A priest or priestess, is a person authorized to perform the sacred rituals of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and one or more deities. They have the authority or power to administer religious rites, in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of and their office or position is the priesthood, a term which may apply to such persons collectively. The necessity to read sacred texts and keep temple or church records helped foster literacy in early societies. Priests exist in many religions today, such as all or some branches of Judaism, the question of which religions have a priest depends on how the titles of leaders are used or translated into English. In some cases, leaders are more like those that other believers will often turn to for advice on spiritual matters, for example, clergy in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy are priests, but in Protestant Christianity they are typically minister and pastor. The terms priest and priestess are sufficiently generic that they may be used in a sense to describe the religious mediators of an unknown or otherwise unspecified religion.
In many religions, being a priest or priestess is a full-time position, many Christian priests and pastors choose or are mandated to dedicate themselves to their churches and receive their living directly from their churches. In other cases it is a part-time role, for example, in the early history of Iceland the chieftains were titled goði, a word meaning priest. In some religions, being a priest or priestess is by election or human choice. In Judaism the priesthood is inherited in familial lines, in a theocracy, a society is governed by its priesthood. The word priest, is derived from Greek, via Latin presbyter. Old High German has the disyllabic priester, apparently derived from Latin independently via Old French presbtre, the Latin presbyter ultimately represents Greek presbyteros, the regular Latin word for priest being sacerdos, corresponding to Greek hiereus. That English should have only the term priest to translate presbyter. The feminine English noun, was coined in the 17th century, in the 20th century, the word was used in controversies surrounding the ordination of women.
In the case of the ordination of women in the Anglican communion, it is common to speak of priests. In historical polytheism, a priest administers the sacrifice to a deity, in the Ancient Near East, the priesthood acted on behalf of the deities in managing their property. Priestesses in antiquity often performed sacred prostitution, and in Ancient Greece, some such as Pythia, priestess at Delphi. Sumerian and Akkadian Entu or EN were top-ranking priestesses who were distinguished with special ceremonial attire and they owned property, transacted business, and initiated the hieros gamos ceremony with priests and kings
The Reichswehr formed the military organisation of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when it was united with the new Wehrmacht. At the end of World War I, the forces of the German Empire had mostly split up, many of them joined the Freikorps, a collection of volunteer paramilitary units that were involved in suppressing the German Revolution and border clashes between 1918 and 1923. The Vorläufige Reichswehr was made up of 43 brigades, on 30 September 1919, the army was reorganised as the Übergangsheer, and the force size was reduced to 20 brigades. About 400,000 men served in the armed forces, in May 1920 it was downsized to 200,000 men and restructured again, forming three cavalry divisions and seven infantry divisions. On 1 October 1920 the brigades were replaced by regiments and the manpower was now only 100,000 men as stipulated by the Treaty of Versailles and this lasted until 1 January 1921, when the Reichswehr was officially established according to the limitations imposed by the Treaty of Versailles.
The Reichswehr was an organisation composed of the following, The Reichsheer, an army consisting of, seven infantry divisions. General Command 1 at Berlin supervised 1st Division, 2nd Division, 3rd Division, general Command 2 at Kassel supervised 5,6,7 and 3rd Cavalry divisions. The Reichsmarine, a navy with a number of certain types of ships. The Reichswehr was limited to an army of 100,000 men. The establishment of a staff was prohibited. Heavy weapons such as artillery above the calibre of 105 mm, armoured vehicles and capital ships were forbidden, compliance with these restrictions was monitored until 1927 by the Military Inter-Allied Commission of Control. Despite the limitations on its size, their analysis of the loss of World War I, research and development, secret testing abroad and planning for better times went on. In addition, although forbidden to have a staff, the army continued to conduct the typical functions of a general staff under the disguised name of Truppenamt. During this time, many of the leaders of the Wehrmacht — such as Heinz Guderian — first formulated the ideas that they were to use so effectively a few years later.
