Liberation and Death

Liberation and Death: The turning of the tide against Napoleon and the quest to re-capture Berlin from the hands of the French.

Humiliation

The Prussians had suffered the greatest of humiliations and they were dealt by the hand of Napoleon. Not just once, but time and time again Napoleon sought to break down the nation that had once, before he the French Emperor had triumphed, been the object of affections for every nation wishing to build a military of discipline. At Jena-Auerstedt, on the 14th of October 1806, forces led by Napoleon and Durat amounted to half the forces mustered together by the Prussian and Saxon alliance but had delivered such a decisive blow that Prussia’s casualties amounted to 41,000 and the French to just 12,000. But more so, with the remaining Prussian forces in retreat, and 20,000 Prussian soldiers under Blücher trapped beyond the Oder river, the way to Berlin for Napoleon was now clear.

Over the following days the French Imperial soldiers marched on. On the 16th they took Erfurt one time home of Martin Luther, on the 17th Halle fell and the Prussian Army, disorderly and clear that the former reputation that had been bestowed upon them for their triumphs in Fredrich der Große’s seven years war was now all but a ghost hanging over their shoulders, was fragmented, pitiful and inept at holding up a defence.

The 25th saw the second greatest blow that Napoleon could deliver. He marched through the Brandenburger Tor into Berlin itself. His troops filing between the columns of the gate that was quickly rising to be a symbol of Berlin. Erected by Friedrich Wilhelm II from a design by Carl Gottard Langhans and crowned by Goddess Victoria by the great sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow, it served as a ceremonial entrance way to the city, and through it not a glorious in victory Prussian army but a tired, exhausted and victorious army of the French, led by Napoleon himself. Berlin had fallen, the monarch Friedrich Wilhelm III and his wife Queen Louise had fled to Memmel as far east and as far north as one could reach in Prussian territory. And as his reward, Napoleon, would order the soldiers of the French Empire to take victoria from her perch upon the Brandenburger Tor, and carry victory home with them.

Napoleon and his troops did not take much time to rest. Blücher, in the east, was an ever present danger and a pursuit of the King and Queen should be made in order to bring them to the table and join Napoleon’s Europe.

Blücher was ultimately captured in Lubeck in November and even though the Prussian people put up a stiff resistance to Napoleon in places such as Kolberg Napoleon and his soldiers marched on. Pursuing the King and His Queen to the outer reaches of the dwindling Prussian kingdom brought the soldiers of Napoleon into conflict with the ally of Prussia in the war Russia under Alexander I.

The Russian forces were met in a draw, as Napoleon had his eyes on the true Prussian capital of Königsberg, at the town of Eylau. A draw that would prolong the war until the summer at the Battle of Friedland, 53 kilometres south of Königsberg, Napoleon once again met the forces of Alexander on the battle field. But where the first battle had been an uncharacteristic draw for the French Emperor the second was much more a return to form. The battle was beyond decisive. Again against a greater force Napoleon prevailed, in a battle won so heavily that it ended the fourth coalition that had banded together the nations against Napoleon. Russia also had to adopt Napoleon’s continental system that had been proclaimed in Berlin on the 26 of November the previous year and the treaty of Tilsit was to be signed. And here lies Prussia’s third and final blow.

On the 7th of July, to great fanfare, Napoleon and Alexander met on a purpose built raft in the river Neman. The two Emperors meeting as the King whose Kingdom had been conquered was left to watch on from the side. Even the beauty, grace, and heart of good will of the Queen, who had been prior able to soften enemies and adversaries of her husband and presented often the real power in Prussia, could not bring a favourable settlement for Prussia. It had been after-all Louise’s insistency that had brought Prussia into the coalition against the French tyrant, when her peace loving husband had favoured neutrality. The monarch was forced to watch his friend Alexander and his enemy Napoleon agree to the shredding of Prussia, the nation that his great Uncle had cemented in European history was in danger of becoming a vassal.

Queen Luise, Tsar Alexander and Napoleon in Tilsit
Queen Louise, dejected has to take the hand of the despot Napoleon.

However, eyes of greed always search for new lands to feed upon. For Napoleon he was undoubtedly master of Europe, despite resistance in the peninsula war from Britain there was little organised uprisings against his rule. But resentment within the nations that were once his enemies and had been forced to accept peace was growing. Russia had been angered when Napoleon, under his continental system which gave him power over ports and a European economy as a whole of those under it, allowed foreign ships to settle in Russian ports. It was also frustrated that its wealth of raw minerals could only be exported under the conditions of the continental system. Murmurs grew of Russian plans in creation for a war against Napoleon. Napoleon would not allow the Russians to strike first. In 1812, with the largest army ever assembled in Europe up to that point, roughly 685,000 men, gathered on the Neman river, Napoleon invaded Russia.

