Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was the most important of the peace treaties that brought World War I to an end. The Treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers and it was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of World War I signed separate treaties, although the armistice, signed on 11 November 1918, ended the actual fighting, it took six months of Allied negotiations at the Paris Peace Conference to conclude the peace treaty. The treaty was registered by the Secretariat of the League of Nations on 21 October 1919 and this article, Article 231, became known as the War Guilt clause. The treaty forced Germany to disarm, make substantial territorial concessions, in 1921 the total cost of these reparations was assessed at 132 billion marks. On the other hand, prominent figures on the Allied side such as French Marshal Ferdinand Foch criticized the treaty for treating Germany too leniently, although it is often referred to as the Versailles Conference, only the actual signing of the treaty took place at the historic palace.
Most of the negotiations were in Paris, with the Big Four meetings taking place generally at the Quai dOrsay, the First World War was fought across Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Countries beyond the war zones were affected by the disruption of trade, finance. In 1917, two revolutions occurred within the Russian Empire, which led to the collapse of the Imperial Government, the American war aim was to detach the war from nationalistic disputes and ambitions after the Bolshevik disclosure of secret treaties between the Allies. The existence of these treaties tended to discredit Allied claims that Germany was the power with aggressive ambitions. On 8 January 1918, United States President Woodrow Wilson issued a statement that became known as the Fourteen Points and this speech outlined a policy of free trade, open agreements and self-determination. After the Central Powers launched Operation Faustschlag on the Eastern Front and this treaty ended the war between Russia and the Central powers and annexed 1,300,000 square miles of territory and 62 million people.
During the autumn of 1918, the Central Powers began to collapse, desertion rates within the German army began to increase, and civilian strikes drastically reduced war production. On the Western Front, the Allied forces launched the Hundred Days Offensive, sailors of the Imperial German Navy at Kiel mutinied, which prompted uprisings in Germany, which became known as the German Revolution. The German government tried to obtain a settlement based on the Fourteen Points. Following negotiations, the Allied powers and Germany signed an armistice, the terms of the armistice called for an immediate evacuation of German troops from occupied Belgium and Luxembourg within fifteen days. In addition, it established that Allied forces would occupy the Rhineland, in late 1918, Allied troops entered Germany and began the occupation. Both the German Empire and Great Britain were dependent on imports of food and raw materials, primarily from the Americas, the Blockade of Germany was a naval operation conducted by the Allied Powers to stop the supply of raw materials and foodstuffs reaching the Central Powers
London /ˈlʌndən/ is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain and it was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. Londons ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1. 12-square-mile medieval boundaries. London is a global city in the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism. It is crowned as the worlds largest financial centre and has the fifth- or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world, London is a world cultural capital. It is the worlds most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the worlds largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic, London is the worlds leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. Londons universities form the largest concentration of education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted the modern Summer Olympic Games three times, London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region.
Its estimated mid-2015 municipal population was 8,673,713, the largest of any city in the European Union, Londons urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The citys metropolitan area is the most populous in the EU with 13,879,757 inhabitants, the city-region therefore has a similar land area and population to that of the New York metropolitan area. London was the worlds most populous city from around 1831 to 1925, Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Pauls Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world, the etymology of London is uncertain. It is an ancient name, found in sources from the 2nd century and it is recorded c.121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin, and hand-written Roman tablets recovered in the city originating from AD 65/70-80 include the word Londinio. The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae and this had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
From 1898, it was accepted that the name was of Celtic origin and meant place belonging to a man called *Londinos. The ultimate difficulty lies in reconciling the Latin form Londinium with the modern Welsh Llundain, which should demand a form *lōndinion, from earlier *loundiniom. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the Welsh name was borrowed back in from English at a date, and thus cannot be used as a basis from which to reconstruct the original name. Until 1889, the name London officially applied only to the City of London, two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London area
One of the aims of war is to demoralize the enemy, so that peace or surrender becomes preferable to continuing the conflict. Strategic bombing has been used to this end, because the term has pejorative connotations, including the Allies of World War II, have preferred to use euphemisms such as will to resist and morale bombings. The theoretical distinction between tactical and strategic air warfare was developed between the two world wars, some leading theorists of strategic air warfare during this period were the Italian Giulio Douhet, the Trenchard school in the United Kingdom, and General Billy Mitchell in the United States. One of the aims of war is to demoralise the enemy, facing continual death, when such attacks were tried in the 1930s—in the Spanish Civil War and the Second Sino-Japanese War—they were ineffective. Commentators observed the failures and some air forces, such as the Luftwaffe, Terror bombing is an emotive term used for aerial attacks planned to weaken or break enemy morale.
