Kingdom of Prussia
It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern. Prussia was a power from the time it became a kingdom, through its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia. Prussia continued its rise to power under the guidance of Frederick II, more known as Frederick the Great. After the might of Prussia was revealed it was considered as a power among the German states. Throughout the next hundred years Prussia went on to win many battles and it was because of its power that Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states under its rule. Attempts at creation of a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful states and Austria. The North German Confederation which lasted from 1867–1871, created a union between the Prussian-aligned states while Austria and most of Southern Germany remained independent.
The North German Confederation was seen as more of an alliance of military strength in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War, the German Empire lasted from 1871–1918 with the successful unification of all the German states under Prussian hegemony. This was due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, in 1871, Germany unified into a single country, minus Austria and Switzerland, with Prussia the dominant power. Prussia is considered the predecessor of the unified German Reich. The Kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, in 1415 a Hohenzollern Burgrave came from the south to the March of Brandenburg and took control of the area as elector. In 1417 the Hohenzollern was made an elector of the Holy Roman Empire, after the Polish wars, the newly established Baltic towns of the German states including Prussia, suffered many economic setbacks. Many of the Prussian towns could not even afford to attend political meetings outside of Prussia, the towns were poverty stricken, with even the largest town, having to borrow money from elsewhere to pay for trade.
Poverty in these towns was partly caused by Prussias neighbors, who had established and developed such a monopoly on trading that these new towns simply could not compete and these issues led to feuds, trade competition and invasions. However, the fall of these gave rise to the nobility, separated the east and the west. It was clear in 1440 how different Brandenburg was from the other German territories, not only did it face partition from within but the threat of its neighbors. It prevented the issue of partition by enacting the Dispositio Achillea which instilled the principle of primogeniture to both the Brandenburg and Franconian territories, the second issue was solved through expansion
Jerusalem Cross (Prussia)
The Jerusalem Cross or Jerusalem Memorial Cross was a decoration of Prussia established 31 October 1898. The cross was awarded to those who traveled with Emperor Wilhelm II on his 1898 visit to Palestine and attended the inauguration of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, the Jerusalem Cross is made in the shape of the Jerusalem cross. The cross consists of a large cross portent with four plain crosslets between the arms, the crosses are red enameled with silver-gilt borders. In the center of the cross is a gold colored medallion. The obverse side, the medallion depicts the Imperial Crown of the Prussian German Emperor surmounting the letters IR over the royal cypher of a stylized W II, the reverse of the medallion bears the date 31 October 1898. This date is depicted using a large Roman numeral X in the center for October, to the left is MDCCC and to the right side IIC for the year 1898
House Order of Hohenzollern
The House Order of Hohenzollern was a dynastic order of knighthood of the House of Hohenzollern awarded to military commissioned officers and civilians of comparable status. Associated with the versions of the order were crosses and medals which could be awarded to lower-ranking soldiers. The House Order of Hohenzollern was instituted on December 5,1841 by joint decree of Prince Konstantin of Hohenzollern-Hechingen and these two principalities in southern Germany were Catholic collateral lines of the House of Hohenzollern, cousins to the Protestant ruling house of Prussia. On August 23,1851, after the two principalities had been annexed by Prussia, the order was adopted by the Prussian branch of the house. Also, although the two principalities had become a region of the Prussian kingdom, the princely lines continued to award the order as a house order. The Prussian version was known as the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern. The Princely House Order continued to be awarded, after the fall of the German Monarchy, Prince Karl Antons second son, Karl Eitel Friedrich of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, had become prince and king of Romania as Carol I.
Carol I had died childless and was succeeded by his nephew Ferdinand I and this form of the order existed until the Romanian monarchy was abolished in 1947, King Michael awarded a slightly altered order in exile. The Royal House Order of Hohenzollern came in the classes, Grand Commander Commander Knight Member Member was a lesser class for soldiers who were not officers. The Members Cross, especially swords, was a rare distinction for non-commissioned officers. Another decoration, the Members Eagle was often given as an award to lesser officials such as schoolteachers. The Eagles were solely civilian awards, and could not be awarded with swords, all other grades could be awarded with swords. When awarded with swords it was worn on the ribbon of the Iron Cross, all grades could be awarded with swords. During World War I, the grade of the Princely House Order was often awarded to officers. 40, a regiment raised in the principalities of Hohenzollern. Soldier in the regiments sister reserve and Landwehr regiments received the decoration.
Unlike the Royal House Order, awards of the Princely House Order were made on the ribbon of the order regardless of whether they were with or without swords. As with the Prussian and Hohenzollern versions, crossed swords could be used to indicate a wartime or combat award, the badge of the House Order of Hohenzollern was a cross pattée with convex edges and curved arms
Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1805 as Maximilian I Joseph, the crown would go on being held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom came to an end in 1918. Since the end of the kingdom and the empire in 1918, on 30 December 1777, the Bavarian line of the Wittelsbachs became extinct, and the succession on the Electorate of Bavaria passed to Charles Theodore, the Elector Palatine. After a separation of four and a half centuries, the Palatinate, to which the duchies of Jülich, between the French and the Austrians, Bavaria was now in a bad situation. Before the death of Charles Theodore the Austrians had again occupied the country, Maximilian IV Joseph, the new elector, succeeded to a difficult inheritance. By the Treaty of Lunéville Bavaria lost the Palatinate and the duchies of Zweibrücken, the 1805 Peace of Pressburg allowed Maximilian to raise Bavaria to the status of a kingdom.