It was to be a disaster. When the campaign of 1812 was over, it had been a complete defeat of Napoleon. His losses were not only significant but almost total. Half a million soldiers dead. All guns lost and almost every horse perished. Napoleon had conquered Moscow, to find no one. No Emperor to great him, no soldiers defending it and the fields around it scorched and burnt so as no living thing grew on which the French could have fed themselves. The winter had claimed many, and roaming Russian Cossacks, riding out of the winter mists, had picked of the stragglers as they retreated in disarray. No campaign before had claimed such victims as Napoleon’s disastrous attack and retreat of Russia. As Napoleon’s troops crunched through the snow, with frost bitten fingers and toes, there was insurrection at home as political upheaval sought to tear Napoleon from his throne. With this news, Napoleon fled on sleigh to his capital and left Murat, King of Naples in charge of the Grand Armee on the 5th of December 1812. The order was simple, fortify along the Vistula, in the hopes that a replenished armee of men and guns could launch a new attack on Russia come the springs thaw.

Seize the moment

Napoleon freezing in the snow as his soldiers lay frozen around him

There was, however, weaknesses within Napoleon’s own armies. The Prussian king had been compelled by the Treaty of Tilsit to send corps of Prussian soldiers to participate in Napoleons disastrous campaign one of which happened to be under the Command of Johann David Ludwig Graf von Yorck. Belonging to the left wing of Napoleon’s troops and under the command of French Marschall MacDonald when the retreat of Napoleon took place, and MacDonald retreated from Kurland it left Yorck in an isolated position where he received letters from German born Russian Field Marshall Hans Karl von Diebtsch, whose father had served as Fredrich der Große’s aide de camp. Yorck was a passionate patriot, and when approached by a fellow Prussian, albeit in the service of Russia, he came to a decision.

Without the knowledge of the King they came to an agreement at Tauroggen. It was the right time to seize on the situation. It was time to bite back at the Corsican who had conquered Europe. The Prussian Corps were to become neutral as would the area between Memmel and Tilsit. Yorck was making a decision for Prussia without the King, but yet he was a Prussian patriot. He sent a letter to Friedrich Wilhelm III that read “Your Majesty,. I will willingly lay my head down to my feet if I should have been absent, I would die with the joyful reassurance that at least I had not been absent as a loyal subject and true Prussian. Now or never is the time when Your Majesty can break free from the exuberant demands of an Ally whose plans for Prussia were shrouded in a justifiable worrying darkness, if fortune had been true to him.”

Yorck, in declaring neutrality for Memmel to Tilsit left a corridor open for a Russian advance unopposed. A line that Murat in his defence along the Vistula was not in a position to guard. The King wished for Yorck to be removed from his position but Diebitsch had the runner refused entry through the lines. It was to be the turning point in Prussia’s history. The march to take back Berlin would now begin.

The news spread rapidly across the Kingdom of Prussia and was met with great excitement. The King and his court however, did not yet form an official break from France. Yorck and the King’s attempts to dismiss him provided a cover for the time being under which Yorck could be treated as a dissident whilst the Prussian court put the proceedings into place to begin a true separation from Napoleon.

In January the news reached Napoleon, he was furious, but somewhat satisfied that the King, Friedrich Wilhelm III, had sought to scold his unruly Ludwig Graf von Yorck. Yet, Napoleon’s defeat in Russia, the advancing Russian forces, and the convention of Tauroggen showed to Napoleon’s allies the weak position was in. Soon in Austria Prince Schwarzenberg was ordered to evacuate the Duchy of Warsaw in which he had been placed and return to the traditional Holy Roman Lands of Bohemia. Murat, who had been left in charge of the Grand Armee after Napoleon’s return to Paris, suddenly left to protect his Kingdom in Naples and left Eugene de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s former step-son in charge. The Vistula could not be held. Not with the gaping hole in the Northern flank and the withdrawal of the Austrian forces under Schwarzenberg. Eugene was forced to pull back his troops to the River Oder and in some cases the Elbe.

