70 years ago a group of patriots tried to save a nation. And, in my opinion, they succeeded. Still, today, people criticize the activity of the German resistance and also criticize the head of the group that attempted to kill Adolf Hitler on July 20th, 1944.

It’s hard to understand nowadays. But the whole story starts in 1918/1919. Germany lost the war, was forced to sign the Versailles Treaty and also accepted the blame that the war was Germany’s fault. Germany got crippled, lost lots of its territory and had to pay an unbelievable amount of reparations.

What Hitler did once he claimed power in 1933 – regarding foreign policy – was superb. One of the conspirators, General Friedrich Olbricht, said in 1938 that he hated Hitler from the first time he saw him. “But if he dies today, measured on his victories, his name will be one of the greatest in German history.”

It’s simply true. Saarland, Austria and Sudetenland were added to Germany, the Rhineland got remilitarized and no single shot was fired. It was a huge gamble which worked out perfectly. When he moved on to Poland, to add the lost territories, he went to far and started the war. England and France could have ended the war quickly but preferred the Phoney War. That’s a different topic, though. In addition to that Hitler revoked the signature of the “War Guilt Clause” (Article 231 of the Versailles Treaty).

Oberst Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg joined the resistance in 1942, although he started disliking Hitler years before. He was shocked by the Reichskristallnacht in 1938 and also was against the brutal treatment of civilians and prisoner of wars in the Eastern territories. Still, it took him some years because he was overwhelmed by the military successes.

With the major turnaround of the war, the battle of Stalingrad, many officers, like von Tresckow (who is, if I may say, the most honorable of the group), felt the need to act to avoid a catastrophe. The main goal was an establishment of a new government and back to morals. Also, the plot group wanted to save the German borders from 1938 and the Polish parts and get a clean peace treaty.

When the day came nobody was expecting success. Most of the conspirators just wanted to prove that not everyone was one of the monsters and that there was a will to end the war. So it happened. Almost everyone who was part of the plot gave the ultimate sacrifice and died for their country.

It’s a big shame that it took 10 years for Germany to see Stauffenberg and the other patriots as heroes. In 1954 Theodor Heuss gave a speech that started to move the public opinion towards the group around Stauffenberg.

Nowadays Stauffenberg is considered as the great hero. Unfortunately it’s only his name that is popular and well-known. Most people forget about von Tresckow, Olbricht, von Haeften, Beck, von Moltke, Goerdeler and von Witzleben, who said following words towards judge Roland Freisinger on August 7th, 1944:

“You may hand us over to the executioner, but in three months’ time our disgusted and harried people will bring you to book and drag you alive through the dirt in the streets!”

A few times I meet servicemen who think that Stauffenberg was more of a traitor. They may be right when they say that he tried to kill his comrades but he was trying to save his country and especially the people. Didn’t Stauffenberg say “Long live our sacred Germany!” moments before he got shot? They have broken the oath but Ludwig Yorck von Wartenburg did the same which started the liberation of Prussia and with that, the German states.

Let me salute the ones who gave their lives for a better Germany that may have helped paving the way to today’s Germany. It’s a chapter of my country that can’t be made undone but we’ll have to deal with it. Not to put it in a drawer and take it out once in a while. But to live this responsibility.

Whenever there is a discussion about this, especially the guilt that many people want to carry around with them although they weren’t even born back then, I say the same thing over and over again:

It’s not my duty to feel guilty about what happened. It’s my duty to make sure it never happens again.

Henning von Tresckow - bundeswehr.org

Henning von Tresckow

Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg - bundeswehr.org

Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg

Cube Attention, 2013 Model

Work can be cruel. Not only the crap I have to deal with at work but especially the crap outside the office. While I was very successful in the past 9 years splitting the money-source part of my life from my private life it takes me lots of effort right now to stay cool. Worst thing is that the money-source part is was supposed to make me feel like I’m doing something good. Decisions changed my view on certain things but that is not to be discussed here yet.

