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Chapter 1 -- Short History of Germany & the Hildenbrand Family Early Years

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Cast of Characters
Introduction -- The Four Star German American Family
Chapter 1 -- Short History of Germany & the Hildenbrand Family Early Years
Chapter 2 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- Pre-Draft & Marraige
Chapter 3 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- June 1943 -- Basic Training
Chapter 4 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- July 1943
Chapter 5 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- August 1943
Chapter 6 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- September 1943
Chapter 7 -- Letter To Cass & Dutch -- October 1943
Chapter 8 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- November 1943 -- From U.S. to North Africa
Chapter 9 -- Letters To Cass & Dutch -- December 1943
Chapter 10 -- Letters to Cass & Dutch -- January 1944
Chapter 11 -- Letters to Cass & Dutch -- February & March 1944
Chapter 12 -- Prisoner of War Letters & Postcards -- April 1944 to January 1945
Battle of Casino
Going Home
Prisoner of War Book -- Part I
Prisoner of War Book -- Part II
Letters to Dutch & Cass From Friends/Family
Rudy's Room -- Rudy Hildenbrand -- U.S. Army Air Corps
Eric's Room -- Eric Hildenbrand -- Marines
Herbie's Room -- Herbert Hildenbrand -- Navy
Family Photos
Family Plot
Other Links of Interest
WOLF'S Room

The Rise of Bismarck and the Birth of the Second German Reich

Prussia was developing into a state of considerable strength. Frederick the Great (1740–1786) reorganized the Prussian army and defeated Maria Theresa of Austria in a struggle over Silesia. After the defeat of Napol´┐Żon at Waterloo (1815), the struggle between Austria and Prussia for supremacy in Germany continued, reaching its climax in the defeat of Austria in the Seven Weeks' War (1866) and the formation of the Prussian-dominated North German Confederation (1867). The architect of this new German unity was Otto von Bismarck, a conservative, monarchist, and militaristic Prussian prime minister. He unified all of Germany in a series of three wars against Denmark (1864), Austria (1866), and France (1870–1871). On Jan. 18, 1871, King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed German emperor in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. The North German Confederation was abolished, and the Second German Reich, consisting of the North and South German states, was born. With a powerful army, an efficient bureaucracy, and a loyal bourgeoisie, Chancellor Bismarck consolidated a powerful centralized state.

Wilhelm II dismissed Bismarck in 1890 and embarked upon a “New Course,” stressing an intensified colonialism and a powerful navy. His chaotic foreign policy culminated in the diplomatic isolation of Germany and the disastrous defeat in World War I (1914–1918). The Second German Empire collapsed following the defeat of the German armies in 1918, the naval mutiny at Kiel, and the flight of the kaiser to the Netherlands. The Social Democrats, led by Friedrich Ebert and Philipp Scheidemann, crushed the Communists and established a moderate state, known as the Weimar Republic, with Ebert as president. President Ebert died on Feb. 28, 1925, and on April 26, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg was elected president. The majority of Germans regarded the Weimar Republic as a child of defeat, imposed on a Germany whose legitimate aspirations to world leadership had been thwarted by a worldwide conspiracy. Added to this were a crippling currency debacle, a tremendous burden of reparations, and acute economic distress.

More About Pre-War Germany

Adolf Hitler and WWII

Adolf Hitler, an Austrian war veteran and a fanatical nationalist, fanned discontent by promising a Greater Germany, abrogation of the Treaty of Versailles, restoration of Germany's lost colonies, and the destruction of the Jews, whom he scapegoated as the reason for Germany's downfall and depressed economy. When the Social Democrats and the Communists refused to combine against the Nazi threat, President von Hindenburg made Hitler the chancellor on Jan. 30, 1933. With the death of von Hindenburg on Aug. 2, 1934, Hitler repudiated the Treaty of Versailles and began full-scale rearmament. In 1935, he withdrew Germany from the League of Nations, and the next year he reoccupied the Rhineland and signed the Anti-Comintern pact with Japan, at the same time strengthening relations with Italy. Austria was annexed in March 1938. By the Munich agreement in Sept. 1938, he gained the Czech Sudetenland, and in violation of this agreement he completed the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in March 1939. His invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, precipitated World War II.

Hitler established death camps to carry out “the final solution to the Jewish question.” By the end of the war, Hitler's Holocaust had killed 6 million Jews, as well as Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, the handicapped, and others not fitting the Aryan ideal. After some dazzling initial successes in 1939–1942, Germany surrendered unconditionally to Allied and Soviet military commanders on May 8, 1945. On June 5 the four-nation Allied Control Council became the de facto government of Germany.

More About WW2

TIME LINE
 
March 15, 1939 ; German troops invaded Czechoslovakia occupied Prague. two days later Chamberlain, in a public speech at Birmingham accused Hitler breaking his word.
 
March 22,1939 ; German troops occupied the old German City Memel in Lithunia, forcing that state to sign a treaty conceding Memel's  to Germany . Recogning a parallel between Memel and the old German port of Danzig in Poland.
 
March 28,1939 ; Poles announce that any German attempt to alter Danzig's status without Polish consent would lead to war.
 
March 31,1939 ; Britain extended to Poland a unilateral guarantee against German aggession. Diplmatic talks began between the west and the soviet Union.
 
THE LAST SIX MONTHS OF PEACE
 
April 7, 1939 ; Italy invades the Balkan state of Albania.
 
April 17,1939 ; Dipomatic talks begin between Germany and the Soviet Union.
 
April 28,1939 ; Hitler cancels the Anglo-German navel agreement of 1935 and the German-Polish non-aggression agreement of 1934. 
 
May 4, 1939 ; Molotov replaces Litvinov as Soviet Foreign Minister.
 
May 22,1939 ; Ribbentrop and Ciano sign the' 'Pact of Steel' to weld together Europe's strongest  Fascist dictatorships; Japan is asked to join the allianace. 
 
June  3, 1939 ;  Nazi-controlled Danzig complains of too many Polish customs officials. Poland's causic reply meet with a new barrage of Nazi propaganda an rumours of an impending Nazi coup sweep the country.
 
July 24, 1939 ; Britain,France,and Russia agree to offer mutual assistance should any of the three be attacked. But the pact is not to come into operation until corresponding military agreement are reached.
 
August 23,1939 ; Ribbentrop and Molotov sign a non-aggression pact between Berlin and Moscow. The pact includes a secret annex that divides eastern eastern Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union.
 
August 25,1939 ; Hitler schedules the attack on Poland for the next day, but revokes the orders when Mussolini informs him that Italy is not prepared for war.
 
August 31,1939 ; Hitler again orders the attack on Poland.
 
September 1,1939 ; At 0445 hours, without declaring war, Germany launches its attack on Poland.
 
September 2,1939 ; Chamberland does not withdraw the troops immediately he must consider himself at war with Britain.
 
September 3,1939 ; Hitler receives the ultimatum and ignores it. Britain is at war with Germany. 
 
 

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Dutch

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Rosa and Herbie

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Rosa, Rudolph Sr., Dutch, Eric, Rudy and Herbie, and unknown girl

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On sidestep -- Dutch and Herbie; standing -- Rudolph Sr.

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Rosa and Rudolph Sr.

Rosa (below)

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Rosa, Rudolph Sr. and unknown

Copyright James A. Hildenbrand 2009, 2010, 2011