Germann Postcards 1914-1918

( IMPERIAL GERMAN ) Click on the pictures for a close-up

    Generalfeldmarschall v.d. Goltz

At the outbreak of the First World War Generalfeldmarschall v.d. Goltz was recalled to duty and appointed the military governor of Belgium. In that position, he dealt ruthlessly with what remained of Belgian resistance to German occupation, mostly sniper-fire and damaging rail and telegraph lines. As Martin Gilbert notes in The First World War, in early September 1914, the newly appointed Goltz proclaimed: "It is the stern necessity of war that the punishment for hostile acts falls not only on the guilty, but on the innocent as well." On 5 October, he was even clearer when he ordered: "In the future, villages in the vicinity of places where railway and telegraph lines are destroyed will be punished without pity (whether they are guilty or not of the acts in question). With this in view hostages have been taken in all villages near the railway lines which are threatened by such attacks. Upon the first attempt to destroy lines of railway, telegraph or telephone, they will immediately be shot."                                                      (Price:  23 € ) 

 

    (1)              (2)          (3)         Kronprinz Ruppert von Bayern

Rupprecht Von Bayern commanded the German Sixth Army at the outbreak of World War I in Lorraine. While part of the German army was participating in the Schlieffen plan, the Crown Prince led his troops on to the Battle of Lorraine. The appointment to command of the Sixth Army was as a result of his royalty, but the level of study he had performed before he took command was a factor behind his successful direction of the Sixth Army, and he proved to be a highly able commande. Rupprecht's army gave way to the French attack in August 1914, in the Battle of Lorraine, and then launched a counteroffensive on the 20th; Rupprecht failed to break through the French lines. He was later in command of the 6th Army in Northern France and remained on the Western Front during the stalemate that would last until the end of the war.

Rupprecht achieved the rank of field marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) in July 1916 and assumed command of Army Group Rupprecht on 28 August that year, consisting of the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th Army. Rupprecht has been considered by some to be one of the best Royal commanders in the Imperial German Army of World War I, possibly even the only one to deserve his command. Rupprecht came to the conclusion much earlier than most other German generals (towards the end of 1917), that the war could not be won, seeing an ever increasing material advantage of the allies.He also opposed the "scorched earth" policy during withdrawals, but his royal position made a resignation on those grounds impossible for him, even though he threatened it. He eventually resigned from his command on 11 November 1918;He became engaged to the much younger Princess Antoinette of Luxembourg in 1918, but Germany's capitulation delayed their marriage and the engagement was canceled again.                                 ( Price :   1 =  23 €       2 =  23 €       3 =  23 €  ) 

 

    Generaloberst von Kluck

With the outbreak of World War I, Kluck was placed in command of the German First Army. According to the Moltke revisions of the Schlieffen Plan, the First Army was part of the strong right wing and positioned on the outer western edge of the German advance through Belgium and France. This western flank was to advance alongside Karl von Bülow's Second Army to Paris. Upon reaching Paris in concert, the First and Second armies were to threaten Paris from both the west and east.

After fighting the British at Mons and Le Cateau, the First Army pursued Lanrezac's French Fifth Army during the great retreat. However, thirty miles from Paris and anticipating an encounter with the French Fifth Army (commanded by Lanrezac), the cautious von Bulow halted his Second Army's advance and demanded von Kluck's direct support. By this time, the aggressive Kluck had advanced his First Army well south of von Bulow's position to 13 miles north of Paris. On August 30, Kluck decided to wheel his columns to the east of Paris, discarding entirely the Schlieffen Plan. Although frustrated by Bülow's caution, on 31 August Kluck turned his army southeast to support the Second Army. In so doing, Kluck created a 30-mile gap in the German line extending toward Bülow's stalled Second Army. Critically, the move exposed Kluck's right flank in the direction of Paris where (unknown to Kluck) General Michel-Joseph Maunoury's new Sixth Army was being created. The French learned of Kluck's change in course on September 1, when a French patrol captured a German dispatch car, containing a map showing the changed position.The following events were critical to the future course of the war.