Reflecting this position as a “state within the state”, the Reichswehr created the Ministeramt or Office of the Ministerial Affairs in 1928 under Kurt von Schleicher to lobby the politicians. The biggest influence on the development of the Reichswehr was Hans von Seeckt, after the Kapp Putsch, Hans von Seeckt took over this post. After Seeckt was forced to resign in 1926, Wilhelm Heye took the post, Heye was in 1930 succeeded by Kurt Freiherr von Hammerstein-Equord, who submitted his resignation on December 27,1933. The reduction of the strength of the German army from 780,000 in 1913 to 100,000 enhanced the quality of the Reichsheer because only the best were permitted to join the army
Anschluss is the term used to describe the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938. German spelling, until the German orthography reform of 1996, was Anschluß, the idea of an Anschluss began after the Unification of Germany excluded Austria and the Austrian Germans from the Prussian-dominated German nation-state in 1871. Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938, there had been several years of pressure from supporters in Austria and Germany for the Heim ins Reich movement. Earlier, Nazi Germany had provided support for the Austrian National Socialist Party in its bid to seize power from Austrias Fatherland Front government. Infuriated, on 11 March, Adolf Hitler threatened invasion of Austria, and demanded Chancellor von Schuschniggs resignation, Hitlers plan was for Seyss-Inquart to call immediately for German troops to rush to Austrias aid, restoring order and giving the invasion an air of legitimacy. In the face of threat, Schuschnigg informed Seyss-Inquart that the plebiscite would be cancelled.
Nevertheless, the German Führer underestimated his opposition, Schuschnigg did resign on the evening of 11 March, but President Wilhelm Miklas refused to appoint Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. At 8,45 pm, tired of waiting, around 10 pm, a forged telegram was sent in Seyss-Inquarts name asking for German troops, since he was not yet Chancellor and was unable to do so himself. Seyss-Inquart was not installed as Chancellor until after midnight, when Miklas resigned himself to the inevitable, clearly it was Hitler, and not Schuschnigg, who was terrified by the potential results of the scheduled plebiscite, and that was the best indication of where Austrians loyalty lay. The newly installed Nazis, within two days, transferred power to Germany, and Wehrmacht troops entered Austria to enforce the Anschluss, Austrian citizens of Jewish origin were not allowed to vote. No military confrontation took place, and even the strongest voices against the annexation, particularly Fascist Italy, the loudest verbal protest was voiced by the government of Mexico.
Although Austria had never been a part of the German Empire, Austria was predominantly ethnically German, prior to annexing Austria in 1938, Nazi Germany had remilitarized the Rhineland, and the Saar region was returned to Germany after 15 years of occupation through a plebiscite. In March 1939, Hitler dismantled Czechoslovakia by recognising the independence of Slovakia and that same year, Memelland was returned from Lithuania. With the Anschluss, the Republic of Austria ceased to exist as an independent state, at the end of World War II, a Provisional Austrian Government under Karl Renner was set up by conservatives, social democrats and communists on 27 April 1945. It cancelled the Anschluss the same day and was recognized by the Allies in the following months. In 1955 the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, the idea of grouping all Germans into a nation-state country had been the subject of debate in the 19th century from the ending of the Holy Roman Empire until the ending of the German Confederation.
Austria had wanted a Großdeutsche Lösung, whereby the German states would be united under the leadership of the Austrian Germans and this solution would include all the German states, but Prussia would have to take second place. This controversy, called dualism, dominated Prusso-Austrian diplomacy and the politics of the German states, by 1871, the decision was to form a kleindeutsch German Empire based on Prussia and excluding Austria
Oberst is a military rank in several German-speaking and Scandinavian countries, equivalent to Colonel. It is currently used by both the ground and air forces of Austria, Switzerland and Norway, the Swedish rank överste is a direct translation, as are the Finnish rank eversti and the Icelandic rank ofursti. In the Netherlands the rank overste is used as a synonym for a lieutenant colonel, Oberst is the highest staff officer rank in the German Army, German Air Force. On the shoulder there are three silver pips in silver oak leaves. Spelled with a capital O, Oberst is a noun and defines the military rank of colonel or group captain. Spelled with a lower case o, or oberst, it is an adjective, meaning top, uppermost, chief, first, both usages derive from the superlative of ober, the upper or the uppermost. As a family name, Oberst is common in the southwest of Germany, the name is concentrated in the north-central cantons of Switzerland. Here the Swiss version of Oberst is spelled Obrist, the name first appeared in the thirteenth century in the German-Swiss border area, and early forms were Zoberist and Oberist.