On the 22nd of January the King left Berlin for Breslau. Breslau would allow, for when the masks were thrown off, for the King to command his troops with greater efficiency, it also put himself in a safer location for when the battles that would inevitably resume would reach the gates of Berlin.

In Russia, the Prussian statesman von Stein was pushing for Tsar Alexander to continue the advance, to nip at the heals of Napoleon’s retreating army, Karl Nesselrode, a Russian-German diplomat also pushed for the goal of confining the French within the borders of France itself. The Tsar was convinced and the Russian armies would march on.

But the Russian armies were not just Russians. Diebitsch himself was a Prussian who had joined the service in Russia as had many other officers and soldiers who had wished to serve their homeland by defeating Napoleon and joining the adage of ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’

Winter's Thaw

In Berlin the ice of winter was melting as the sun began to rise higher in the sky. The long winter was beginning to abate and with the receding ice the hope of a population for liberation began to become a prospect. News had travelled fast of Graf von Yorck’s decision and in Berlin it had, quietly, been met with celebration. Rumours had spread over land, either from retreating French soldiers or by those who travelled over the long roads for trade that the Russian Cossacks were on their way.

It was within the first days of February 1813 that the two opponents had met upon a field within the Mark Brandenburg. On the 1st of February the devout supporter of Napoleon Louis-Nicolas Durat had withdrawn to Landsberg an der Warthe from Posen. His troops decimated in the winter campaign had dwindled to a mere 1500 soldiers from 71,000 when they had originally crossed the Neman and had just six guns left. The troops were left to rest as he, Durat, retreated further to the fortified city of Küstrin on the banks of the Oder. On the 3rd the soldiers were ordered to Soldin, 35km to the north west. A day was spent resting within Soldin when a new order arrived to return to Landsberg. And it was whilst upon this road that they encountered 45 Cossacks, performing the duties of being the tip of a spear that was about to strike. Prussian Military historian Carl von Plotho writes:

“The bold and daring horsemen attacked the french without counting them, and brought them into complete disorder, driving them off the road and taking 70 prisoners in the process. The French arrived in Küstrin the following evening in wild flight through the villages of Staffelde, Massin and Vietz. Marshal Davoust immediately had Colonel Durunne, who had led them, arrested: he was to be court-martialed and sentenced to death. The detachment was not admitted to the fortress as a punishment, but marched via Bärwalde and Königsberg in the Neumark to Schwedt, where it covered the crossing over the Oder for several days. There have always been several such events; they prove to us how deeply even the remnants of the French army had sunk in its courage.”

The French forces were collapsing all around. At Wrietzen, on the 15th of February, 450 soldiers of the Westphalian regiments are inside, gathered by their officers to hear rallying cries. To stirr within them the moral fortitude for victory as the 200 Cossacks under Major Konstantin von Beneckendorf approach. With great fanfare one officer points his sword to the eagle under which the soldiers had marched to Moscow and back, but the faces of the men show little hope. Suddenly at six in the evening a great cry is heard as the 200 Cossacks crest the hill. Lances had been placed around the town but they do little against the agile horses. Through the town the horses charge, the soldiers gathered in their defences are ordered to fire by their colonel but rather than the powder charge of 450 guns igniting in puffs of smoke the clatter of metal and wood on cobblestone ground is heard as every man, exhausted and already defeated throws their weapons down. An inspection of the rifles after the surrender showed that the residents of Wrietzen had, during the night, unscrewed the hammers or blocked the barrels rendering many of the 450 rifles of the Westphalian troops useless in any case.

Onwards von Beneckendorf charged in the direction of Werneuchen, 28 kilometres north east of Berlin, as his commander Colonel von Tettenborn followed with the main body of soldiers.

Marshall Augereau had been in command of Berlin since January. He had devotedly served Napoleon for many years and had numerous honours bestowed upon him such as Duke of Castiglione, in honour of his distinguished service at the battle of the same name in 1796, and now his task was once again to distinguish himself by holding onto Berlin. He dispatched on the 17th two battalions from Berlin under General Poinsot. A battle broke out at Werneuchen and von Beneckendorf retreated a short distance to the village of Hirscfelde less than a kilometre to the east as he awaited the troops of his commander Tettenborn, a Rheinlander by birth, German by education, Austrian by Military training and after the outbreak of war with Russia in 1812 had joined the Russian forces.