Use of the term to refer to aerial attacks implies the attacks are criminal according to the law of war, or if within the laws of war are nevertheless a moral crime. The Allied governments usually described their bombing of cities with other such as area bombing or precision bombing. He added in a remark that the raid helped destroy what is left of German morale. Howard Cowan, an Associated Press war correspondent, filed a story about the Dresden raid, there were followup newspaper editorials on the issue and a longtime opponent of strategic bombing, Richard Stokes, MP, asked questions in the House of Commons on 6 March. The first bombing of a city was on the night of 24–25 August 1914, the first effective strategic bombing was pioneered by the Royal Naval Air Service in 1914. The mission was to attack the Zeppelin production lines and their sheds at Cologne, led by Charles Rumney Samson the force of four aircraft inflicted minor damage on the sheds. The raid was repeated a month with more success.
Within a year or so, specialized aircraft and dedicated bomber squadrons were in service on both sides. These were generally used for bombing, the aim was that of directly harming enemy troops, strongpoints, or equipment. Eventually, attention turned to the possibility of causing harm to the enemy by systematically attacking vital rear-area resources. The most well known attacks were those done by Zeppelins over England through the course of the war, in all, four people were killed and sixteen injured, and monetary damage was estimated at £7,740. German airships bombed on other fronts, for example in January 1915 on Liepāja in Latvia, in 1915 there were 19 more raids, in which 37 tons of bombs were dropped, killing 181 people and injuring 455. London was accidentally bombed in May, and in July the Kaiser allowed directed raids against urban centers, there were 23 airship raids in 1916, in which 125 tons of ordnance were dropped, killing 293 people and injuring 691
Weimar Republic is an unofficial, historical designation for the German state between 1919 and 1933. The name derives from the city of Weimar, where its constitutional assembly first took place, the official name of the state was still Deutsches Reich, it had remained unchanged since 1871. In English the country was known simply as Germany. A national assembly was convened in Weimar, where a new constitution for the Deutsches Reich was written, in its fourteen years, the Weimar Republic faced numerous problems, including hyperinflation, political extremism, and contentious relationships with the victors of the First World War. The people of Germany blamed the Weimar Republic rather than their leaders for the countrys defeat. However, the Weimar Republic government successfully reformed the currency, unified tax policies, Weimar Germany eliminated most of the requirements of the Treaty of Versailles, it never completely met its disarmament requirements, and eventually paid only a small portion of the war reparations.
Under the Locarno Treaties, Germany accepted the borders of the republic. From 1930 onwards President Hindenburg used emergency powers to back Chancellors Heinrich Brüning, Franz von Papen, the Great Depression, exacerbated by Brünings policy of deflation, led to a surge in unemployment. In 1933, Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor with the Nazi Party being part of a coalition government, the Nazis held two out of the remaining ten cabinet seats. Von Papen as Vice Chancellor was intended to be the éminence grise who would keep Hitler under control, within months the Reichstag Fire Decree and the Enabling Act of 1933 had brought about a state of emergency, it wiped out constitutional governance and civil liberties. Hitlers seizure of power was permissive of government by decree without legislative participation and these events brought the republic to an end, as democracy collapsed, a single-party state founded the Nazi era. The Weimar Republic is so called because the assembly that adopted its constitution met at Weimar, Germany from 6 February 1919 to 11 August 1919, but this name only became mainstream after 1933.
To the right of the spectrum the politically engaged rejected the new democratic model, the Catholic Centre party, Zentrum favoured the term Deutscher Volksstaat while on the moderate left the Chancellors SPD preferred Deutsche Republik. Only during the 1930s did the term become mainstream, both within and outside Germany, after the introduction of the republic, the flag and coat of arms of Germany were officially altered to reflect the political changes. The Weimar Republic retained the Reichsadler, but without the symbols of the former Monarchy and this left the black eagle with one head, facing to the right, with open wings but closed feathers, with a red beak and claws and white highlighting. If the Reichs Eagle is shown without a frame, the charge and colors as those of the eagle of the Reichs coat of arms are to be used. The patterns kept by the Federal Ministry of the Interior are decisive for the heraldic design, the artistic design may be varied for each special purpose. The achievements and signs of movement were mostly done away with after its downfall
World War I
World War I, known as the First World War, the Great War, or the War to End All Wars, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history and it was one of the deadliest conflicts in history, and paved the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved. The war drew in all the worlds great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances, the Allies versus the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. These alliances were reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war, Japan, the trigger for the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. This set off a crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia. Within weeks, the powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.