Accordingly, Maximilian proclaimed himself king on 1 January 1806, the King still served as an Elector until Bavaria seceded from the Holy Roman Empire on 1 August 1806. The Duchy of Berg was ceded to Napoleon only in 1806, the new kingdom faced challenges from the outset of its creation, relying on the support of Napoleonic France. The kingdom faced war with Austria in 1808 and from 1810 to 1814, lost territory to Württemberg, Italy, in 1808, all relics of serfdom were abolished, which had left the old empire. In the same year, Maximilian promulgated Bavarias first written constitution, over the next five years, it was amended numerous times in accordance with Paris wishes. During the French invasion of Russia in 1812 about 30,000 Bavarian soldiers were killed in action, on 14 October, Bavaria made a formal declaration of war against Napoleonic France. The treaty was passionately backed by the Crown Prince Ludwig and by Marshal von Wrede, finally in 1816, the Rhenish Palatinate was taken from France in exchange for most of Salzburg which was ceded to Austria.
It was the second largest and second most powerful state south of the Main, in Germany as a whole, it ranked third behind Prussia and Austria. On 1 February 1817, Montgelas had been dismissed, and Bavaria had entered on a new era of constitutional reform, on 26 May 1818, Bavarias second constitution was proclaimed. The Landtag would have two houses, a house comprising the aristocracy and noblemen, including the high-class hereditary landowners, government officials. The second house, a house, would include representatives of small landowners, the towns. The rights of Protestants were safeguarded in the constitution with articles supporting the equality of all religions, the initial constitution almost proved disastrous for the monarchy, with controversies such as the army having to swear allegiance to the new constitution. Within the Kingdom of Bavaria, the Palatinate enjoyed a legal and administrative position
Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg)
The Order is led by its thirty-seventh Herrenmeister, Prince Oskar of Prussia. Each of its knights, about four thousand men worldwide, is either a Knight of Justice or a Knight of Honor, although membership no longer is limited to the nobility, as it was until 1948, the majority of knights still are drawn from this class. The Order comprises seventeen commanderies in Germany, one each in Austria, France and Switzerland, with the Roman Catholic Sovereign Military Order of Malta, these four Alliance orders represent the legitimate heirs of the Knights Hospitaller. The Order and its orders in the Netherlands and Sweden. The SMOM, headquartered in Rome, admits only men and women of the Roman Catholic faith, in time, these landholdings were gathered into regional administrative divisions known as commanderies, each headed by a senior knight, or knight commander of the Order. The first commandery in the Germanies was founded in the mid-twelfth century, though separated from the Roman Catholic main stem of the Order of Saint John, the Bailiwick of Brandenburg continued to flourish.
Admitting only noblemen, principally from the Germanies, the Bailiwick maintained hospitals and other institutions to care for the poor, the sick, and the injured. The horrific Thirty Years War devastated the Bailiwick, resulting in the deaths of many knights and he established a similarly named order of merit, the Royal Prussian Order of Saint John, in its stead. He announced his election to the head of the Order of Malta, during the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the Order created and supported more and more charitable activities. It now owns and operates numerous hospitals, ambulance services, old-age homes, after World War II, with the Neumark given by the victorious Allies to Poland, the Order moved its headquarters to Bonn, West Germany. After the reunification of West and East Germany, the headquarters were moved again, more than location of the seat of the Order changed in the aftermath of the Second World War. The Finnish commandery, remains a purely noble society, as do the now independent Swedish, there are three active classes in the Order, Knight of Justice, and Knight of Honor.
These services are similar to the St. John Ambulance in many Commonwealth nations, all are carried out under the auspices of the Christian faith. Additionally, spiritual retreats and other activities of the Order concentrate on the spiritual formation, the cloak of the Order is plain black with a large, linen eight-pointed cross on the left breast. For most knights, the cloak is black woollen with a plain lining, the cloaks of most knights are closed only at the neck, but the Herrenmeister, Honorary Commanders, and Knights of Justice wear a long black cord called a cingulum. The insignia, known as crosses of honor, are no longer bestowed by the Order automatically, Knights of Honor now must have rendered five years of service to the Order before a cross of honor is granted. Promotion to Knight of Justice requires at least seven years of distinguished service, the basic insignia of the Order is a white-enamelled Maltese cross. Each cross is worn from a black-moire,4. 5-centimeter-wide ribbon worn about the neck, all members of the Order may wear a plain, Maltese cross as a star or breast badge
The Alsen Cross was a military medal of the Kingdom of Prussia. Established 7 December 1864, the medal commemorates the Prussian victory on 29 June 1864 during the Battle of Alsen, the medal was initially awarded with two different suspension ribbons, for combatants and noncombatants. It was subsequently extended to those held in reserve at the battle
The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s and it stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages and early modern period. Hanse, spelled as Hansa, was the Middle Low German word for a convoy, the League was created to protect the guilds economic interests and diplomatic privileges in their affiliated cities and countries, as well as along the trade routes the merchants visited. The Hanseatic cities had their own system and furnished their own armies for mutual protection. The hegemony of Lübeck peaked during the 15th century, Lübeck became a base for merchants from Saxony and Westphalia trading eastward and northward. This area was a source of timber, amber, the towns raised their own armies, with each guild required to provide levies when needed. The Hanseatic cities came to the aid of one another, and commercial ships often had to be used to carry soldiers, Visby functioned as the leading centre in the Baltic before the Hansa.
