical or to succeed.
Instead, the Allies expanded their activity in the Mediterranean, launching the invasion of French North Africa in November 1942, the invasion of Sicily in July 1943, invading Italy in September. These campaigns provided the troops with valuable experience in amphibious warfare. Attendees at the Trident Conference in Washington in May 1943 took the decision to launch a cross-Channel invasion within the next year. Churchill favoured making the main Allied thrust into Germany from the Mediterranean theatre, but his American allies, who were providing the bulk of the men and equipment, over-ruled him. British Lieutenant-General Frederick E. Morgan was appointed Chief of Staff, Supreme Allied Commander, to begin detailed planning; the initial plans were constrained by the number of available landing-craft, most of which were committed in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific. In part because of lessons learned in the Dieppe Raid of 19 August 1942, the Allies decided not to directly assault a defended French seaport in their first landing.
The failure at Dieppe highlighted the need for adequate artillery and air support close air support, specialised ships able to travel close to shore. The short operating-range of British aircraft such as the Spitfire and Typhoon limited the number of potential landing-sites, as comprehensive air-support depended upon having planes overhead for as long as possible. Morgan considered four sites for the landings: Brittany, the Cotentin Peninsula and the Pas de Calais; as Brittany and Cotentin are peninsulas, the Germans could have cut off the Allied advance at a narrow isthmus, so these sites were rejected. Pas de Calais, the closest point in continental Europe to Britain, was the location of launch sites for V-1 and V-2 rockets still under development; the Germans regarded it as the most initial landing zone, accordingly made it the most fortified region. It offered the Allies few opportunities for expansion, however, as the area is bounded by numerous rivers and canals, whereas landings on a broad front in Normandy would permit simultaneous threats against the port of Cherbourg, coastal ports further west in Brittany, an overland attack towards Paris and into Germany.
Normandy was therefore chosen as the landing site. The most serious drawback of the Normandy coast—the lack of
German Army (1935–1945)
The German Army was the land forces component of the Wehrmacht, the regular German Armed Forces, from 1935 until it was demobilized and dissolved in August 1946. During World War II, a total of about 13 million soldiers served in the German Army. Germany's army personnel were made up of conscripts. Only 17 months after Adolf Hitler announced publicly the rearmament program, the Army reached its projected goal of 36 divisions. During the autumn of 1937 two more corps were formed. In 1938 four additional corps were formed with the inclusion of the five divisions of the Austrian Army after the Anschluss in March. During the period of its expansion under Hitler, the German Army continued to develop concepts pioneered during World War I, combining ground and air assets into combined arms forces. Coupled with operational and tactical methods such as encirclements and the "battle of annihilation", the German military managed quick victories in the two initial years of World War II, a new style of warfare described as Blitzkrieg for its speed and destructive power.
The infantry remained foot soldiers throughout the war. The motorized formations received much attention in the world press in the opening years of the war, were cited as the main reason for the success of the German invasions of Poland and Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands, Yugoslavia and the initial stages of Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union; however their motorized and tank formations accounted for only 20% of the Heer's capacity at their peak strength. The army's lack of trucks limited infantry movement during and after the Normandy invasion when Allied air-power devastated the French rail network north of the Loire. Panzer movements depended on rail, since driving a tank long distances wore out its tracks; the Oberkommando des Heeres was Germany's Army High Command from 1936 to 1945. In theory the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht served as the military General Staff for the German Reich's armed forces, coordinating the Wehrmacht operations. In practice OKW acted in a subordinate role as Hitler's personal military staff, translating his ideas into military plans and orders, issuing them to the three services.
However, as the war progressed the OKW found itself exercising increasing amounts of direct command authority over military units in the west. This created a situation where by 1943 the OKW was the de facto command of Western Theatre forces while the Army High Command was the same on the Eastern Front; the Abwehr was the Army intelligence organization from 1921 to 1944. The term Abwehr had been created just after World War I as an ostensible concession to Allied demands that Germany's intelligence activities be for defensive purposes only. After 4 February 1938, the Abwehr's name was changed to the Overseas Department/Office in Defence of the Armed Forces High Command. Nazi Germany used the system of military districts to relieve field commanders of as much administrative work as possible, to provide a regular flow of trained recruits and supplies to the field forces; the method OKW adopted was to separate the Field Army from the Home Command, to entrust the responsibilities of training, conscription and equipment to Home Command.
The German Army was structured in Army groups consisting of several armies that were relocated, restructured or renamed in the course of the war. Forces or allied states as well as units made up of non-Germans were assigned to German units. For Operation Barbarossa in 1941, the Army forces were assigned to three strategic campaign groupings: Army Group North with Leningrad as its campaign objective Army Group Centre with Smolensk as its campaign objective Army Group South with Kiev as its campaign objectiveBelow the army group level forces included Field armies –, panzer groups, which became army level formations themselves and divisions; the army used the German term Kampfgruppe which equates to the English'combat group' or battle group. These provisional combat groupings ranged from an Army Corps size such as Army Detachment Kempf to commands composed of several companies and platoons, they were named for their commanding officers. German operational doctrine emphasized sweeping pincer and lateral movements meant to destroy the enemy forces as as possible.