The crap outside the office is very unimportant. Two weeks ago I noticed it always involves the car. It can be the city closing down the only free parking lot within 200 meters for festivals, getting a parking ticket for parking in front of my apartment, getting gas, buying tires, driving to and from work. In a different blog I wrote about a longer Friday afternoon ride and described the idiotism of people who claim to be good drivers. Nowadays I experience the same, just compressed to less than 10 miles. Because the streets are straight and flat people think they can drive fast. Almost witnessed multiple collisions in the past months. Oh, and if people don’t drive fast they are incredibly slow. There’s one guy who happens to leave the town a minute or two before I head out and it seems he can’t go faster than 45 mph.

But these days are over! Because the area I live in is so goddamn flat many people ride their bikes. If many people ride their bikes bike paths are requested and I think every town here is connected via separate bike paths. As someone who grew up in the Eifel a 7.5 mile ride in the morning and another 7.5 miles in the afternoon are peanuts. It takes me about 35 minutes to get to work now which is around 15-20 minutes longer than taking the car. Flexible working hours and a shower in our office building work in my favor.

The workout isn’t the only positive aspect on taking the bike to work. I never cared about calories so the roughly 500 kcal I burn each day don’t mean anything to me. I care more about something I’m not burning. Gas. Right now I’m saving about two liters each day which means around 3€ and that means around 15€ a week.

Besides that it feels great. Enjoying every minute. Gives me a nice distraction and while this didn’t change my work mood around entirely, I feel better once I put on the uniform now.

The bike I got is a Cube Attention. Last year’s model because it was a bit cheaper than the latest one. It took me a while to find one that suited me. After some research I noticed that the limit of 500€ won’t get me far but thanks to some advice from a German mountain biker forum and a friend I found a nice base for 600€ that gives me the chance to upgrade.


It’s been six months since my last post and although this is quite a boring blog I’m saying sorry for the inactivity. Since July things changed a lot. Transferred to a new base, a new home, trainings, no internet connection, my fiancee moving to Germany and much more.

We’re living in a city in the Lower Rhine region in North Rhine-Westphalia. We can be across the border in the Netherlands within a few minutes and I’m happy so far. My job isn’t that great, at least it’s something I wouldn’t join the military for. But the unit is good and there are good people, comrades and friends.

The past three weeks I obtained a certificate that allows me to train shooting instructors and troops for the new firearms training concept or whatever the best translation is. The military’s YouTube channel has a nice video, unfortunately in German.

It’s almost Christmas and I’m glad I’m going straight from the training mentioned above to leave until early January. A well-deserved leave. Charlie’s parents are coming to Europe next week and we had to prepare everything for Christmas. Yesterday we got our first tree and we decided to name it Frederick I. You can choose if it’s Frederick I. ‘Barbarossa’ or Frederick I., King of Prussia.

And because it’s almost Christmas it means that New Year’s is coming next. Right now Ops are preparing for Leuven, Begium. Leuven is a fun city that I went to earlier this year with a friend of mine. Great pubs, bars and people. When we went there in the early Spring we stumbled into a bar called t’Archief and a Brussels based band named ‘Blame Bob‘ was performing. Immediately bought a record. If there’s another performance in that place we won’t have to look for many other pubs.

I strongly recommend celebrating New Years in Belgium or the Netherlands. They have great beer, great pubs and beautiful cities. In my opinion it’s much more fun than Germany.

– Martin


One week gone fighting the flooding in eastern Germany. Unfortunately we didn’t have to help a lot.
My unit was assigned as reserves and, at least my platoon, only moved out on two days.

The whole operation started Wednesday afternoon when we got alarmed and had to be ready to move out at some point in the evening. We were. We didn’t get orders to move. We waited. Thursday everyone was highly motivated to go and help the people but again we waited. In the early afternoon we finally boarded the bus, trucks and other vehicles and started rolling. Because we left relatively late and the convoy moved slow we stayed the night at a training ground. The next morning we continued to another training ground from where we finally got to work.

Saturday. After two days on the road and three days of basically doing nothing we got the order to support a dike. It was a great feeling to help others and it was even more amazing that civilians and military worked together. For 7-8 hours we worked until we got relieved.