On 25 July Russia began mobilisation and on 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians declared war on Serbia, Germany presented an ultimatum to Russia to demobilise, and when this was refused, declared war on Russia on 1 August. Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, after the German march on Paris was halted, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that changed little until 1917. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, in November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai. In 1915, Italy joined the Allies and Bulgaria joined the Central Powers, Romania joined the Allies in 1916, after a stunning German offensive along the Western Front in the spring of 1918, the Allies rallied and drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives. By the end of the war or soon after, the German Empire, Russian Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, national borders were redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created, and Germanys colonies were parceled out among the victors.
During the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Big Four imposed their terms in a series of treaties, the League of Nations was formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such a conflict. This effort failed, and economic depression, renewed nationalism, weakened successor states, and feelings of humiliation eventually contributed to World War II. From the time of its start until the approach of World War II, at the time, it was sometimes called the war to end war or the war to end all wars due to its then-unparalleled scale and devastation. In Canada, Macleans magazine in October 1914 wrote, Some wars name themselves, during the interwar period, the war was most often called the World War and the Great War in English-speaking countries. Will become the first world war in the sense of the word. These began in 1815, with the Holy Alliance between Prussia and Austria, when Germany was united in 1871, Prussia became part of the new German nation. Soon after, in October 1873, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck negotiated the League of the Three Emperors between the monarchs of Austria-Hungary and Germany
Adolf Hitler was a German politician who was the leader of the Nazi Party, Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and Führer of Nazi Germany from 1934 to 1945. As dictator of the German Reich, he initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland in September 1939 and was central to the Holocaust, Hitler was born in Austria, part of Austria-Hungary, and raised near Linz. He moved to Germany in 1913 and was decorated during his service in the German Army in World War I and he joined the German Workers Party, the precursor of the NSDAP, in 1919 and became leader of the NSDAP in 1921. In 1923 he attempted a coup in Munich to seize power, the failed coup resulted in Hitlers imprisonment, during which he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf. Hitler frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy, by 1933, the Nazi Party was the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, which led to Hitlers appointment as Chancellor on 30 January 1933.
Hitler aimed to eliminate Jews from Germany and establish a New Order to counter what he saw as the injustice of the post-World War I international order dominated by Britain, Hitler sought Lebensraum for the German people in Eastern Europe. His aggressive foreign policy is considered to be the cause of the outbreak of World War II in Europe. He directed large-scale rearmament and on 1 September 1939 invaded Poland, resulting in British, in June 1941, Hitler ordered an invasion of the Soviet Union. By the end of 1941 German forces and the European Axis powers occupied most of Europe, failure to defeat the Soviets and the entry of the United States into the war forced Germany onto the defensive and it suffered a series of escalating defeats. In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time lover, on 30 April 1945, less than two days later, the two killed themselves to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned. Hitler and the Nazi regime were responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians, in addition,29 million soldiers and civilians died as a result of military action in the European Theatre of World War II.
The number of civilians killed during the Second World War was unprecedented in warfare, Hitlers father Alois Hitler Sr. was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. The baptismal register did not show the name of his father, in 1842, Johann Georg Hiedler married Aloiss mother Maria Anna. Alois was brought up in the family of Hiedlers brother, Johann Nepomuk Hiedler, in 1876, Alois was legitimated and the baptismal register changed by a priest to register Johann Georg Hiedler as Aloiss father. Alois assumed the surname Hitler, spelled Hiedler, Hüttler, the Hitler surname is probably based on one who lives in a hut. Nazi official Hans Frank suggested that Aloiss mother had been employed as a housekeeper by a Jewish family in Graz, and that the familys 19-year-old son Leopold Frankenberger had fathered Alois. No Frankenberger was registered in Graz during that period, and no record has been produced of Leopold Frankenbergers existence, Adolf Hitler was born on 20 April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary, close to the border with the German Empire.
He was one of six born to Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl
World War II
World War II, known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier. It involved the vast majority of the worlds countries—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing alliances, the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust and the bombing of industrial and population centres. These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history, from late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, and formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. In December 1941, Japan attacked the United States and European colonies in the Pacific Ocean, and quickly conquered much of the Western Pacific.
The Axis advance halted in 1942 when Japan lost the critical Battle of Midway, near Hawaii, in 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained all of its territorial losses and invaded Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in South Central China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy, thus ended the war in Asia, cementing the total victory of the Allies. World War II altered the political alignment and social structure of the world, the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The victorious great powers—the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the Cold War, which lasted for the next 46 years. Meanwhile, the influence of European great powers waned, while the decolonisation of Asia, most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic recovery.
