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Vol. 9 No. 1 A NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GERMAN-AMERICANS OF UPSTATE NEW YORK
AUSTRIA • GERMANY • LIECHTENSTEIN • SWITZERLAND

February - March - April 2021 Issue

by Martin Ederer

2021 marks the 150th anniver-
sary of the unification of Ger-
many as a modern nation-
state. That may strike many as unbe-

lievable. Certainly there is an old,

even ancient, German history. The

Romans knew about the German

tribes and did battle with many of

them. After Roman rule fell apart in

western Europe, Germans started

establishing kingdoms, but still

A German postage stamp commemorates 50th anniversary on TV of these were decentralized enterpris-
Tatort - crime show, as part of “German TV Legends” postal series.
es: one tribe – one kingdom.

When the Germans got better at

- Germany’s 50-year-old unity, the result was the Holy Ro-
TV show is going strong
man Empire in various incarnations.
by Daniel Schwarz
During the Middle Ages there were
Would you watch a weekly crime drama series on TV that takes
place in different cities throughout our country? Also, how rulers with the title “King of Germa-
ny” and there were German emper- January 18, 1871: The proclamation of the German Empire in the
about with their local police department actors, rather than one
ors through the Middle Ages and Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. Bismarck appears in white.
set of actors common to all shows? This sounds like a different show each
well beyond. But despite the im- The Grand Duke of Baden stands beside Wilhelm, leading the cheers.
week, but with a common theme of a homicide investigation. Well, this is
pressive hype, the more durable po- Crown Prince Friedrich, later Friedrich III, stands on his father's
the TV show that is very popular in Germany. Even the title of Tatort,
litical reality was decentralized rule. right. painting by Anton von Werner
means “crime scene” in German.
Real power lay in the hands of tary budget or make them risk look- upstart Prussian unification
What may be even more note- regional public companies. It has dukes, princes and counts. ing unpatriotic. schemes) to at least sign military
worthy is that this German language even been extended to broadcasting assistance alliances with Prussia.
TV show has been on the air contin- corporations of Austria and Ger- The first glimmers of any real The first risk was a joint opera-
uously since 1970! There are about man-speaking Switzerland. impulses to adopt centralized mon- tion with Austria to prevent Den- Sixth, this paved the way for
30 new episodes per year, plus re- archy came as a result of the Thirty mark from annexing Schleswig and Prussia to create the North German
peats. Some Germans follow this Some of the largest cities that Years’ War from 1618-1648. Frag- Holstein. This was the Danish War Confederation in 1867. The major
show enthusiastically, almost cult- have Tatort filmed include: Ham- mentation meant vulnerability. The of 1864. Denmark lost. Prussia got power behind it: Prussia. A big
ish, every Sunday evening during burg, Bremen, Dortmund, Cologne, Habsburgs created a powerful custody of Schleswig, and Austria piece of central Europe had been
prime time at 8:15 p.m. for the 90 Baden-Baden, Saarbrücken, Mu- duchy of Austria and the House of got custody of Holstein. unified.
minute show. Being this long, it is nich, Vienna, and Lucerne just to Hohenzollern cobbled together
almost movie-length, and rated TV- name a few. Although, over the Brandenburg-Prussia. The rest of Then Bismarck provoked war Seventh – and this is almost a
14. years these popular venues and oth- the 300-some odd states simply car- with Austria over a technicality footnote: Bismarck finally got his
er cities and towns have had multi- ried on. amidst complicated diplomacy. military budget passed in Prussia.
Some think of this show as a ple shows filmed there. Prussia defeated Austria in the Aus- The monarchy had tamed the Land-
cultural phenomenon because it ex- The next wakeup call spoke tro-Prussian War of 1866. This war tag, the liberals and the socialists.
poses the viewer to local architec- The shows’ 50th anniversary on French. By 1806 Napoleon had had significant diplomatic fallout.
ture, historical sites, as well as the the air in Germany was celebrated pulled the plug on the Holy Roman The conservative monarchist
regional customs, foods, and even this past November 2020. During Empire and had reduced both Aus- First, Prussia had eclipsed Aus- Bismarck was delivering what the
their local German dialects (mun- this 50 year time frame over 1100 tria and Prussia to puppet states. The tria as the premier German-speaking nationalists could not deliver on
dart). Many episodes also deal with Tatort episodes have been broad- result was a powerful nationalist power. their own: the chance for German
social and political issues of the day. cast. impulse – that still limped because unification. The Austro-Prussian
nobility did not like the liberal poli- Second it blunted the diplomatic War was a glorious little war with
At 90 minutes long, it allows If you have an interest to view tics of the nationalists. prestige of both Austria and France. little risk and a huge payoff.
each show to develop the characters some, or really get into watching
in depth with the planning, execu- this drama series, you can. Select Nationalists insisted on pestifer- Third, it forced Austria to make Then a new crisis presented it-
tion, and consequences of the crime shows are available on YouTube. ous things like constitutions and concessions to its other ethnicities. self. This one showed promise for
and its punishment. Each episode is Then there are several streaming TV parliamentary representation. Even As a result of this war, Austria cre- getting all the Germans together.
not dependent on previous shows, services available including: Roku, nationalist attempts to unify Ger- ated its dual empire of Austria-Hun-
thereby being interesting even for Apple, Xfinity, and MHz Choice via mans after the Revolutions of 1848 gary in 1867 to placate the In 1870 a potential conflict with
occasional viewers. Some viewers Amazon Prime video channels. ultimately went nowhere. But there Hungarians who were seeking au- France erupted over the possibility
limit their viewing to films only in These are not free, but trial sub- was a growing consensus that Aus- tonomy. of a Hohenzollern candidate to the
their region, or favorite places, or scription offers are available. These tria was a case by itself and would throne of Spain. Fearing being
even specific actor teams. Due to its services allow you to watch some of have to be left to its own devices. Fourth, Italy gained the Veneto trapped between Hohenzollern
format and popularity, it easily be- the world’s best mysteries, dramas Austria – with all its ethnicities with from (and at the expense of) Aus- Spain and Prussia’s North German
comes conversation fodder. and comedies with easy-to-read their own nationalist movements – tria. Confederation in a Hohenzollern
English subtitles. Tatort is available stood to lose too much if it encour- sandwich, France reacted angrily.
This show is shown on Germa- as part of these platforms. aged any nationalism. Germany Fifth, the war gave Bismarck
ny’s national channel Das Erste. It enough diplomatic leverage to get continued on page 2
is on the public broadcasting televi- During these COVID times, the southern German states (Catho-
sion channel ARD, which is jointly maybe this is something to look into lic and uninterested in joining any
produced by the nine Germany’s to help broaden your entertainment
options. would have to be a

separate entity.

The figure who

finally unified Ger-

many was Otto von

Bismarck, the very

conservative and

equally pragmatic

chancellor of Wil-

helm I of Prussia.

He was mainly in-

terested in neutral-

izing liberals and

socialists in the

Prussian Landtag.

The battle he

used to neutralize

them was to force

them to support a

military spending

bill they refused to

approve in 1862. To

DO YOU KNOW who is the “mother of the California ripe olive that end he took cal- Cartoon from 1867 making fun of Bismarck's different roles, from general to minister
industry”? Learn about this German American woman on page 8. culated military of foreign affairs, federal chancellor, hunter, diplomat and president of the parlia-
risks to force them ment of the Zollverein, the Prussian-dominated German customs union
to support the mili-
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