The name most likely refers to the tribe that lives the highest on the mountain or the family that lives the highest in the village, with the emergence of professional armies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, an Oberst became the commander of regiment or battalion-sized formations. By the eighteenth century, Obersten were typically afforded aides or lieutenants and this led to formation of the modern German rank of the same name, translated as lieutenant colonel. Oberst was used in the militaries of Germany and Austria during both World Wars, Oberst was used as the prefix of the now obsolete SS rank of Oberstgruppenführer. The SS Standartenführer was equivalent to an Oberst, a colonel general during the World Wars was called Generaloberst. Again, rather than literally meaning colonel general, its more accurate translation is supreme general as it was normally the highest peacetime military rank, the rank of Oberst is known in American cinema, since several popular movies have featured characters holding the rank.
Luftwaffe Colonel Klink of the television series Hogans Heroes was a caricature of such a character
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
Johannes Blaskowitz was a German general during World War II and recipient of the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves and Swords. Commander in Chief in the Occupied Poland in 1939–1940, he had written several memoranda for the German High Command protesting the SS atrocities and he was dismissed, but re-appointed, no longer calling Nazi policies into question. Charged with war crimes in the High Command Trial at Nuremberg, both the indictment and the suicide have been considered an enigma by scholars ever since, because he was acquitted on all counts and had been told to expect to be acquitted by his defense. Johannes Blaskowitz was born on 10 July 1883 in the village of Paterswalde and he was the son of a Protestant pastor, Hermann Blaskowitz, and his wife Marie Blaskowitz, née Kuhn. In 1894, Blaskowitz joined cadet school at Köslin and afterwards at Berlin Lichterfelde, in 1901, he started his military career as an officer candidate cadet in an East Prussian regiment in Osterode.
During World War I, Blaskowitz served on the Eastern and Western Fronts and was employed in the General Staff and he rose to command an infantry company by 1918, and was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery. Blaskowitzs war service secured him a place in the small postwar Reichswehr during the Weimar Republic and his attitude towards the Nazis seizure of power in 1933 was reportedly indifferent because he believed that the armed forces should be politically neutral. He commanded the army as it besieged Warsaw, after the campaign, he was awarded the Knights Cross of the Iron Cross, promoted to Colonel-General and appointed as Commander-in-Chief East in Poland on 20 October 1939. Blaskowitz was relieved of his command on 29 May 1940, in May 1944, following the appointment of Gerd von Rundstedt as Commander-in-Chief in the West, Blaskowitz was appointed head of Army Group G. This comparatively small command, consisting of the 1st Army and the 19th Army, was given the task of defending southern France from the imminent Allied invasion.
When in Normandy, he managed to convince Field Marshal Erwin Rommel that the rumours Rommel had heard about atrocities on the Eastern Front were actually true. The invasion of southern France commenced on 15 August 1944, with Operation Dragoon, though badly outnumbered and lacking air defense, brought up troops, stabilized the front, and led a fighting withdrawal to the north to avoid encirclement. U. S. Army units pursued Blaskowitzs forces up through the Vosges mountains before pausing to regroup, Blaskowitzs troops were reinforced by the 5th Panzer Army under Hasso von Manteuffel. Blaskowitz wanted to entrench his forces, but Hitler ordered him to counterattack the U. S. As a result, Hitler summarily relieved Blaskowitz, replacing him with Hermann Balck, in December 1944, Blaskowitz was recalled to his previous command and ordered to attack in the vicinity of Alsace-Lorraine in support of the ongoing Ardennes offensive. On 1 January 1945 Army Group G engaged the U. S. 7th Army during Operation Nordwind, Blaskowitz was subsequently transferred to Holland, where he succeeded Kurt Student as commander of Army Group H.
