Total Pageviews

Sunday, November 1, 2015

GAWA Day #46: Germany, the Nazi Years and the Main-Danube Canal

There are three parts to my posting today:

  1. Germany versus the USA.
  2. Tour of Nazi Nuremberg
  3. The Main-Danube Canal
Everyone already knows a lot about Germany.  Here's a comparison of our two countries:

                                             USA                      Germany

Age of consent                     18                             14
Drinking age                         21                             16
Chief Executive         Barack Obama           Joachim Gauck (huh??)
#2                                  Joe Biden                Angela Merkel (hmmmm..)
GDP                            $16.8 trillion               $3.73 trillion
Military as % of GDP       3.8%                          1.3%
Population                   316 million                    81 million
Homicides/100M               4.7                                0.8
Life expectancy                 79                                 81
CO2 emission/capita         18                                  9

If you lived in Germany, another comparison with the USA:
  • 89% less likely to be in prison
  • 82% less likely to be murdered
  • 84% less likely to have AIDS
  • consume 50% less oil
  • spend 47% less on health care
  • use 41% less electricity
Germany is 85% the size of California, and here is a comparison with Japan, which has a population of 127 million (USA 319 million, Germany 81 million):

Want more?  Click on this.

My big tour of the day was to Nazi Nurnberg, or Nazi Nuremberg.  The city has long been pivotal in history, for this was the the center of the German Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. Martin Luther founded the Protestant Reformation in the early 1500's, and the Peace of Nuremberg came in 1532, unlinking to Papal Supremacy.

The Holy Roman Empire was the First Reich (empire or kingdom or realm--flag to the right), from 926 to 1806.  Then came the Second Reich, 1871 to 1919.  After the 2nd World War, the Weimar Republic was not a reich, but Hitler founded the Third Reich in 1933, and selected Nuremberg as the headquarters.  This was also the major production site of airplanes, submarines and tanks.  Why it took so long is written in  history, but on 2August1945, this medieval city was totally destroyed in one hour by Allied bombers. The Third Reich also came to an end.  You'd never notice, but there is no evidence of war here, for everything was not only rebuilt, but replicated.

For a variety of reasons, one being a central location away from Berlin (too complicated with too many nations involved) and Munich (too south), and another because of the fact that the major courthouse survived the bombing, the first Judgement at Nuremberg of German officials involved with the Holocaust, occurred here.  Rotten Tomatoes gave this 1961 film 90%/93% ratings.  Here are before and after shots of Courthouse 600:

All the leaders, Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels, of course, had already committed suicide before this military tribunal, and the 24 war criminals included Herman Goring and Rudolph Hess (although in 1941 he had flown to Scotland to broker a peace, was imprisoned then and sentenced to life in prison at this trial).  The deliberations began on 20November1945, judgments were made by 1October1946 and the ten of the twelve sentenced to death were hanged on 16October1946.  Martin Bormann had already committed suicide before the proceedings and Hermann Goring committed suicide the night before the execution. Two were acquitted.

We made two additional stops.  Here is Hitler's Nazi (which, by the way, comes from the early part of his party's name, which sounds like NAZI) gesamtplan for activities just outside of Nuremberg:

Below, the Zeppelin field, the grounds where Hitler held all his major public rallies, the site of the ultimate propaganda film, Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will (here is a 100 minute version with English subtitles):

See way in the background where you can imagine Hitler is standing?  This is a photo I took today of half that staging area:

There was a huge swastika, which was blasted off after the war:

The swastika has had a 5000 year Hindu history, and Himmler probably had most to do with selection as the Nazi symbol, interpreting the Sanskrit word "arya" as supreme resembling Aryan, and supreme race:

The third stop was close by, something prosaically called the Documentation Center.  Hitler had begun to build a huge coliseum to seat 400,000, but the war brought construction to a halt.  Attempts have been made to convert this structure into a shopping complex or a stadium, but the prevailing sense is to leave it alone as a testament of Nazi hubris.  The Center is located in a portion of this giant building.

This is a fascinating tourist attraction that provides a comprehensive history of how Hitler rose, World War II details, and the aftermath, including the Nuremberg Trials.  I think it's free (Tauck pays for everything), but it's possible non-Tauck visitors had to pay 5 Euros for an excellent listening paddle.  I could have spent many hours here, something I could not have survived in all those churches, old palaces and castles we've thus far endured.  (I might later add a couple of photos anyway.)

Finally, focusing on the canal that connected the Main and Danube Rivers, allowing cruises of this sort from Budapest to Amsterdam to occur, Charlemagne first tried 1200 years ago, but quickly failed after one year. A ten-year effort by King Ludwig I succeeded in 1846 with a 110-mile canal between Aschaffenburg and Bamberg.  However, ships had to navigate through 100 locks on the 110-mile, 47-hour journey.  By 1850 trains made this canal largely obsolete.

A whole new project was nevertheless initiated in 1922, and after 40 years, finally finished in 1962.   Then in 1992 the 106 mile long Europa (also known as the Rhine-Main-Danube, etc.) Canal connected the Danube to the Main at Nurnberg and on to Kelheim.  Now good-sized ships could navigate from the North Sea and Atlantic to the Black Sea and back.  I asked what did this final link cost, and a figure of around $10 billion in 2015 dollars was mentioned.

This was not only a dredging operation, for the rivers were at different elevations.  The high cost had to do with building locks:

Our ship was traveling upstream until we reached that peak yesterday, and it will be all downstream now into Amsterdam.  River ships have problems when it rains too much or not enough.  We had to accelerate our schedule to pass through a certain point, for this October was very dry.  We will pass through 68 locks from Budapest to Amsterdam.

You ask, how do locks work?  Well, consider sailing to a waterfall.  How do you go up or down safely?  First you construct a chamber into which the ship can enter, with sliding doors so that you can raise and lower the water level, sort of like an elevator for humans. You  might also build hydroelectric power plants to regain back some energy, and supplemental side chambers to conserve water.   Individual locks go up and down as much as 82 feet. That second Panama Canal now close to being finished uses the technology utilized here.

Tomorrow, the modern Nuremberg and a lot info about beer.

Tropical Cyclone Chapala is now at 120 MPH, but weakening, and will pass south of All Mukalla in Yemen.  The rainfall should be so significant that a year or two worth might fall just in a few hours.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Big news today, Norm Chow got fired