Passing to the east of Paris, Kluck exposed his right flank to the new French Sixth Army (General Maunoury). On 5 September, Maunoury attacked Kluck's right flank, marking the opening of the First Battle of the Marne. Kluck parried the blow by borrowing two corps in the space between the First and Second army. A surprise attack on 8 September by Franchet D'Esperey's (who had replaced Lanrezac) Fifth Army against Bülow's Second widened the gap which the British Expeditionary Force marched to exploit. The attack, as Winston Churchill said, "probed its way into the German liver." On 9 September a representative of the German Headquarters, Hentsch, considered the situation of Bülow's Army as very dangerous and ordered a retreat of all the armies, even though by that time von Kluck had overcome most of his own problems, (except presumably, the problem of keeping in contact with his headquarters and letting his chief of Staff, and therefore Hentsch, from knowing how he had solved his problems). The Germans retreated in good order to positions forty miles behind the River Aisne. There, the front would remain for years in the form of entrenched positions as World War I continued.

Kluck and Bülow's lack of coordination and the ensuing failure to maintain an effective offensive line was a primary contribution to the failure of the Schlieffen Plan which was intended to deliver a decisive blow against France. Instead, the long stalemate of trench warfare was ready to begin. The British at the time called him "old one o'clock". Many German experts, however, hold Kluck and especially his Chief of Staff, Kuhl, in the highest esteem. Germany could have won the Battle of the Marne, they think, if only Bülow had matched the courageous initiatives of Kluck's Army, although this doesn't explain the near encirclement of his army.                           (in stock = 2 pieces / Price:  23 € ) 

 

    Karl v. Einem

Karl von Einem,was born in Herzberg on 1 January 1853.Einem served as minister of war from 1903-09, during which time he championed the introduction of the machine gun and emphasised the increasing role of heavy artillery in modern warfare.Einem was appointed General of VII Corps in 1909, and served in this capacity in von Bulow's Second Army until the First Battle of the Marne from the commencement of the war in August 1914.Following the Marne Einem was given command of Third Army, succeeding General Max Klemens von Hausen.  With his front line positioned between Reims and Argonne in Champagne, his forces saw action at both the First and Second Allied Champagne Offensives, and subsequently at all three Battles of the Aisne.Having served the entirety of the war on the Western Front, on 10 November 1918 - the day before the armistice came into effect - Einem was given command of Army Group Crown Prince, formerly commanded by Crown Prince Wilhelm.  He was tasked with the return of the army to Germany for demobilisation.Upon his return to Germany von Einem retired from the army.  Karl von Einem died in Muhlheim on 7 April 1934.                                                                      (Price:  23 € )

 

    Von Bissing

Upon the outbreak of the war, von Bissing was recalled to active duty as deputy commander of the VII Army Corps from August 1914 until November 1914. After the fall of Belgium during the First World War, Bissing was promoted to colonel-general and appointed governor-general of occupied Belgium, serving from December 1914 until his death near Brussels. He signed the warrant for the execution of Edith Cavell.As governor-general von Bissing executed the German Flamenpolitik during which he netherlandized the Ghent University as the first solely Dutch-speaking university. As German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg encouraged Flemish nationalist leaders to declare independence and to integrate into the German sphere, Von Bissing convened a commission to organise the division Belgium, and in a decree issed on 21 March 1917, separated Belgium into two administrative areas: Flanders and Wallonia.Taking into account the 1912 decision by Walloon nationalists to recognize Namur as the most central city of Wallonia, he established the Walloon administration there. Wallonia then consisted of four southern Belgian provinces and one part of the province of Brabant: the district of Nivelles, realizing also another revendication of the Walloon movement: the creation of the Walloon Brabant. The Flemish region had Brussels as its capital, and was made up of the four northern provinces of north, as well as the districts of Brussels and Leuven. This was the first attempt at dividing Belgium along linguistic lines.He is buried at the Invalidenfriedhof.                                                          (Price:  23 €  )     

 

    Generaloberst v. Woyrsch

After he finished high school in Breslau, he joined the 1st Potsdamer Garde-Grenadier Regiment on April 5, 1866. He served at the battle of Königgrätz in 1868. He later fought in the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian war where he was wounded but earned the Iron Cross. In 1901 von Woyrsch was promoted to the divisional commander. Von Woyrsch retired in 1911 but was re-activated in August 1914 and was quickly sent to help the Austro-Hungarian Army fighting in partitioned Poland. He came up to the Vistula, and then reinforced the left wing of the Austro-Hungarian army under General Viktor Dankl von Krasnik. In the three days of battle against the Russian army von Woyrsch covered the retreat of the Austrians with his corps Landwehrkanal. The St. Petersburg newspaper wrote that: "Only the activity of the small Prussian Landwehr troops in this battle prevented the complete destruction of the Austrian army." Later he was included in Hindenburg's 9th army. In July 1915 he was involved in the breakthrough battle of Sienno. In 1916 he helped fight off the Russian army Brusilov Offensive and in 1917 was promoted Generalfeldmarschall.