For the following three months he conducted a fighting withdrawal against the British 2nd Army, being awarded the Swords to his Knights Cross and this command was redesignated in early April 1945 and Blaskowitz became commander-in-chief of the northern part of the Netherlands. From 29 April, Blaskowitz allowed Allied airdrops of food and medicine to the Dutch civilian population in operations Manna, on 5 May Blaskowitz was summoned to the Hotel de Wereld in Wageningen by General Charles Foulkes, to discuss the surrender of the German forces in the Netherlands
Mohammed Amin al-Husseini was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in Mandatory Palestine. Al-Husseini was the scion of a family of Jerusalemite notables, who trace their origins to the grandson of Muhammad. After receiving an education in Islamic and Catholic schools, at wars end he stationed himself in Damascus as a supporter of the Arab Kingdom of Syria. From as early as 1920 he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of the 1920 Nebi Musa riots, al-Husseini was sentenced to ten years imprisonment for incitement but was pardoned by the British. In 1921 the British High Commissioner appointed him Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, during the period 1921-36 he was considered an important ally by the British Mandatory authorities. His opposition to the British peaked during the 1936–39 Arab revolt in Palestine, during World War II he collaborated with both Italy and Germany by making propagandistic radio broadcasts and by helping the Nazis recruit Bosnian Muslims for the Waffen-SS.
Also, as he told the recruits, Germany had not colonized any Arab country while Russia, on meeting Adolf Hitler he requested backing for Arab independence and support in opposing the establishment in Palestine of a Jewish national home. At the wars end he came under French protection, and sought refuge in Cairo to avoid prosecution for war crimes, in September 1948 he participated in the establishment of an All-Palestine Government. Seated in Egyptian-ruled Gaza, this government won limited recognition by Arab states but was dissolved by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1959. He died in Beirut, Lebanon in July 1974, Husseini was and remains a highly controversial figure. Historians dispute whether his fierce opposition to Zionism was grounded in nationalism or antisemitism or a combination of both, opponents of Palestinian nationalism have used Husseinis wartime residence and propaganda activities in Nazi Germany to associate the Palestinian national movement with European-style anti-Semitism.
Amin al-Husseini was born around 1897 in Jerusalem, the son of the mufti of that city and prominent early opponent of Zionism, the al-Husseini clan consisted of wealthy landowners in southern Palestine, centered around the district of Jerusalem. Thirteen members of the clan had been Mayors of Jerusalem between 1864 and 1920, another member of the clan and Amins half-brother, Kamil al-Husayni, served as Mufti of Jerusalem. He studied at the Alliance Israélite Universelle with its non-Zionist Jewish director Albert Antébi, though groomed to hold religious office from youth, his education was typical of the Ottoman effendi at the time, and he only donned a religious turban in 1921 after being appointed mufti. In 1913, approximately at the age of 16, al-Husseini accompanied his mother Zainab to Mecca, prior to World War I, he studied at the School of Administration in Constantinople, the most secular of Ottoman institutions. In November 1916 he obtained a three-month disability leave from the army and he was recovering from an illness there when the city was captured by the British a year later.
The British and Sherifian armies, for which some 500 Palestinian Arabs were estimated to have volunteered, completed their conquest of Ottoman-controlled Palestine, the post-war Palin Report noted that the English recruiting officer, Captain C. D. Nothing in his career to this point suggests he had ambitions to serve in a religious office
Western Front (World War I)
The Western Front or Western Theater was the main theatre of war during World War I. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, the tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France. This line remained unchanged for most of the war. Between 1915 and 1917 there were several major offensives along this front, the attacks employed massive artillery bombardments and massed infantry advances. However, a combination of entrenchments, machine gun emplacements, barbed wire, as a result, no significant advances were made. In an effort to break the deadlock, this front saw the introduction of new technology, including poison gas, aircraft. But it was only after the adoption of improved tactics that some degree of mobility was restored, the German Armys Spring Offensive of 1918 was made possible by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that marked the end of the conflict on the Eastern Front.