Sunday. The toughest day. In the morning we had to ready up and we left to help loading sandbags on trucks. We did that for quite a while. Our platoon got split up and while one half loaded the trucks the other half supported a dike. Later on I switched to the dike-building half and helped there. At 8pm we were supposed to be relieved but we moved to another dike and helped there for another three hours. Finally at midnight we were back.

Monday. We had to evacuate the training ground because a dike close to the town broke and we moved to a town’s gym hall where we stayed until today. While it was ok to rest the next two days were horrible.

Tuesday-Thursday. Rested and ready to kick the tide’s ass we waited for orders that never came. Bored to death we tried to make the day go by fast but that didn’t work that well. The book I bought on Thursday while the bus had to get gas was finished in no time (although I wanted to finish it on the way back) and Dan Brown’s “Inferno” is at 50%. That’s how bored we were. But the hall was next to a school and the guys on the trucks let the kids go in the trucks and that maybe was the only good thing about the two days of nothing.

Today we finally got the order to return…

Although we weren’t able to help as much as we all wanted to it was a success. Even though it only were two days we really did something we helped and showed the people that we are there.

My opinion about the whole high-tide thing is that everyone waited too long. The water didn’t just come Wednesday it was a problem before and everyone waited and did nothing. The past decade, since the last high-tide, should have been used to prevent destruction. Ah well, for me it’s over now. I hope the people who had to move out and who lost their home and everything will get back on their feet soon.


Iron Cross 1813 (Friederich-Wilhelm III)

Iron Cross 1813 (Friederich-Wilhelm III) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exactly 200 years ago, on March 10, 1813 the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III. established the Iron Cross. It was supposed to be only awarded for brave actions during the War of Liberation against Napoleon that started later after the king’s proclamation “An mein Volk” which was published on March 20, 1813. The text was written on March 17, 1813, by the way. What a coincidence I’m born on March 17…

Anyways, Napoleon got defeated in 1815 when the allies fought him at Waterloo. The Iron Cross became the symbol of a new era. It became a symbol for equality. Equality because it was the first award that was for everyone. The Pour Le Mérite was only for officers but the Iron Cross was for the lower ranks and for the officers. But it was also a symbol for the military reforms that are still the basis for the current German military: Conscription was implemented but it was a short conscription to create many reservists. The military reformers Gneisenau, Boyen and Clausewitz wanted to bring the military and the population closer to increase patriotism. Another new feature was a big change in the officer corps. Non-royals were allowed into the higher officer ranks and promotions/demotions depended on actual performance. Although not everything worked out as planned it was important.

In 1870 the award was handed out again during the Franco-Prussian war that ended in 1871 and united the German nations to the German Empire. From 1871 on it was also the insignia of the German military.

World War I is the next chapter in the history of das Eiserne Kreuz and the first war that resulted in a defeat. While it was still a Prussian decoration it became more or less a German award. This changed though in World War II when Hitler made this a German decoration. WW2 is definitely the darkest chapter in the Cross’ history. No doubt, most of the recipients had great skills but most of them were also brutal murderers and fascists. Hitler added the Knight’s Cross with multiple degrees (the Iron Cross from 1813 – 1918 had three degrees) to the Iron Cross and the guys that earned these awards are prominent names, for example Rommel, Marseille, Rudel, Mölders, von Manteuffel, Galland and Nowotny.

English: Badge of Honour of the Bundeswehr Deu...

Ehrenkreuz der Bundeswehr für Tapferkeit (Photo credit: wikipedia.org)

Germany rebuild its military in the 1950’s and in 1956 the Iron Cross became the emblem of the new Bundeswehr. For more than 50 years the German military had no award for bravery and in 2007 a petition came up for a new Iron Cross. Of course there was opposition against an Iron Cross and a year later the Ehrenkreuz für Tapferkeit (Cross of Honor for bravery) was invented. It’s not like the traditional Iron Cross but at least the cross is formed like an Iron Cross. Before there were several variations of the Cross of Honor for exemplary and meritious service but the cross to the right with the oak leaves was important. Since 1999 Germany sends men and women to countries like Kosovo and Afghanistan and they do a hell of a job. It was time that they get some recognition because the Bundeswehr’s reputation is more of a beer-league football team whose officer don’t order, they ask their subordinates politely to do something. This time is gone.