Naturally, with the forces of Poinsot and the recently arrived Tettenborn both located close to one another, and the cossack roaming the area between Werneuchen toward Berlin skimishes broke out. It was now that the, oft forgotten, Otto von Arnim of house Suckow, a friend of Tettenborn would fall, when a bullet penetrated his chest and he fell dead upon the earth as the first Prussian death of the liberations war. Two days later his body would be taken to the church at Werneuchen, and arrive naked, the minister who oversaw the funeral gave the body of Otto von Arnim the shirt off of his own back, before he was laid to rest in the churchyard.

The cossack forces continued to advance on Berlin as Otto von Arnim was transported to the church where a monument would be erected for him. The closer the cossacks gained toward Berlin the more fear spread amongst the French nobles who had occupied the city. For so long it had seemed that Berlin would be a safe city within the order of the Napoleonic empire. Far from the fronts on which Napoleon fought, in Spain, Italy or in Russia, but now, with the collapse and the growing speed of the Russian advance many made haste to flee the city for areas that seemed, at least for the moment, safe from the quickening enemy who was appearing all around them. Victor-Perrin, Duke of Belluno fled on the 18th, on the 19th he was followed by French Generals their adjutants and staff members, and the representative of Napoleon’s ally the Bavarian envoy Baron von Herting fled for safe heaven in Dresden.

It was also on the 18th as Victor-Perrin fled that one of the main bulks of the Russian army crossed the river Oder at Zellin, after an Ice bridge had been constructed. 2000 horses ready to be rode into battle by Russian and Prussian alike were now treading their hooves on the alt-Mark under the command of Russian, General Count Alexander Iwanowitsch Tscherneyschow. By nightfall they were in Kunersford and the next day, when the sun rose the soldiers of Tscherneyschow were marching for Berlin. That evening, the 19th, Tscherneyschow met with his subordinate Tettenborn and other officers of the now combined forces. They sat around a table numbering 12 or so. A lieutenant of the Hussar von Hobe was also present. The forces knew that Augereau had roughly 12,000 soldiers within the city of Berlin, a mixture of French and Allied troops, but a garrison of 12,000 that lacked cavalry. Word carried far that the people of Berlin were ready to throw of the shackles of Napoleon’s regime and to finally rise up. von Hobe was dispatched immediately after the meeting was drawn to a close, with 50 Cossacks under his command he was to ride into the night and set up an outpost near Hönow.

It was 7 o’clock on the 20th of February before first light had broken nights sky that General von Tscherneyschow dispatched cossacks to ride out of Alt-Landsberg where the forces had gathered to ride over the rolling hills and flat lands between the villages that scattered the Brandenburg countryside around the capital Berlin, to reconnaissance the area and to see if Augereau had taken any more steps in littering the Brandenburg countryside with French or Allied troops. From Alt-Landsberg to Biesdorf, Marzahn and Ahrensfelde the cossacks rode on their small and spritely horses. From village to village they rode, scouting for the troops that might have been waiting to surprise a major force outside of the city.

There was no troops of the enemy to be surprised by. von Hobe had relocated earlier in the morning for Malchow to position himself upon the front line and to command a watch over Heinersdorf, Weißensee and Hohenschönhausen. In Malchow he searched with some Cossacks for a cup of coffee when they stumbled over two men from Würzberg who had been dispatched to look for Cossacks but immediately surrendered with out freight as von Hobe disturbed their breakfast.

By 10 the main force, comprising two squadrons of Hussars, two of dragoons, 2 canons and a few packs of Cossacks, with Tettenborn and Tscherneyschow and its head arrived at the outpost of von Hobe at Malchow. From here they marched on the city.

The march on Berlin

The gates of Berlin were an hour away to the south. The two points that had been pinpointed to break through were the Schönhauser Tor, and Königs Tor. Tscherneyschow and Tettenborn marched on Schönhauser Tor, with three hundred Cossacks behind them. Towards the Königs Tor was sent a pack of Cossacks and their two canons, led by an adjutant to Tscherneyschow, a man formerly of Prussian service but had joined the Russians to recapture his homeland, and Captain, Karl Alexander Freiherr von Blomberg.

Alexander von Blomberg
Alexander von Blomberg

von Blomberg, a passionate poet, whose work would only be publiched after his death, joined the army in 1800, promoted to officer in 1804 served at the battle of Jena at which he was captured. With the peace that was signed in Tilsit he found his freedom once again and answer the call of Ferdinand von Schill when he called an uprising against the French by every German, for von Blomberg he found himself in prison once again. Once released from prison he quickly found his way to the Russian forces and joined becomming a captain and adjutant to Tettenborn.