Sailing east, Visby merchants established a trading post at Novgorod called Gutagard in 1080, Merchants from northern Germany stayed in the early period of the Gotlander settlement. Later they established their own trading station in Novgorod, known as Peterhof, in 1229, German merchants at Novgorod were granted certain privileges that made their position more secure. Hansa societies worked to remove restrictions to trade for their members, before the official foundation of the League in 1356, the word Hanse did not occur in the Baltic language. The earliest remaining documentary mention, although without a name, of a specific German commercial federation is from London 1157. That year, the merchants of the Hansa in Cologne convinced Henry II, King of England, to them from all tolls in London. The allied cities gained control over most of the trade, especially the Scania Market. In 1266, Henry III of England granted the Lübeck and Hamburg Hansa a charter for operations in England, much of the drive for this co-operation came from the fragmented nature of existing territorial government, which failed to provide security for trade.
Over the next 50 years the Hansa itself emerged with formal agreements for confederation and co-operation covering the west and east trade routes. The principal city and linchpin remained Lübeck, with the first general Diet of the Hansa held there in 1356, other such alliances formed throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Yet the League never became a closely managed formal organisation, over the period, a network of alliances grew to include a flexible roster of 70 to 170 cities. The league succeeded in establishing additional Kontors in Bruges and these trading posts became significant enclaves
Duppel Storm Cross
The Düppel Storm Cross was a military medal of the Kingdom of Prussia. The cross was awarded to Prussian participants in the Battle of Dybbøl which took place on 18 April 1864, established by Wilhelm, King of Prussia on 18 October 1864, the cross was initially awarded to combatants and noncombatants who directly participated in the battle. The following year, versions were created for those held in reserve at the battle. The Düppel Storm Cross was designed by Friedrich Wilhelm Kullrich, a Prussian court medalist and it was the first of three commemorative crosses awarded during the 1860s with similar designs. The medal is in the shape of a cross pattée, visible between the arms of the cross is a laurel wreath. Superimposed in the center of the cross is a round medallion, on the obverse, the medallion bears the left-facing effigy of King Wilhelm I circumscribed are the words WILHELM KOENIG VON PREUSSEN. The medallion on the reverse depicts a crowned Prussian eagle perched upon a Danish cannon.
The top arm of the cross has the word DÜPPEL, the arm of the cross has 18, the right arm has APR. A version for members of the Johanniter Orden was identical in design, the combatants ribbon, was a 32 mm wide blue silk ribbon, in the color of the Prussian Crown Order ribbon. At the edges were a black stripe and white stripe, with a thin white stripe on the outside edge. The non-combatants ribbon was of silk, the edges were thin stripes of white, black. The orange was divided into thirds by two blue stripes. The ribbon for troops held in reserve was blue with white edges. In the center were wide stripes of white and white, the ribbon for Johanniter Orden recipients was suspended from the ribbon of the House Order of Hohenzollern. This ribbon is white, with a central stripe and black stripes near the edge
Order of Merit of the Prussian Crown
The order was presented in one class and consisted of a badge and a breast star. For military merit the award was presented with crossed swords, the order was presented once with diamonds. In each of the compartments between the four arms of the cross is a crown surmounting the royal monogram. The central disc on the obverse of the shows a golden crown with red enamel, surrounded by a blue-enamelled circular band bearing the gold-lettered motto. The disc on the bears the intertwined initials IR W II. The star of the order is a golden eight-pointed star with straight rays, the sash of the order is blue, edged with orange stripes. The medal was awarded only 57 times, general von Gossler was the only person who received the awards in both departments. Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Ordenskunde, München 1997, ISBN 3-00-001396-2, kurt-Gerhard Klietmann, Der Verdienstorden der Preußischen Krone, Mitteilung aus dem Institut für Wissenschaftliche Ordenskunde, Der Herold - Band 12,32
Merit Cross for War Aid
The Merit Cross for War Aid was a war decoration of Prussia awarded during World War I. Instituted 5 December 1916, the cross was awarded for patriotic war aid service, the Merit Cross for War Aid is in the shape of a Maltese cross, typically found made of blackened Kriegsmetall alloy. The obverse of the bears a circular central medallion with the crowned cipher of King Wilhelm II. On the reverse the central medallion is inscribed FÜR KRIEGS-HILFSDIENST above an oak wreath, to the upper arm is attached a loop for suspension from its ribbon