Nowadays nobody remembers the history of the Iron Cross. It’s sad because it has a long history, as you see. Most think it was a product of national socialism. But it is a symbol that defined Germany and Prussia in both ways, good and bad. Of course whatever happened in WW2 was wrong and cruel. WW1 wasn’t solely our fault and 1870 wasn’t very right either but could we please not forget 1813? Could we please remember the men that fought for freedom and the cross that became a symbol for hope and bravery? A symbol for the uprising against Napoleon who scarred Germany for years?

200 years later this symbol stands for hope and bravery again.

Yesterday I finished the apprenticeship program to become an office administrator. I’ve been working on this for the past 21 months and I’m really happy it’s over and I can go back to my old unit. Usually the program takes three years to complete but people with my profession are special cases and do a shorter version.

Anyways, done and I’m back to my hobbies! Actually I wanted to write an essay about Hitler’s takeover and the two important laws, the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933, that allowed dictatorship and killed democracy. Well, I got stuck with studying and enjoying my holidays. From the time between Christmas and New Year’s my girlfriend and I spent time in Dublin. Her parents and her cousin also came to Dublin and we all had a great time. Sadly I didn’t take that many photos. These two are my favorites though.


Christ Church Cathedral


St. Patrick’s Cathedral

We got back on New Year’s Eve at around 6pm and directly drove to Koblenz where we celebrated at the Deutsches Eck (German Corner), right at the monument for Emperor Wilhelm I.

English: Deutsches Eck in Koblenz where the Mo...

English: Deutsches Eck in Koblenz where the Moselle joins the Rhine Deutsch: Koblenz im Buga-Jahr 2011 – Das Deutsche Eck an der Mündung der Mosel in den Rhein Français : Deutsches Eck à Coblence – Confluence Moselle avec le Rhin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last weekend I got to see The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and I’m really glad that all movie theaters jump on the 3D. Because people like me whose stereoscopic vision sucks and enjoy the 3D movie like a normal movie but pay almost the double price for it. That day the movie theater showed that film four or five times but only one time in a normal version, without 3D or a 20-minute break… The first part of The Hobbit was amazing though and I recommend to watch it.

For the rest of the week I have very little to do and enjoy the time slacking off and working through the Tom Clancy books on my Kindle. Currently I’m reading The Hunt for Red October. And that’s what I’m gonna do now!

It’s the same question every year: What do I get my friends and family for Christmas?

I’m not a big fan of commercialized Christmas. I prefer sitting together with the family, having some wine, a good dinner and spending the evening together. Of course people like to give each other presents but I’m not that kind of guy. I never know what to get them and I don’t have original ideas. Luckily my girlfriend is an expert with this and she’ll pick the presents for almost the whole family.

Still, I’m looking and sometimes I can find a few pretty cool things. This year one website gave me two great ideas and this special site instantly became one of my startup pages.


(Photo credit: The Art of Manliness facebook page)

This page is made for men. It’s an amazing page for men. To be honest, I can’t remember how I found this page but it almost feels like home because it’s not only fun to read but gives lots of advice and teaches men the almost forgotten habits, for example shaving. Immediately I got thrown back 20 years and remember how my grandpa shaved.

For Christmas I found two presents. One for my brother-in-law and one for my dad. Won’t post about the gift for my brother-in-law as he might read this. My 55-year-old dad only navigates to the website of his favorite football team and eBay or Amazon to look for tools or utilities and probably can’t imagine that his son has his own site. That’s why I can write about this great instruction for a homemade gift. If he reads this anyways I’ll keep it for myself and get him a shower set or something…

On the page I found this article and there I found this: WWII Field Phone Bluetooth receiver. It’s not quite useful but it’s still a great toy. It’s an old US-military EE-8 field phone modded to work like a Bluetooth headset. You can place and receive calls in combination with a mobile phone although it doesn’t have the same functions as a normal phone. Here you need to push a button to talk. Anyone who has done some sort of military training knows the amazing field phones and whoever used a walkie-talkie or radio knows what I’m talking about.