At the Königs Tor, at today’s crossing between Friedenstraße and Otto-Braun Straße, von Blomberg was to penetrate the gate with the two canon and under the continued fire of the canon attack the gate, charging through it with the cossacks he had been put in charge off.

At Schönhauser Tor the attacking Cossack forces found the gate, inexplicably, wide open and quickly, without resistance it was stormed and the Cossack forces spread out into the city. Along Münzstraße and toward Alexanderplatz as from the rise behind Schonhäuser Tor Tettenborn and Tscherneyschow looked on as the cossacks flowed through the streets. But at Alexanderplatz the French were waiting, and the rifles opened fire. In the narrow streets the confusion within the Cossacks turned into panic and they fled, missing the turning to return to the Schönhauser Tor and instead continuing further into the city.

Königs Tor which the General had hoped, with the use of canons would have served as a deception, leading the French to believe that the main bulk of the forces would be centred here, had not proved successful as such. They had hoped the French forces would have been advancing on the gate as von Blomberg stormed it allowing the Cossacks to storm Alexanderplatz and sweep around the rear of the French but the deception had failed and in the attack on the Königs Tor tragedy had struck.

From the gate house, tax house and parapet the French fired down on von Blomberg and his cossacks who tried in vein to wield the two canons in their possession to fire upon the gate, but not trained as such they had failed. When canon fire had exploded near by, von Blomberg had charged mistakenly believing the gates were open. Upon his horse he rode, a handful of Cossacks following in his stead but as he approached the volley of rifle fire from on high, from French guns cut down the Cossacks around him before one French rifle found scope for von Blomberg. The shot pierced his skin and threw him from his horse, throwing him upon the ground dead, where his blood trickled between the stones.

When news reached Tscherneyschow, and with the disappointment that the hoped uprising of the people of Berlin against the French had not come to fruition, he ordered von Hobe to dismount his horse, draw his sword and rally the citizens of Berlin who had gathered around them in beginning a march through the streets that would draw out the citizens from their homes and begin the true uprising. But von Hobe, who had started the march with a hundred or so citizens found himself after a hundred paces alone, and returned to his horse embarrassed. However a certain romantisist remembered it differnetly when putting pen to paper to recount his memories of that day from behind rose tinted glasses. Georg Wilhelm Heinrich Häring, known more famously as Willibald Alexis wrote of the excitable times;

False memories

“For weeks our longing waited in vain for the liberators; already our impatience is singing to grumble and doubt. The spring sun shone brightly into our wide streets, the ice had melted, but the eagerly awaited were hesitant. Should our hope be deceived once again? Then finally it was said that the first Cossack pulks crossed the Oder at Güstebiese. Like wildfire it went through the town. They bombarded the peasants who came to the market with questions; they climbed onto the roofs of the highest houses. At the Comedy House, on the towers, the telescopes went hand in hand to see a Cossack. – How the emotions in all excited times search for a word to express the epitome of desire! We wanted freedom; but the word was denatured to us by the horrors of terrorism in Paris, also by the fact that it still resounded in the Imperial Bulletins, which still promised freedom to the peoples when the spurred hackers were already treading on the necks of those who had been overcome. We wanted freedom from the foreign yoke, the old independence, the old fame of the fatherland, its language, its customs, its institutions, our brothers, princes, memories saved. We were just missing a symbol for all this. Then we were given the word Cossack. We took it without choosing, because there was no time for that. In a famine, one falls at the feet of the first farmer who leads a ship’s guard into the starved city; one wants to give him civil crowns and erect statues. The Cossacks were a terrible thing to the French, a magic word that, when uttered, brought deathly tired people to their feet, wounded their wounds, brave warriors their eagles, rapacious people their booty, hungry the boiling cauldrons, frozen people their warming fires. Before the name of Cossack the greatest army that a conqueror since Karl and Alexander led in the field trembled! – There came a day for Berlin where every young patriotic heart leapt with joy, a day of that which we should see with our eyes, full of romance, full of daring and great terror. A stubbornness, a battle and a hunt in the middle of Berlin. The spectacle lasted a day, and those who saw some of it will not forget it through their lives. One morning, while the French occupied all the gates, the cobblestones of hoofbeats clanged. Hurrah, whip cracks, long pikes flashed, and postolanos’ shoes cracked. The Cossacks, as if shot out of the earth, were in the middle of Berlin. With triumphant mien and cheers, the sons of the steppe blasted through the populous city. With the pike in front of them, they drove the pale, tooth-rattling enemies in droves through the wide streets. Attacks, carnage, impalements before the eyes of thousands of spectators, who cheered the outrageous spectacle from the windows; guards were taken by surprise, droves of prisoners gathered. The general march whirled through the city, the barracks stared from bayonets; cannons were performed in the squares, on the bridges, in vain. Cheers, resounding laughter greeted the Cossacks, where they appeared from afar, where they turned the corner; invitations to come closer, exclamations of deceived expectations, where they continued blasting in another direction. All philistinism and all bourgeois tameness, at home and carefully tended since the old civil liberties and rights were extinguished in the Middle Ages, had disappeared that day. With brandy bottles and glasses the citizens stood before their doors, and where Cossacks passed by, they were drunk and poured. Handshakes, private highs to brother kisses. Of course the reality was far different to this romanticised account.