In 1920 he retired, again, to his family estate at the castle Pilsnitz near Breslau. After his death the famous Silesian sculptor Paul Ondrusch created a wooden sculpture of Remus von Woyrsch to decorate the main hall inside the town hall of Leobschütz. General von Woyrsch was portrayed as a knight wearing a coat and a chain mail, with his hands placed on a handle of a large sword resting against the ground.                                                                            (Price:  20 € )   

 

     (1)               (2)         Reichskanzler Theobald v.Baethmann Hollweg

In foreign policy, he pursued a policy of détente with Britain, hoping to come to some agreement that would put a halt to the two countries' ruinous naval arms race, but failed, largely due to the opposition of German Naval Minister Alfred von Tirpitz. Despite the increase in tensions due to the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911, Bethmann Hollweg did improve relations with Britain to some extent, working with British foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey to alleviate tensions during the Balkan Crises of 1912-1913, and negotiating treaties over an eventual partition of the Portuguese colonies and the Berlin-Baghdad railway. In domestic politics, Bethmann Hollweg's record was also mixed, and his policy of the "diagonal", which endeavoured to maneuver between the Socialists and Liberals of the left and the right-wing nationalists of the right, only succeeded in alienating most of the German political establishment.Following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, Bethmann Hollweg and Foreign Secretary Gottlieb von Jagow were instrumental in assuring Austria of Germany's unconditional support regardless of Austria's actions against Serbia. During the war, Bethmann Hollweg has usually been seen as having generally attempted to pursue a relatively moderate policy, but having been frequently outflanked by the military leaders, who played an increasingly important role in the direction of all German policy. However, this view has been partially superseded, as the work of historian Fritz Fischer in the 1960s showed that Bethmann Hollweg made more concessions to the nationalist right than had previously been thought. He supported the goal of ethnically cleansing Poles from the Polish Border Strip, as well germanisation of Polish territories by settlement of German colonists.He presented the Septemberprogramm, which outlined the aggressively expansionist goals for the war. After Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff replaced the more ineffectual Erich von Falkenhayn at the General Staff in the summer of 1916, his hopes for American President Woodrow Wilson's mediation at the end of 1916 came to nothing, and, over Bethmann Hollweg's objections, Hindenburg and Ludendorff forced the adoption of unrestricted submarine warfare in March 1917, which led to the United States's entry into the war the next month. Bethmann Hollweg, all credibility and power lost, remained in office until July that year, when a Reichstag revolt, resulting in the passage of the famous Peace Resolution by an alliance of the Social Democratic, Progressive, and Center parties, forced his resignation and replacement by the political nonentity Georg Michaelis.                            (Price :  1=  20 €       2 =   20 €   )                                    

 

    General Feldmarshall Graf Gottlieb von Haeseler

Haeseler was born in Potsdam to August Alexis Eduard Haeseler and Albertine von Schönermark. He entered the Prussian army as Lieutenant in 1853 and became aide-de-camp of Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia in 1860. He served in the Danish-Prussian War (1864), the Austro-Prussian War (1866), and the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71). From 1879 he headed the military history department of the general staff, and from 1890-1903 he was General of the Cavalry and head of the XVI Army Corps in Metz. In 1905 he received the rank of a Generalfeldmarschall. From 1903 he was member of the Prussian House of Lords and worked for the development of the vocational school system. Haeseler died in Harnekop.                                                                                               (Price:  23 € ) 

 