Political integration, especially in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities, the start of the war in Europe is generally held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland and France declared war on Germany two days later. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or even the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred simultaneously and this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935. The British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the forces of Mongolia and the Soviet Union from May to September 1939, the exact date of the wars end is not universally agreed upon.
It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended with the armistice of 14 August 1945, rather than the formal surrender of Japan
The Iron Cross was a military decoration in the Kingdom of Prussia, and in the German Empire and Nazi Germany. It was established by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia in March 1813 backdated to the birthday of his late wife Queen Louise on 10 March 1813 during the Napoleonic Wars, Louise was the first person to receive this decoration. The recommissioned Iron Cross was awarded during the Franco-Prussian War, World War I, the Iron Cross was normally a military decoration only, though there were instances of it being awarded to civilians for performing military functions. The design of the symbol was black with a white or silver outline. It was ultimately derived from the cross pattée occasionally used by the Teutonic Order from the 13th century, the black cross patty was used as the symbol of the German Army from 1871 to March/April 1918, when it was replaced by the Balkenkreuz. In 1956, it was re-introduced as the symbol of the Bundeswehr, the Black Cross is the emblem used by the Prussian Army, and by the army of Germany from 1871 to present.
It was designed on the occasion of the German Campaign of 1813, from this time, the Black Cross featured on the Prussian war flag alongside the Black Eagle. The design is due to neoclassical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, based on a sketch by Frederick William, the design is ultimately derivative of the black cross used by the Teutonic Order. This heraldic cross took various forms throughout the history, including a simple Latin cross. When the Quadriga of the Goddess of Peace was retrieved from Paris at Napoleons fall, an Iron Cross was inserted into her laurel wreath, making her into a Goddess of Victory. The Black Cross was used on the naval and war flags of the German Empire, the Black Cross was used as the symbol of the German Army until 1915, when it was replaced by a simpler Balkenkreuz. The Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic, the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, the traditional design in black is used on armored vehicles and aircraft, while after German reunification, a new design in blue and silver was introduced for use in other contexts.
The ribbon for the 1813,1870 and 1914 Iron Cross was black with two white bands, the colors of Prussia. The non-combatant version of this award had the same medal, but the black, the ribbon color for the 1939 EKII was black/white/red/white/black. Since the Iron Cross was issued several different periods of German history. For example, an Iron Cross from World War I bears the year 1914, the reverse of the 1870,1914 and 1939 series of Iron Crosses have the year 1813 appearing on the lower arm, symbolizing the year the award was created. The 1813 decoration has the initials FW for King Frederick William III, the final version shows a swastika. There was the 1957 issue, a replacement medal for holders of the 1939 series which substituted an oak-leaf cluster for the banned swastika
Captain (armed forces)
The army rank of captain is a commissioned officer rank historically corresponding to the command of a company of soldiers. The rank is used by some air forces and marine forces. Today, a captain is typically either the commander or second-in-command of a company or artillery battery, in the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army, a captain may command a company, or be the second-in-command of a battalion. In NATO countries, the rank of captain is described by the code OF-2 and is one rank above an OF-1, the rank of captain is generally considered to be the highest rank a soldier can achieve while remaining in the field. The rank of captain should not be confused with the rank of captain or with the British-influenced air force rank of group captain. The term ultimately goes back to Late Latin capitaneus meaning chief, prominent, in Middle English adopted as capitayn in the 14th century, the military rank of captain was in use from the 1560s, referring to an officer who commands a company. The naval sense, an officer who commands a man-of-war, is earlier, from the 1550s.
He would in turn receive money from another nobleman to serve as his lieutenant, the funding to provide for the troops came from the monarch or his government, the captain had to be responsible for it. If he was not, or was otherwise court-martialed, he would be dismissed, the only pension for the captain was selling the right to another nobleman when he was ready to retire. In most countries, the air force is the junior service, such as the United States Air Force, use a rank structure and insignia similar to those of the army. However, the United Kingdoms Royal Air Force, many other Commonwealth air forces, a group captain is OF-5 and was derived from the naval rank of captain. In the unified system of the Canadian Forces, the air force rank titles are pearl grey, a variety of images illustrative of different forces insignia for captain are shown below, Captain Captain Senior captain Staff captain
Greifswald, officially the University and Hanseatic City of Greifswald, is a city in northeastern Germany. It is situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at a distance of about 250 kilometres from Germanys two largest cities and Hamburg, and 80 km from the Polish border. The town flanks the Baltic Sea, and is crossed by a small river and it is located near Germanys two largest islands, Rügen and Usedom, and it is close to three of Germanys 14 national parks. It has been the capital of the newly established district of Vorpommern-Greifswald since the September 2011 district reforms, together with Stralsund, Greifswald forms one of four high-level urban centers of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The citys population was listed at 55,659 in 2013, Greifswald draws international attention due to the university, its surrounding BioCon Valley, the Nord Stream gas pipeline and the Wendelstein 7-X nuclear fusion projects. Greifswald is located in the northeast of Germany, approximately equidistant from Germanys two largest islands, Rügen and Usedom, the town is situated at the south end of the Bay of Greifswald, the historic centre being about 5 kilometres up the river Ryck that crosses the town.