von Hobe was ordered to ride through the open gates into Berlin, a city in which he had once lived, and scout out the atmosphere amongst its citizens, to see if the city was indeed going to rise up against the French. Through the gate he rode and to Hackerschermarkt, at Große Friedrich Straße he met a troop of the Berlin Citizen Guard led by a master Glasier he once knew and who recognised him. Upon sight of the familiar face the master Glasier urged von Hobe not to insight the people into uprising and being drawn into the battle and that he himself had been tasked with keeping the peace. von Hobe rode on, through the streets until he finally returned to Tettenborn and Tscherneyschow.

Shortly after the French left the Landsberger Tor and began advancing on the Cossack positions on the hill toward Weißensee. A skirmish was ordered to slow down the French and to allow more time for the lost Cossacks in Berlin to escape before a retreat was ordered and the French also returned to be behind the walls and locked the gates behind them.

Over the following days a new tactic was adopted to take the surrounding area around Berlin rather than the city itself. Reinickendorf, Pankow, Schönhausen und Blankenburg were secured. Kossacks roamed into Charlottenburg and as far as Potsdamer Chaussee and on the 21. February Oranienburg was also brought under the command of the Kossacks. Even if Berlin had not been taken, it was still obvious that slowly the land around it was becoming occupied and soon, if the French were not careful they would find themselves cut off.

The Reveal

Friedrich Wilhelm III Krüger
Friedrich Wilhelm III by Krüger

Finally on the 28th of February the masks were torn off, the cloaks thrown to the ground and a treaty was signed between Prussia and Russia at Kalisz. Together they were at war with the French. The Prussian armies were released and the march on Paris could begin. By the 4th of March Berlin need not be taken anymore for under the cover of dark, the last remaining French had left through the Hallesches Tor before 6 in the morning, leaving the gates open and the city once again was free again.

On the 17th of March the King issued two appeals to his people, “To my army” and “to my people” and ended with the following words.

“This is the last decisive struggle we are engaged in for our existence, our independence, our prosperity; there is no other way but an honourable peace or a glorious downfall. You, too, would confidently look forward to this for the sake of honour, because the Prussian and the German cannot live without honour. We alone may trust with confidence: God and our firm will will give victory to our just cause, and with it a sure and glorious peace and the return of a happy time.”

Eventually on the 30th of March 1814 honour was restored to Prussia when its troops marched under von Blücher into Paris, and Blücher had the captured Erinee sent home to become victory and rest again upon the Brandenburger Tor.

Today no gate stands at Königstor, merely a wide road and St Bartholomew’s church. Yet oft forgotten a stones throw from the foot of the tower, shrouded in shrubbery lays a simple sandstone block, crowned with the helmet of a legionnaire and inscribed on a bronze plaque affixed reads simply.

“First to fall in sacrifice for German Liberation, Freiherr Alexander von Blomberg.”

For Otto von Arnim, who died near Werneunchen, and not at the gates of the capital that presented a romantic and dramatic story, he was somewhat forgotten. A stone was erected at the church where he was laid to rest in 1913, the copper plates that remembered him and those of the town that died in the swift fighting stolen sometime since the fall of the wall, and a modern plate put in its place thanks to the Deutsch-Russische Waffenbodeschaft. A memorial statue was erected by the von Arnim family also in 1913, exactly 100 years after his death, in the land at Blumberg where he fell depicting a knight on horse, however, it was used by very army under which he served and died as target practice in 1945. Thankfully it has been restored in recent times.

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