     (1)       (2)    Generalleutenant Erich von Ludendorff

In April 1914 Ludendorff was promoted to Major-General and given the command of the 85th Infantry Brigade, stationed at Strassburg.With the outbreak of World War I, then called The Great War, Ludendorff was first appointed Deputy Chief of Staff to the German Second Army under General Karl von Bülow. His assignment was largely due to his knowledge and previous work investigating the dozen forts surrounding Liège, Belgium. The German assault in early August 1914, according to the Schlieffen Plan for invading France, gained him national recognition.The Germans experienced their first major setback at Liège. Belgian artillery and machine guns killed thousands of German troops attempting frontal assaults. On 5 August Ludendorff took command of the 14th Brigade, whose general had been killed. He cut off Liège and called for siege guns. By 16 August all forts around Liège had fallen, allowing the German First Army to advance. As the victor of Liège, Ludendorff was awarded Germany's highest military decoration for gallantry, the Pour le Mérite, presented by emperor Wilhelm II himself on 22 August.Russia had prepared for and was waging war more effectively than the Schlieffen Plan anticipated. German forces were withdrawing as the Russians advanced towards Königsberg in East Prussia. Only a week after Liège's fall, Ludendorff, then engaged in the assault on Belgium's second great fortress at Namur, was urgently requested by the Kaiser to serve as Chief of Staff of the Eighth Army on the Eastern Front.Ludendorff went quickly with Paul von Hindenburg, who was recalled from retirement, to replace General Maximilian von Prittwitz, who had proposed abandoning East Prussia altogether. Hindenburg relied heavily upon Ludendorff and Max Hoffmann in planning the successful operations in the battles of Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes. After the Battle of Łódź (1914) in November 1914 Ludendorff was promoted to Lieutenant-General.In August 1916, Erich von Falkenhayn resigned as Chief of the General Staff. Paul von Hindenburg took his place; Ludendorff declined to be known as "Second Chief of the General Staff" and instead insisted on the title First Generalquartiermeister, on condition that all orders were sent out jointly from the two men. Together they formed the so-called Third Supreme Command. As for his rank, he was promoted to General of the Infantry.Ludendorff was the chief manager of the German war effort, with the popular general von Hindenburg his pliant front man.Ludendorff advocated unrestricted submarine warfare to break the British blockade, which became an important factor in bringing the United States into the war in April 1917. He proposed massive annexations and colonization in Eastern Europe in the event of the victory of the German Reich, and was one of the main supporters of the Polish Border Strip. Ludendorff planned German settlement and Germanization in conquered areas combined with expulsions of the native population, and envisioned an eastern German empire whose resources would be used in future war with Great Britain and United States.Ludendorff's plans went as far as making Crimea a German colonyRussia withdrew from the war in 1917 and Ludendorff participated in the meetings held between the German leadership and the new Bolshevik leadership. After much deliberation, the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed in March 1918. That same month Ludendorff planned and directed Germany's final Western Front offensives, including Operation Michael, Operation Georgette and Operation Bluecher; although not formally a commander-in-chief, Ludendorff directed operations by issuing orders to the staffs of the armies at the front, as was perfectly normal under the German system of that time.The historian Frank B. Tipton argues that while not technically a dictator, Ludendorff was "unquestionably the most powerful man in Germany" in 1917–18.This final push to win the war fell short; Ludendorff had not adequately planned for the time needed for reinforcements to arrive at the front, or for the impact of lost troops (numbering half a million) and material, or for the length of the front now needing defense. As the German war effort collapsed, Ludendorff's tenure of war-time leadership faded.On 8 August 1918, Ludendorff concluded the war had to be ended and ordered his men to hold their positions while a ceasefire was negotiated. Unfortunately for Ludendorff, the German troops could not stop advances in the west by the Allies, now reinforced by American troops. Ludendorff was near a mental breakdown, sometimes in tears, and his worried staff called in a psychiatrist.On 29 September the Kingdom of Prussia assumed its pre-war authority, which lasted until Kaiser Wilhelm II's abdication. Ludendorff had tried appealing directly to the American government in the hope of getting better peace terms than from the French and British. He then calculated that the civilian government that he had created on 3 October would get better terms from the Americans. However, Ludendorff was frustrated by the terms that the new government was negotiating during early October. Unable to achieve an honorable peace himself, Ludendorff had handed over power to the new civilian government, but he then blamed them for what he felt was a humiliating armistice that U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was proposing. He then decided in mid-October that the army should hold out until winter set in when defense would be easier, but the civilian government continued to negotiate.Unable to prevent negotiations, Ludendorff stated in his 1920 memoirs that he had prepared a letter of resignation on the morning of 26 October, but changed his mind after discussing the matter with von Hindenburg. Shortly afterwards he was informed that the Kaiser had dismissed him at the urging of the Cabinet, and he was then called in for an audience with the Kaiser where he tendered his resignation.On the day of the armistice, Ludendorff disguised himself in a false beard and glasses and went to the home of his brother, astronomer Hans Ludendorff, in Potsdam. A few days later, he boarded a steamer for Copenhagen. Though he was recognized, he continued from Denmark to Sweden.   (Price: price follows...)                                                                                                                                  ( Price = 1 = 28 €        2 = 28 € )