In spite of the stagnant nature of this front, this theatre would prove decisive. The terms of peace were agreed upon with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, belgiums neutrality was guaranteed by Britain under the 1839 Treaty of London, this caused Britain to join the war at the expiration of its ultimatum at 11 pm GMT on 4 August. Armies under German generals Alexander von Kluck and Karl von Bülow attacked Belgium on 4 August 1914, Luxembourg had been occupied without opposition on 2 August. The first battle in Belgium was the Siege of Liège, which lasted from 5–16 August, Liège was well fortified and surprised the German Army under von Bülow with its level of resistance. German heavy artillery was able to demolish the main forts within a few days. Following the fall of Liège, most of the Belgian field army retreated to Antwerp, leaving the garrison of Namur isolated, with the Belgian capital, although the German army bypassed Antwerp, it remained a threat to their flank. Another siege followed at Namur, lasting from about 20–23 August, for their part, the French had five armies deployed on their borders.
The pre-war French offensive plan, Plan XVII, was intended to capture Alsace-Lorraine following the outbreak of hostilities, on 7 August the VII Corps attacked Alsace with its objectives being to capture Mulhouse and Colmar. The main offensive was launched on 14 August with 1st and 2nd Armies attacking toward Sarrebourg-Morhange in Lorraine, in keeping with the Schlieffen Plan, the Germans withdrew slowly while inflicting severe losses upon the French. The French advanced the 3rd and 4th Armies toward the Saar River and attempted to capture Saarburg, attacking Briey and Neufchateau, before being driven back
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was a high-ranking German Nazi official during World War II, and a main architect of the Holocaust. He was an SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei as well as chief of the Reich Main Security Office and he was Stellvertretender Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic. Many historians regard him as the darkest figure within the Nazi elite and he was the founding head of the Sicherheitsdienst, an intelligence organisation charged with seeking out and neutralising resistance to the Nazi Party via arrests and murders. He helped organise Kristallnacht, a series of co-ordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany, the attacks, carried out by SA stormtroopers and civilians, presaged the Holocaust. Upon his arrival in Prague, Heydrich sought to eliminate opposition to the Nazi occupation by suppressing Czech culture and he died from his injuries a week later. Nazi intelligence falsely linked the assassins to the villages of Lidice, both villages were razed, all men and boys over the age of 16 were shot, and all but a handful of its women and children were deported and killed in Nazi concentration camps.
Reinhard Tristan Eugen Heydrich was born in 1904 in Halle an der Saale to composer and opera singer Richard Bruno Heydrich and his wife and his father was Protestant and his mother was Roman Catholic. His two forenames were patriotic musical tributes, Reinhard referred to the hero from his fathers opera Amen. Heydrichs third name, was his maternal grandfathers forename. Heydrichs family held social standing and substantial financial means, Music was a part of Heydrichs everyday life, his father founded the Halle Conservatory of Music and Teaching and his mother taught piano there. Heydrich developed a passion for the violin and carried that interest into adulthood and his father was a German nationalist who instilled patriotic ideas in his three children, but was not affiliated with any political party until after World War I. As a youth, he engaged his younger brother, Heinz and he excelled in his schoolwork—especially in science—at the Reformgymnasium. A talented athlete, he became a swimmer and fencer.
He was shy and was bullied for his high-pitched voice. The latter claim earned him the nickname Moses Handel, in 1918, World War I ended with Germanys defeat. In late February 1919, civil unrest—including strikes and clashes between communist and anti-communist groups—took place in Heydrichs home town of Halle, under Defense Minister Gustav Noskes directives, a right-wing paramilitary unit was formed and ordered to recapture Halle. Heydrich, 15 years old, joined Maerckers Volunteer Rifles, when the skirmishes ended, Heydrich was part of the force assigned to protect private property. Little is known about his role, but the left a strong impression
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
The German Cross was instituted by Adolf Hitler on 28 September 1941. It was awarded in two divisions, gold for repeated acts of bravery or achievement in combat, and silver for distinguished war service. The German Cross was unique in that the gold and silver divisions were considered as separate awards but were not to be worn simultaneously, pictures of recipients wearing both grades exist. The order consists of a badge, containing a swastika. It had a diameter of 6.5 cm and was worn on the side of the tunic. If a recipient had been awarded both the silver and gold divisions, the division should be worn only. Far more awards in gold were presented than in silver, specimen copies of a special grade, the German Cross in Gold with Diamonds, was manufactured in 1942 but this grade was never instituted or bestowed. In 1957 alternative de-nazified replacement versions of the German Cross were authorized for wear by the Federal Republic of Germany and this replaced the swastika with a representation of the Iron Cross for the gold division, and the War Merit Cross with Swords for the silver division.