The area around Greifswald is mainly flat, and hardly more than 20 metres above sea level. Two islands and Riems, are part of Greifswald. Three of Germanys fourteen national parks can be reached by car in one hour or less from Greifswald, Greifswald is roughly equidistant from Germanys two largest cities and Hamburg. The nearest larger towns are Stralsund and Rostock, the coastal part of Greifswald at the mouth of the Ryck, named Greifswald-Wieck, evolved from a fishing village. Today it provides a beach, a marina and the main port for Greifswald. Greifswald was founded in 1199 when Cistercian monks founded the Eldena Abbey, in 1250, Wartislaw III, Duke of Pomerania, granted town privileges to Greifswald according to the Lübeck law. In 1199, the Rugian Prince Jaromar I allowed Danish Cistercian monks to build Hilda Abbey, now Eldena Abbey, at the mouth of the River Ryck. Among the lands granted the monks was a salt evaporation pond a short way up the river. This site was named Grypswold, which is the Low German precursor of the modern name – which means Griffins Forest.
Legend says the monks were shown the best site for settlement by a mighty griffin living in a tree that grew on what became Greifswalds oldest street. The towns construction followed a scheme of streets, with church. It was settled primarily by Germans in the course of the Ostsiedlung, the salt trade helped Eldena Abbey to become an influential religious center, and Greifswald became a widely known market
East Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1773–1829 and from 1878–1945. East Prussia was the part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast. East Prussia enclosed the bulk of the lands of the Baltic Old Prussians. During the 13th century, the native Prussians were conquered by the crusading Teutonic Knights, the indigenous Balts who survived the conquest were gradually converted to Christianity. Because of Germanization and colonisation over the centuries, Germans became the dominant ethnic group, while Poles. From the 13th century, East Prussia was part of the state of the Teutonic Knights. After the Second Peace of Thorn in 1466 it became a fief of the Kingdom of Poland, in 1525, with the Prussian Homage, the province became the Duchy of Prussia. The Old Prussian language had become extinct by the 17th or early 18th century, because the duchy was outside of the core Holy Roman Empire, the prince-electors of Brandenburg were able to proclaim themselves King of Prussia beginning in 1701.
Between 1829 and 1878, the Province of East Prussia was joined with West Prussia to form the Province of Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia became the leading state of the German Empire after its creation in 1871. Following Nazi Germanys defeat in World War II in 1945, war-torn East Prussia was divided at Joseph Stalins insistence between the Soviet Union and the Peoples Republic of Poland, the capital city Königsberg was renamed Kaliningrad in 1946. The German population of the province was evacuated during the war or expelled shortly thereafter in the expulsion of Germans after World War II. An estimated 300,000 died either in war time bombings raids or in the battles to defend the province. Upon the invitation of Duke Konrad I of Masovia, the Teutonic Knights took possession of Prussia in the 13th century, local Old-Prussian and Polish toponyms were gradually Germanised. Its defeat was formalised in the Second Treaty of Thorn in 1466 ending the Thirteen Years War, together with Warmia it formed the province of Royal Prussia.
Eastern Prussia remained under the Knights, but as a fief of Poland,1466 and 1525 arrangements by kings of Poland were not verified by the Holy Roman Empire as well as the previous gains of the Teutonic Knights were not verified. The Teutonic Order lost eastern Prussia when Grand Master Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach converted to Lutheranism, Albert established himself as the first duke of the Duchy of Prussia and a vassal of the Polish crown by the Prussian Homage. Walter von Cronberg, the next Grand Master, was enfeoffed with the title to Prussia after the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, in 1569 the Hohenzollern prince-electors of the Margraviate of Brandenburg became co-regents with Alberts son, the feeble-minded Albert Frederick. The Administrator of Prussia, the grandmaster of the Teutonic Order Maximilian III, when Maximilian died, Alberts line died out, and the Duchy of Prussia passed to the Electors of Brandenburg, forming Brandenburg-Prussia