       (1)              (2)         General Alexander von Linsingen

The start of the First World War in August 1914 found Linsingen in command of II Corps attached to the German First Army.  Within three months however he was transferred to serve with Hermann von Eichhorn's new Tenth Army where he was given command of the Austro-German Sudarmee in the Carpathians in January 1915, tasked with the forthcoming attack on Przemsyl.Having impressed in the Carpathians Linsingen was next placed in charge of the Bug Offensive, replacing the formidable August von Mackensen in July 1915.  Success there brought Linsingen further promotion to command of Army Group Linsingen, sent to occupy a critical area of southern Poland following the great Russian retreat.  His Army Group consisted of the Bugarmee, the German Eleventh Army and (subsequently) the Austro-Hungarian Fourth Army.Linsingen's fortunes took a turn for the worse however with the start of the Russian Brusilov Offensive in June 1916, which inflicted heavy damage upon the southern wing of the Austro-Hungarian element of his Army Group, although he subsequently partly retrieved the situation with German forces holding back the Russians further north.With the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk ending the war on the Eastern Front in March 1918 Linsingen returned home to Germany.  Promoted to full General and given command of the Berlin military region he viewed with dismay the onset of revolution in early November 1918.  Realising he could do nothing to prevent revolution he resigned on 9 November, two days prior to the armistice.He died in 1935.                      ( Price = 1 = 28 €        2 = 28 € )   

 

      Herzog (Duke) Albrecht von Württemburg   

At the start of World War I, Duke Albrecht commanded the German 4th Army and led them to victory in the Battle of the Ardennes in August 1914. Following this victory, the 4th Army saw action in the First Battle of the Marne before being transferred to Flanders in October, where Duke Albrecht commanded them during the Battle of the Yser. Duke Albrecht also commanded the German forces during the Second Battle of Ypres, where poison gas was used on a large scale for the first time.Duke Albrecht was awarded the Pour le Mérite in August 1915 and was promoted to Generalfeldmarschall in August 1916. The newly formed Army Group Albrecht was placed under his commanded in February 1917 and he was responsible for the southern sector of the Western Front until the Armistice.                                                                (Price:   28 € 

 

       General Feldmarshall Anton Ludwig August von Mackensen

Already aged sixty-five at the beginning of World War I, Mackensen remained in command of XVII Army Corps as part of the Eighth Army, first under General Maximilian von Prittwitz and later General Paul von Hindenburg. Mackensen had his corps moving out on a twenty-five kilometer march to the Rominte River within fifty minutes of receiving its orders on the afternoon of August 19th, 1914 as the Imperial Russian Army invaded East Prussia.Soon after, Mackensen's corps fought in the battles of Gumbinnen and Tannenberg. On 2 November 1914 Mackensen took command of the Ninth Army from General von Hindenburg, who had been named Supreme Commander East (Oberbefehlshaber Ost). On 27 November 1914 Mackensen was awarded the Pour le Mérite, Prussia's highest military order, for actions around Łódź and Warsaw. He commanded the Ninth Army until April 1915, when he took command of the Eleventh Army and Army Group Kiev (Heeresgruppe Kiew), seeing action in Galicia, and assisting in the capture of Przemyśl and Lemberg. He was awarded oak leaves to the Pour le Mérite on 3 June 1915 and promoted to field marshal on 22 June. After this campaign, he was awarded the Order of the Black Eagle, Prussia's highest-ranking order of knighthood. During this period, he also received numerous honours from other German states and Germany's allies, including the Grand Cross of the Military Max Joseph Order, the highest military honour of the Kingdom of Bavaria, on 4 June 1915.                                                                                                                 (Price:  23 € )   

 

