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Thread: November 9th: Germany's Day of Destiny

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    November 9th: Germany's Day of Destiny

    09.11.2007

    Germany's Day of Destiny - 9th November

    . Deutsche Welle.

    Nov. 9 is not only a day of celebration in German history

    Nov. 9 marks the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, but the date has been an important one in German history long before. Since 1848, at least four other significant events took place on that day.

    Nov. 9, 1989 wasn't meant to be a watershed in German history. While the communist leadership of East Germany had decided to allow citizens to travel freely on that day, the change in policy was not supposed to take effect until Nov. 10 to give border guards time to prepare.

    But Günter Schabowski, a member of the East German politburo, who announced the decision at a press conference had not been present at the meeting. Asked by reporters when the new regulation would take effect, he said: "Immediately."

    Watching Schabowski's statement on television, thousands of East Berliners rushed to crossing points to West Berlin, where overwhelmed border guards soon decided to let them pass.


    Thus, Nov. 9 yet again became a German "day of destiny" marking the first, triumphant steps towards the country's reunification. But while Germans had a reason to celebrate on that date in 1989, another event that took place 51 years earlier on Nov. 9 remains one of the darkest in the country's history.

    1938: Reichskristallnacht


    A pedestrian looks at the wreckage of a Jewish shop in Berlin, Nov. 10, 1938, the day after the "Kristallnacht" rampage

    Using the Nov. 7, 1938 assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a German-Polish Jew as an excuse, the so-called Reichskristallnacht two days later rang in the Nazis' brutal persecution of Jews that would eventually end in the murder of millions of people.


    While the 1935 Nazi race laws had already severely curtailed the life of Jews in Germany, members of the Nazi SA militia across the country now torched synagogues and destroyed Jewish stores. About 100 people were killed during the pogrom and about 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.

    1923: Hitler putsch

    Nazi leaders, including Adolf Hitler, had meanwhile gathered in Munich to commemorate the 15th anniversary of another Nov. 9 event: Hitler's failed putsch attempt of 1923.

    Worried that other nationalistic, right-wing groups might overshadow his emerging Nazi party (NSDAP), Hitler and his followers on Nov. 8 stormed a meeting of Bavarian government officials in a Munich restaurant and forced them at gunpoint to support his revolution.

    When the men revoked their agreement to cooperate a few hours later, Hitler led a march on the center of Munich, which was broken up by police. The NSDAP was banned as a result and Hitler ended up spending a few months in prison.

    1918: Proclamation of the republic

    Unlike the other Nov. 9 events, the putsch attempt did not fall on that date by coincidence, according to Heinrich August Winkler, one of Germany's most renowned historians. Hitler's march on Munich took place exactly five years after the proclamation of the German republic by Social Democratic politician Philipp Scheidemann, which came just two days before the end of World War I.

    "Many Germans saw the parliamentary democracy not as a new beginning, but as a consequence of the lost war as well as an instrument of the victors," Winkler told German daily Die Welt, adding that right-wing supporters rejected the republic as "non-German."

    1848: Killing revolutionary dreams


    Another event significant for German history took place on Nov. 9, 1848 -- the execution of Robert Blum, a member of the Frankfurt national assembly, a legislative body meant to create a constitution for a unified Germany.

    Ignoring his immunity as a parliamentarian, Blum was sentenced to death by Austria's imperial government after supporting Viennese revolutionaries. His execution showed the parliament's powerlessness and made Blum a symbol of the failed attempt to create a unified and free Germany.

    No alternative national day

    Few people might think of Blum's execution when asked about significant events for German history on Nov. 9. But according to opinion polls, an increasing number of Germans also has trouble remembering that the event which did eventually lead to a unified and free Germany took place on that date.

    Asked "What happened on Nov. 9, 1989," every third person questioned didn't know the answer. Of those aged 29 and younger, 42 percent couldn't connect the fall of the Wall with Nov. 9.

    That, however, is not the reason why historian Winkler and others reject an idea to move Germany's national day from Oct. 3, the day of German reunification in 1990, to Nov. 9.

    "I don't think it's a good idea to make it a national day," he said, adding that Nov. 9 should be a German day of reflection instead. "Which speaker wouldn't be overwhelmed by the task of expressing joy over the fall of the Wall and at the same time mourning Nov. 9, 1938, an important step on the way to the Holocaust?"


    DW staff (win)

    9 Nov 2007 Floods -

    http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php...03&postcount=5

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    Yes - I think there is a lot in what you say --


    ""Nov. 9, 1989 wasn't meant to be a watershed in German history. While the communist leadership of East Germany had decided to allow citizens to travel freely on that day, the change in policy was not supposed to take effect until Nov. 10 to give border guards time to prepare.

    But Günter Schabowski, a member of the East German politburo, who announced the decision at a press conference had not been present at the meeting. Asked by reporters when the new regulation would take effect, he said: "Immediately." . ""


    ---- and so it was --- and the ReUnion began then.... an important day in the recovery of a United Germany ... up to a point anyway.


    Curious though - here's another new first for the current German State :

    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=2823

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