Blogging on Germany: REGENSBURG, BONN, BERLIN the 70’s
Carter was President and making a mess of things. He didn’t figure it out until his buddy Brezhnev double crossed him by invading Afghanistan. The Brezhnev doctrine stated that it was the duty of all socialist nations to aid brother socialist nations facing reforms or threats to communist rule. Strobe Talbot said in Time magazine, it was a war the Afghans could never win. Jack Matlock, whom Katie and I would meet our senior year at Vanderbilt at the impact symposium had a different idea. He would also become ambassador to the Soviet Union. We also met a funny man from Texas who said he had run the CIA and been US ambassador to China–George HW Bush.
Carter ended up pulling us out of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. I guess the Pashtu’s aren’t the Hungarians and Afghanistan isn’t a flat country you can just run over with tanks in a few hours. Obama I hope you are listening. The Germans were alienated and thinking of deploying their own nuclear missiles and neutron bomb. Daily propaganda broadcasts came from over the Iron curtain from Czechoslovakia and Radio Luxembourg (Pirate Radio). America did its part with Radio free Europe.
If you’ve been reading my BLOG you know I lived in Germany.
My first time in Germany was in 1975. I took the train from Paris through Belgium and Aachen to Cologne. We took a Rhine cruise from Cologne to Mainz and then went to Heidelberg and Lucerne in Switzerland by bus. We ran into the health teacher and her husband from my high school. We had not arranged it. They were celebrating their wedding anniversary. I have always loved that stretch of the Rhine. I even took my parents and my wife there on separate trips. One of my first paintings was of the Rhine a huge mural which now hangs in my basement. When I was in high school the German club painted another mural on the wall in my classroom.
1977 August Leave for Regensburg. Eight of us left Chicago for Reykjavik and Luxembourg via Icelandic Airlines and then on to Regensburg by train after a few days of sightseeing in Luxembourg. The allied military cemetery is very impressive as is the rock fortress, the rock of the bock.
I learned a very import word in German umsteigen it means change trains that is get off of the train you are on walk to another platform with your luggage and change to a different train.
Lived in Regensburg Germany in Bavaria for a year studying Chemie, Germanistik and Philologie (linguistics) and Arabic because Chinese was offered at the wrong time. I believe in taking advantage of every opportunity as it presents itself. I continue this philosophy to this day. My specialty is starting new things. I’m the one to ask what to do when you don’t know what to do.
During the American occupation of Germany after the second world war there was a feeling that elitist tendencies among universities in Germany had contributed to the rise of Hitler. To counter this the Americans demanded a radical increase in the number of universities; thus in a country that had about a dozen universities before the war there were now to be 20 or so in Bavaria alone.
Thus although Regensburg is one of the five oldest cities in all of Germany its University was started in 1965 with the first lectures held in 1967. Plans for a University at Regensburg had been discussed as early as the 17th century and before. Thus the University of Regensburg now 40 years old I was a student there in 1977 when it was just 10 years old and everything was brand new. There was no MacDonald’s in Regensburg at the time and the A3 Autobahn had not been built and was just in the planning stages.
Regensburg has a town charter dating from 179 ad from Marcus Aurelius. It was originally a Roman garrison on the Danube, Castra Regina in the Roman colony of Rhaetia with its capital in Augsburg. Regensburg did not suffer much bombing damage during the war and is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Germany. Regensburg became a bishopric in the early 8th century.Regensburg was a major city in Germany in Europe by the 10th century. By the 1100’s with the only bridge over the Danube it was making a fortune on salt trade with Kyiv and Venice, until the Mongol invasion put an end to that. The richest woman in Europe Gloria von Thurn und Taxis lives in a castle in Regensburg. The current pope Benedict XVI is from Regensburg. His brother still lives there and was the director of the cathedral choir for many years.
Holy Roman Empire Imperial Diet meets in Regensburg for 150 years.
Protestant Reformation N. Germany the 30 years war was a disaster for Germany
Napoleonic Wars Napoleon is wounded here for the first and only time. He took a bullet in the knee.
He levels half of Regensburg in revenge. That’s the part east of Maximillianstr. dating from 1807 that’s the “new” part of the city. Robert Browning memorialized it in famous poem.
Bonn is the capital of divided Germany. It is a city on the Rhine. It has a University and is the home of Ludwig von Beethoven. It is not far from Cologne home of the great gothic cathedral and Conrad Adenauer the father of modern Germany.
November Berlin This month our group made a trip to the divided city of Berlin. About 30 of us. Sharon had to stay behind because her father is in the military. Fears of blackmail, kidnapping and the like. Because our director is German we have to cross into East Berlin at Friederichstr. Or Checkpoint alpha. Checkpoint Charlie is for Americans only. I’ll cross back into West Berlin there later that night.
Berlin is dived into four zones of occupation since the end of WWII, British, American French and Russian, Since 1949 the French British and American zones have been untied into the free city of West Berlin. The German government has subsidized our trip lest people abandon the citizens of W. Berlin which lies well into the territory of East Germany.
When my parents visit me in the Spring we visit West Berlin and then Drive to Potsdam and Dresden. It takes hours to cross the border into the DDR in our car. We also visited Prague and Vienna on that trip. I was ready this time. Munich, Salzburg (were I spent my 21st birthday), the Black Forest, Stuttgart–the ancestral home of my great-grandmother, Trier and the Rhine and Regensburg of course.
Staying at a German Gasthaus way out on the Heerstrasse. Our director has negotiated to get one bath per day instead of once a week, including breakfast.
Amsterdam visiting with Ted D.
Vienna—Fall 1977 didn’t meet Gigi there it was too soon
Wien, Austria visited twice that spring 1978
1978 Easter City of Aachen home of Charlemagne.
April Berlin I liked it so much I took my parents
Nuernberg met my Granparents and took them to Regensburg by train with their friends the Smiths
ITALY:Trieste, Verona, Bologna, ARCO Lake Garda, Roma
1988 ACHEMA Frankfurt a M
1989 Envitech Duisburg/Duesseldorf
1991 ACHEMA Frankfurt a M again
Flew to Berlin via Hamburg from Atlanta then on to FFM by train
1999 Berlin Kiel, Ostseekanal Rostock
- Regensburg, Bavaria: My German Home (markalmquist.wordpress.com)
- Ted Gast is an American artist (mysterysim.wordpress.com)