Wearing Nazi-era decorations was banned in Germany after the war, as was any display of the swastika, the 1957 replacement of the World War II decorations consequently enabled recipients to wear the German Cross again but only in the new version of the insignia. The German Cross was disparagingly referred to as Hitlers fried egg by Colonel Hans von Luck and other officers of his acquaintance, the extent to which this nickname was used is uncertain. It been referred to in history books as the Nazi Party Badge for the near-sighted
The Sudeten crisis of 1938 was provoked by the demands of Nazi Germany that the Sudetenland be annexed to Germany, which in fact took place after the infamous Munich Agreement. Part of the borderland was invaded and annexed by Poland, when Czechoslovakia was reconstituted after the Second World War, the Sudeten Germans were largely expelled, and the region today is inhabited almost exclusively by Czech speakers. Parts of the current Czech regions of Karlovy Vary, Olomouc, Moravia-Silesia, the Celtic and Boii tribes settled there and the region was first mentioned on the map of Ptolemaios in the 2nd century AD. The Germanic tribe of the Marcomanni dominated the core of the region in centuries. Those tribes already built cities like Brno, but moved west during the Migration Period, in the 7th century AD Slavic people moved in and were united under Samos realm. Later in the High Middle Ages Germans settled into the less populated border region, in the Middle Ages the regions situated on the mountainous border of the Duchy and the Kingdom of Bohemia had since the Migration Period been settled mainly by western Slavic Czechs.
In the course of the Ostsiedlung German settlement from the 13th century onwards continued to move into the Upper Lusatia region, after the extinction of the Přemyslid dynasty in 1306, the Bohemian nobility backed John of Luxembourg as king against his rival Duke Henry of Carinthia. His son, Bohemian King Charles IV, was elected King of the Romans in 1346 and he added the Lusatias to the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, which comprised large territories with a significant German population. In the hilly border regions German settlers established major manufactures of forest glass, the situation of the German population was aggravated by the Hussite Wars, though there were some Germans among the Hussite insurgents. The city of Prague had a German-speaking majority from the last third of the 17th century until 1860, from the Luxembourgs, the rule over Bohemia passed through George of Podiebrad to the Jagiellon dynasty and finally to the House of Habsburg in 1526. Both Czech and German Bohemians suffered heavily in the Thirty Years War, Bohemia lost 70% of its population.
From the defeat of the Bohemian Revolt that collapsed at the 1620 Battle of White Mountain, during the subsequent Counter-Reformation, less populated areas were resettled with Catholic Germans from the Austrian lands. Also in 1749 Austrian Empire enforced German as the language again. Emperor Joseph II in 1780 renounced the coronation ceremony as Bohemian king, German cultural influence grew stronger during the Age of Enlightenment and Weimar Classicism. The Bohemian Kingdom remained a part of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary until its dismemberment after the First World War, in the wake of growing nationalism, the name Sudetendeutsche emerged by the early 20th century. Of these three terms, only the term Sudetendeutsche survived, because of the ethnic and cultural conflicts within Bohemia, thirty-four of each 1,000 inhabitants were killed. Austria-Hungary broke apart at the end of World War I, late in October 1918, an independent Czechoslovak state, consisting of the lands of the Bohemian kingdom and areas belonging to the Kingdom of Hungary, was proclaimed.
The German deputies of Bohemia and Silesia in the Imperial Council referred to the Fourteen Points of U. S, on 20 September 1918, the Prague government asked the United Statess opinion for the Sudetenland