This approach, referred to as Blitzkrieg, was an operational doctrine instrumental in the success of the offensives in Poland and France. Blitzkrieg has been considered by many historians as having its roots in precepts developed by Fuller, Liddel-Hart and von Seeckt, having ancient prototypes practiced by Alexander, Genghis Khan and Napoleon. Recent studies of the Battle of France suggest that the actions of either Rommel or Guderian or both of them, ignoring orders of superiors who had never foreseen such spectacular successes and thus prepared much more prudent plans, were conflated into a purposeful doctrine and created the first archetype of blitzkrieg, which gained a fearsome reputati
Hammelburg is a town in the district of Bad Kissingen, in Lower Franconia, Germany. It lies on the river Franconian Saale, 25 km west of Schweinfurt. Hammelburg is the oldest winegrowing town in Franconia; the Nazi Party placed Hammelburg in Gau Mainfranken. During World War II, Hammelburg was the site of the POW Camps OFLAG XIII-B and Stalag XIII-C, as well as the attempted rescue of POWs from these camps by Task Force Baum in 1945. Lt. Donald Prell of the 106th Infantry Division was one of the POWs liberated by the Task Force; the American television sitcom Hogan's Heroes, featured a fictional Luft-Stalag 13, said to be near Hammelburg — the German Wehrmacht Heer-operated Stalag XIII-C POW camp was located in Hammelburg during World War II. The modern German Army's Infantry School is located in this town; the name Hammelburg is documented for the first time on 18 April 716 as Hamulo Castellum. At this time, the fortress in ducal possession was favorable to traffic because of the intersection of east-west and north-south export/import and traffic routes.
As a Franconian possession in the year 777, Charlemagne donated Hammelburg with its entire municipal area to the charity of Saint Boniface. Saint Martin's Church had been bequeathed in 741 by Carloman to the Bishopric of Würzburg, into lawful ownership of Fulda monastery. Hammelburg, because of its location at a ford on the Franconian Saale, was of strategic importance. Directly above the river bank, the Franconian royal court was developed over the hall bank. In the 12th century, Fulda built on the heights over on the Saale's left bank the castle of Saaleck for Hammelburg's protection, which served for control of the Trimburg established by the Hennebergs. In 1234, Würzburg succeeded in appropriating the Trimburg from the Hennebergs. Fulda answered this by moving closer to the old opponent with the attachment of Hammelburg and to the stronger development of Saaleck Castle. In the year 1303, under King Albrecht, municipal rights were granted Hammelburg; the old attachment plant, whose walls and ditches surrounded the city, had three gate towers and eleven military towers.
From this time still exists the Guardian and Baderturm, a part of the southern city wall and the Schlossweiher received. The Hammelburger citizens had begun by self-initiative in 1302 with the building of a church; this church of Maria at the cattle market became a symbol of civil self-sufficiency. The building of the parish church pc. Johannes in the old castle district the Hammelburger left to the national gentlemen; the Marienkirche fell victim to a fire in 1854, a fire which destroyed several other parts of the city. Today the gothic parish church is an object of historical interest. Despite the support of Fulda and Würzburg, Hammelburg converted early to the Lutheran faith and only by force did the city return to Catholicism in 1604. 120 Protestant Hammelburger families left their hometown in this year because of it. A few years a furious epidemic cost the city more of its citizens; because of the heavy losses of these years the city did not recover until the 18th century. From this blooming time of the 16th century, came the city hall, a new building made in the Renaissance style, from the architect Johannes Schöner, where the first council meeting was held therein.
Only the lateral stair tower and the city hall cellar remains today. The current city hall, built after the fire in the gothic style, was occupied on December 12, 1859; the Renaissance market well, completed in 1541, is a work of the master builder Schöner. Until 1803, Hammelburg belonged to Fulda. In the course of the German mediatisation it passed to the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda from 1803 until 1806. Under Napoleon's brother-in-law, Marshal Murat, the city was under French administration. In 1810, it was assigned to the new Grand Duchy of Frankfurt. After a short Austrian affiliation, the city was integrated in 1816 into the Kingdom of Bavaria. In the years after the Second World War the total population of the city was increased by refugees from both Eastern Europe and Eastern Germany and starting from 1956 by the German Federal Armed Forces reorganization. In those years, the edge municipalities saw a large increase in their population; the local reorganisation let the number of inhabitants rise in Hammelburg again.
The former municipalities Westheim, Untererthal, Feuerthal, Obereschenbach with Untereschenbach and Gauaschach attached themselves to the city of Hammelburg, which thus counts 12,500 inhabitants. The oldest Franconian wine city can be reached favorably by the motorway and has a rich variety of attractions. There are several numerous and very well received architectural monuments, cosy restaurants and hotels; the sports center contains outdoor and indoor swimming pools, indoor tennis courts, large-sport-resounds, a soccer stadium, the special landing area for aircraft, recreation sites and good hiking possibilities in variety landscapes of Südrhön and Saaletal-valley inviting tourists to stay. Its proximity to the Autobahn A7 make Hammelburg not only interesting but as a strategic economic place. Official website Oldest Weinstadt in Franconia Actual photographic footage of the liberation of the POW Camp in 1944: http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675071587_prisoners-of-war_M-4-tank_American-soldiers_prisoners-wave