     Kronprinz Wilhem von Prussia

Despite being raised within militaristic circles, the Crown Prince had little command experience when he was named commander of the 5th Army in August 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War I. In November 1914 William gave his first interview to a foreign correspondent and the first statement to the press made by a German noble since the outbreak of war.He led the 5th Army until November 1916, a two-year period which included the battle of attrition known as the Verdun Offensive. From April 1916 onward, he tried in vain to convince the supreme command that the Verdun offensive no longer made any sense, but the campaign continued until 2 September of that year.         (Price:  19 € )     

 

      Prinz Ernst August Herzog von Braunschweig              ( Price:  19 €        

 

( IMPERIAL GERMAN MARINE )

      Fregattenkapitän Karl Friederich Max von Muller  

Karl Friedrich Max von Müller (June 16, 1873 – March 11, 1923) was Captain of the famous German commerce raider, the light cruiser SMS Emden during World War I.The son of a Prussian Army Colonel, he was born in Hanover. After attending gymnasium at Hanover and Kiel, he entered the military academy at Plön in Schleswig-Holstein, but transferred to the Imperial Navy, on Easter 1891. He served on the schoolship Stosch, then on the 'cruiser-frigate' Gneisenau on a voyage to the Americas. He then became signal lieutenant of battleship Baden in October 1894, and later, on her sister ship the Sachsen.

Von Müller was promoted to Oberleutnant zur See, and posted to the gunboat Schwalbe. During the Schwalbe's deployment to German East Africa, he caught malaria which troubled him for the remainder of his life. After returning to Germany in 1900, he served ashore before becoming second gunnery officer of the battleship SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II. An appointment to the staff of Admiral Prince Heinrich of Prussia proved to be his "big break". After receiving high praise and ratings from his superiors, he was promoted to the rank of Korvettenkapitän in December 1908, and assigned to the Reichs-Marine-Amt in Berlin where he impressed Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz.

The son of a Prussian Army Colonel, he was born in Hanover. After attending gymnasium at Hanover and Kiel, he entered the military academy at Plön in Schleswig-Holstein, but transferred to the Imperial Navy, on Easter 1891. He served on the schoolship Stosch, then on the 'cruiser-frigate' Gneisenau on a voyage to the Americas. He then became signal lieutenant of battleship Baden in October 1894, and later, on her sister ship the Sachsen.

Von Müller was promoted to Oberleutnant zur See, and posted to the gunboat Schwalbe. During the Schwalbe's deployment to German East Africa, he caught malaria which troubled him for the remainder of his life. After returning to Germany in 1900, he served ashore before becoming second gunnery officer of the battleship SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II. An appointment to the staff of Admiral Prince Heinrich of Prussia proved to be his "big break". After receiving high praise and ratings from his superiors, he was promoted to the rank of Korvettenkapitän in December 1908, and assigned to the Reichs-Marine-Amt in Berlin where he impressed Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz.As a reward, von Müller was given command of the SMS Emden in the Spring of 1913. Soon he achieved fame and notoriety in both the German and other imperial powers' newspapers for initiative and skill in shelling rebellious forts along the Yangtze at Nanjing (or Nanking). He was awarded the Order of the Royal Crown Third Class with Swords.

At the outbreak of World War I, Emden was anchored in the German base at Tsingtao. She departed in the evening of July 31, 1914. On August 4, she intercepted and captured the Russian mail steamer Rjäsan, the first prize taken by the Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) of the Great War. Emden then rendezvoused with the German East Asia Squadron of Admiral-Graf (Count) Maximilian von Spee in the Mariana Islands.It was during a conference at the island of Pagan that Müller proposed a single light cruiser of the squadron be detached to raid Allied commerce in the Indian Ocean, while the remainder of von Spee's Squadron continued east across the Pacific. Kapitän von Müller and Emden were given the assignment.