Probably it is anything but useful to him, maybe he’ll set it up in the garage where we watch football every weekend, but there’s a child locked inside every man, even the 55-year-old men. Also, he’s an electrician so he might enjoy it.

Yesterday I looked for all the stuff I need for this project and asked a friend to help me next week. As soon as this is completed I’ll post some pictures!

Papp of the Week

There’s a bunch of cool stuff to read and see on this page and it is the ultimate source of information that makes men become real men. That’s why artofmanliness.com receives the Papp of the Week. Haven’t awarded many pages lately so I might just turn this award into some sort of Hall of Fame soon.


The final 1933 issue announcing the paper's sh...

The final 1933 issue announcing the paper’s shutdown, ordered by Nazi officials. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

… and next week I’ll hopefully publish the first piece of work.

I got a domain and the blog set up two days after I blogged about it but I made it available to the public last week. Haven’t asked my friends yet but that’s because I’m having an important exam next week and Your World History (YWH) isn’t that important right now.

The first topic will be about the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Law. In German language these are known as the Reichstagsbrandverordnung and the Ermächtigungsgesetz. Both were extremely important chapters of the early Nazi-dictatorship as they eliminated democracy and led Germany and its people to war. For example, the Reichstagsbrandverordnung (actually Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutze von Volk und Staat) eliminated free speech and free press (see left). In my opinion it’s too important to not talk about it. Maybe it isn’t as popular as everything that happened afterwards but it’s important to know how it was possible for Hitler and his party to gain control and establish a dictatorship. I started working on it this morning but didn’t get very far.

If you like to take a look at the page, go to yourworldhistory.net.

Time to study!

Go back in time…

November 15, 2012 — Leave a comment

Go back in time to an event you think could have played out differently for you. Let alternate history have its moment: tell us what could, would or should have happened?

I just stumbled over this daily prompt and enjoyed reading a few of the other bloggers’ stories. For a few years I was wondering what could have happened if I had decided differently at some moments in my life.

There were a few moments…

Continue Reading…

Your World History

November 13, 2012 — Leave a comment

Have you ever read something about world history and wondered if the explanation of particular historical event is the ideal one?

Don’t worry, there is no ideal opinion about historical events. There are different views on historical events and all should be respected, unless they’re just too far away from reality, but not accepted. To me Wikipedia endangers this rule. Read an article in English and then read an article about the same topic in different languages. Sure, it might be the same content but then again it’s not. It starts with the language. A single word can destroy the meaning of a sentence. A sentence can change the meaning of a whole paragraph. Depending on who wrote the article it can be completely different. Also pictures or other media can give a different impression. The problem is that Wikipedia’s readers expect the article to be neutral. Still, Wikipedia is good to get a basic understanding of something. To get into a discussion about something I wouldn’t rely on it though.

For years, actually since I’m interested in history, I was wondering if it’s possible to unite all opinions about different topics so people can read them and help understand different views.

One of the best examples is World War I and the Versailles  Treaty that put the blame on Germany. You can read so many opinions about this. The French probably think that everything was right and fair but Americans may think that the punishment was too harsh while most Germans think that it wasn’t all their fault. Ken Follett’s Fall of the Giants isn’t exactly nonfiction but it has a good and understanding overview of different all participants.

The project of uniting opinions is difficult. It’s just not possible to write something and include all opinions. One opinion might weigh more than an other and then it’s not neutral anymore. I’d rather like to see multiple articles, each with a different point of view.

Today I created a different blog on WordPress which I will fill with some content and then I’ll invite friends who will hopefully start writing about different events. If you’re interested in history and like to join the team please let me know.

I hope I can present this sooner or later.

Good night!