In the following 12 weeks the Emden and Müller achieved a reputation for daring and chivalry unequalled by any other German ship or Captain. Müller was highly scrupulous about trying to avoid inflicting non-combatant and civilian casualties. While taking fourteen prizes, the only merchant sailors killed by the Emden's guns were five victims of a shore bombardment of British oil tanks at the port of Madras, India, despite the precautions Müller had taken so the line of fire would miss civilian areas of the city. Emden also sank the Russian cruiser Zhemchug and the French destroyer Mousquet during a daring raid on Penang, Malaya. Thirty-six French survivors from Mousquet were rescued by the Emden, and when three died of their injuries, they were buried at sea with full honours. The remaining Frenchmen were transferred to a British steamer, Newburn, which had been stopped by the German ship, but not attacked, so as to enable them to be transported to Sabang, Sumatra, in the neutral Dutch East Indies.When the Emden sent a landing party ashore to destroy a radio station at Port Refuge in the Keeling Islands on November 8, 1914, she was finally cornered by the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney, and was defeated by its longer range guns. Müller, with the rest of his surviving crew, was captured and taken to Malta. A detachment of the crew which had gone ashore was missed, and escaped to Germany under the leadership of Emden's first officer Hellmuth von Mücke. On October 8, 1916, two days after the German resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, Müller was separated from the rest of the Emden crew prisoners and taken to England where he was interned at a prisoner of war camp for German officers located at the Midlands Agricultural and Dairy College (now the Sutton Bonington Campus of the University of Nottingham). In 1917 he led an escape of 21 prisoners through an underground tunnel, but was recaptured. The climate of England disagreed with his malaria, and he was eventually sent to the Netherlands for treatment as part of a humanitarian prisoner exchange. In October 1918 he was repatriated to Germany.

After some controversy, Müller was awarded the Pour le Mérite and finally promoted to Kapitän zur See. In early 1919, he retired from the Navy on grounds of ill health, and settled in Blankenburg. He politely refused to write a book detailing his service and exploits. He was elected to the state parliament of Brunswick (Braunschweig) on an anti-class platform as a member of the German National Party. He died there quite suddenly, most likely weakened by frequent malarial bouts, on March 11, 1923.                                 ( Price: 28 € ) 

 

     Grossadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz

Tirpitz joined the Prussian Navy more by accident than design when a friend announced that he was doing so. Tirpitz decided he liked the idea and with the consent of his parents became a naval cadet at the age of 16, on 24 April 1865. He attended Kiel Naval School. Within a year Prussia was at war with Austria. Tirpitz became a midshipman (Seekadett) on 24 June 1866 and was posted to a sailing ship patrolling the English Channel. In 1866 Prussia became part of the North German Confederation, the navy officially became that of the confederation and Tirpitz joined the new institution on 24 June 1869.On 22 September 1869 he had obtained the rank of sub-lieutenant and served onboard SMS König Wilhelm. During the Franco-Prussian war the German navy was greatly outnumbered and so the ship spent the duration of the war at anchor, much to the embarrassment of the navy. During the early years of Tirpitz' career, Prussia and Great Britain were on good terms and the Prussian Navy spent much time in British ports. Tirpitz reported that Plymouth was more hospitable to German sailors than was Kiel, while it was also easier to obtain equipment and supplies there, which were of better quality than available at home. At this time the British Royal Navy was pleased to assist that of Prussia in its development and a considerable respect grew up in Prussian officers of their British counterparts.                          ( Price:  33 €

( Before Great-war )

 

       General Feldmarschall Karl Friedrich von Steinmetz

His avoidance of youthful excesses helped him overcome bad health and become physically vigorous, which he was to the end of his military career. His character as well as his physique was strengthened by his Spartan way of life, but his temperament was embittered by the circumstances which imposed this self-restraint. His poverty and want of influence were the more obvious as he was, shortly after the wars, assigned to the lowly 2nd Foot Guards, stationed in Berlin.He rigorously devoted himself to study and his professional duties. From 1820 to 1824 he studied at the General War Academy, graduating from the course with distinction, and so was appointed to the topographical section of the general staff. General von Müffling reported that he was arrogant and resented encouragement, which he probably regarded as patronising, but that his ability would outdistance his comrades. Steinmetz was too poor to buy a good horse or a house, and he had to live in his regimental quarters. However, shortly after his marriage to his cousin Julie, the daughter of Lieutenant-General KKF von Steinmetz (1768–1837), gave him enough money to temper his resentment, since his father-in-law was generous to the young couple, and helped him get an appointment as captain at the Landwehr Guard at Potsdam. His brigade commander, General von Röder, was an excellent soldier, and Steinmetz often spoke of the thorough training he received.From 1830 his regimental work went on without incident in various garrisons, until in 1839 he was promoted to major given command of a battalion. In this position he had many differences with his superiors, for he urged strenuous training for the troops, in all seasons. However, his off-duty relationships were extremely cordial, thanks chiefly to the social gifts of his wife.

In 1848, he commanded a guard battalion during the disturbances in Berlin, but was not involved. The same year, he was sent to fight in the First Schleswig War. After the battle of Schleswig, Wrangel, the commander-in-chief, told him that he had decided the battle. He distinguished himself again at Düppel, and Prince William decorated him with the order Pour le Mérite.

On returning to Germany, he was given the difficult command of troops at Brandenburg during the sitting of a democratic popular convention there, troops known to be affected by the revolution. During the Olmütz-Bronnzell incident of 1850, he was military governor of Cassel. In 1851, he became colonel commandant of the cadet school of Berlin, where he reformed the prevailing system of instruction, the defects of which he had condemned as early as 1820. Though more than fifty years of age, he learned Latin and English to be a more competent instructor.

In 1854, after forty-one years of active service, he was promoted major-general. At Magdeburg, as at Berlin, his reforming zeal made him many enemies, and in October his youngest and only surviving child died at twenty-six, which affected him deeply. In 1857, he was posted to the command of a guard brigade at Berlin, and thence almost immediately to a divisional command in the I Corps. Early in 1858 he was promoted lieutenant-general, and for the five years that he held this command he devoted himself to cavalry. In 1863, learning that Adolf von Bonin, his senior by date of rank, but his junior in age and length of service, was to be appointed to the command of the I Corps, he considered retirement. However, when Bonin took command, Stenmetz was given command of the II Corps. Shortly afterwards, the crown prince of Prussia Frederick William took over II Corps and Steinmetz went to command the V Corps at Posen. Soon after this his wife died.He was promoted general of infantry in 1864, and led the V Corps in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. His skillful and resolute leadership was displayed in three battles on three successive days, the Battle of Nachod, Skalitz and Schweinschädel, and opened the way through the mountains in spite of Bonin's defeat at Trautenau. In 1867, the "Lion of Nachod", as he was popularly called, married Elise von Krosigk (who after his death married Count Bruhl). He was now, for the first time in his life, a fairly wealthy man, having been awarded a money grant for his brilliant services in 1866. About this time he was elected a member of the North German Confederation parliament.

At the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Steinmetz was appointed to command one of the three armies assembled on the Rhine, the others being led by Prince Frederick Charles and the crown prince. It was not long before serious differences arose between Steinmetz and Prince Frederick Charles. Steinmetz, embittered by his lifelong struggle against the influences of wealth and position, saw an order to clear the roads for the prince's army as an attempt to crowd a humbler comrade out of the fighting, and various incidents.On 6 August he led the I army south from his position on the Moselle and moved straight toward the town of Spicheren, cutting off Prince Frederick Charles from his forward cavalry units in the process. There he encountered the French 2nd Corps under Frossard, which was fortified between Spicheren and Forbach and was able to stall him until the German II Army came to the aid of their compatriots and routed the French.

Eight days later he again encountered the French army at Borny-Colombey. At the Battle of Gravelotte he lost his temper and wasted his troops against a French superior position, nearly causing the defeat of the Prussian armies. After this he was made to sing the national anthem, relieved of command and sent home as governor-general of the V and VI Army Corps districts.As a commander in Franco-Prussian War and Battle of Gravelotte, Steinmetz was mentioned a few times in Chapter IV of anti-war short story entitled "Bartek The winner",written by polish Nobel-awarded writer Henryk Sienkiewicz.                                                                                                         ( Price:  36 €

 

       Lajos Kossuth,(Governor-President of Hungary)

19 September 1802 – 20 March 1894) was a Hungarian lawyer, journalist, politician and Regent-President of the Kingdom of Hungary during the revolution of 1848–49. He was widely honored during his lifetime, including in the United Kingdom and the United States, as a freedom fighter and bellwether of democracy in Europe. Kossuth's bronze bust can be found in the United States Capitol with the inscription: "Father of Hungarian Democracy, Hungarian Statesman, Freedom Fighter, 1848–1849".         ( Price:  22 € )   

 

( ITALIAN-SPAIN )

 

      Vittorio Emanuele di Savoia, conte di Torino (Il Conte di Torino)

Prince Vittorio Emanuele of Savoy-Aosta, Infante of Spain, Count of Turin (24 November 1870 – 10 October 1946) was a grandchild of King Victor Emmanuel II and a member of the House of Savoy. He was a cousin of Victor Emmanuel III.                                                                 ( Price:  18 €