Famous Germans Tips

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Who was Theodor Heuss?

Theodor Heuss

Theodor Heuss (1884 - 1963) was a member of the German Democratic Party (DDP) in the Weimar Republic. He was twice elected to parliament. He taught at the Hochschule fuer Politik, Berlin, from 1920 - 1933. Banned from writing by the Nazis, he continued publishing using a pseudonym. After the war, he became the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949. He was re-elected in 1954 for the Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Who was Willy Brandt?

Willy Brandt

Willy Brandt (1913-1992) was a German politician, whose leadership was vitally important for the development of the Bundesrepublik Deutschland into a world power after World War II. Brandt became a socialist in 1930. He had to flee to Norway to escape the Nazis, whom he openly criticized. On his return to Germany in 1945, he was elected into the new government for his party, the Social Democrats (SPD). He was mayor of West Berlin from 1957 to 1966. In 1969 he was elected chancellor. He played a major role in the relaxation of tension between Eastern and Western Europe (Ostpolitik). In 1971, he helped to establish the unimpeded flow of traffic between East and West Berlin. He won the Nobel Prize for his political achievements.

Who was William II?

William II

Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia (1859-1941) became emperor of Germany and king of Prussia in 1888. His politics were aimed at transferring Germany to a major industrial state. He progressed an affinity with Britain (he was directly related to the rulers), but enforced a strong competition over territories abroad. His view on foreign policies was often confused and contradictory. His blunders culminated in World War I. After the war, there was a lot of unrest among the German people, and Wilhelm was forced to abdicate on November 9, 1918.

Who was Lucas von Cranach?

Lucas von Cranach

Lucas von Cranach, the elder (1472 - 1553), was a famous German painter and etcher. He was a supporter of the reformation and painted at the Grand Duke of Saxony's court.

Who was Rosa Luxemburg?

Karl Liebknecht

Karl Liebknecht (1871 - 1919) was a radical social democrat and head of the Spartakusbund (together with Rosa Luxemburg). The Spartakusbund was a radical social movement with plans to overthrow the government. It was the basis of the communist party of Germany (KPD). Liebknecht was arrested and murdered by Freikorps troops in Berlin in 1919.

Who was George Grosz?

George Grosz

George Grosz was born in Berlin in 1893. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dresden and became an expressionist painter and illustrator. He is famous for his highly satirical drawings and caricatures. When the Nazis came to power, Grosz, who had been one of the first German artists to openly criticize Adolf Hitler, emigrated to the United States. He continued to draw, started working in oils and became an arts teacher. He returned to Berlin in 1959 as an American citizen, but died shortly afterwards.

Who is Cosima Wagner?

Cosima Wagner

Cosima Wagner was married to German composer Richard Wagner for 15 years. They had several children. Her journals were published after her death.

Who was Richard Wagner?

Richard Wagner's Life

Richard (Wilhelm) Wagner was born in. Leipzig on 22 May 1813 and died in Venice on 13 February 1883. He started composing in 1828. In 1832, he conducted an orchestra for the first time. By 1833, he had turned his attention to opera ("Die Feen"). He also began explaining his theories in print, before acting them out in music, which was unusual for the time. He became an opera conductor in Magdeburg, where he finished "Das Liebesverbot" in 1836. In the same year, he married the actress, Christine Wilhelmine `Minna` Planer. The following years were marked by frenetic writing, composing, conducting and traveling within Europe. A major work of this period is the opera "Der Fliegende Hollaender"(1841). In 1942, Wagner accepted the position of a co-music director at the Dresden court. There he composed "Tannhaueuser und der Sängerkrieg auf Wartburg", which premiered in 1845. He began "Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg" in the same year (for a full list of Wagner`s compositions, visit my sites of the week).

In 1849, revolution came to Dresden. Wagner fled to Zuerich via Paris and Weimar. He started composing the music for his largest opera project, "Der Ring der Nibelungen" in 1850. This kept him busy until 1857. The same year, he started work on "Tristan und Isolde", which was completed in 1859. After a musical fiasco in Paris, Wagner went to Karlsruhe in 1861, leaving his wife behind. The following years were marked by financial difficulties and enormous debts. His creditors hounded him through half of central Europe.

In 1864, Ludwig II, King of Bavaria (b. 1846), who had admired Wagner since he was a boy of 15, installed the composer in Munich. There he was joined by Cosima von Buelow (b. 1837), daughter of Franz Liszt and wife of Munich music director, Hans von Buelow. Ludwig and Richard planned the building of a festival theater for Wagner's operas in Munich. However, when the plans were completed three years later, the project had to be abandonned. Wagner`s conceited manners and flamboyant lifestyle, financed by the King, had not only enraged the people of Munich, but also the Bavarian government bureaucracy. Under massive pressure, Ludwig II was forced to banish Wagner in 1865, but he remained loyal until the composer`s death. In January 1866 Wagner`s wife, Minna, died in Dresden. Between 1869 and 1874, Wagner composed "Die Goetterdaemmerung" and returned to "Siegfried". He had three children with Cosima: Isolde (1865), Eva (1867), and Siegfried (1869). He married Cosima in 1870. The next year, he decided to build his festival theater in Bayreuth, which Ludwig II helped finance. It opened in summer 1876. He finished his last work, "Parsival" in 1882. He died of a heart attack in 1883

Who was Rosa Luxemburg?

Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg (1870 - 1919) was a socialist politician, an advocate of social revolution and head of the Spartakusbund (together with Karl Liebknecht). She wrote "die Akkumulation des Kapitals" (1913) and "Das Kommunistische Manifest" in 1918. She was arrested and murdered by Freikorpstroups in Berlin in 1919.

Where can I find biographies and quotes of famous Germans?

Biographies and quotes

Interested in famous quotes and biographies of German celebrities? You'll find a ton of information here:


Who was Thomas Mann?

Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann (1875-1955), German novelist and essayist, was born in Luebeck. He went into emigration during the Nazi period. He is best known for the following works:

1) Buddenbrooks (1901)
2) Toni Kroeger (1903)
3) Der Tod in Venedig (1912)
4) Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen (1918)
5) Der Zauberberg (1924)
6) Four Joseph novels (1933-43)
7) Dr. Faustus (1947)
8) Die Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1929.

Who is Hans von Buelow?

Cosima Wagner and Hans von Buelow

Cosima Wagner was married to conductor Hans von Buelow when she met Richard Wagner, promptly fell in love and divorced husband no. 1. At that time a scandal.

Where can I learn more about Richard Wagner´s life?

Wagner Sites on the web

Richard Wagner on the Web

Impressive collection of information on the life, works, and music of Richard Wagner, including selected lists and reviews of currently available books and CDs. With a FAQ section and a message board. In English.

The Richard Wagner Archive

Another comprehensive Wagner resource, with plenty of information on his life and music, plus special emphasis on Wagner's writings, letters, quotations, contemporary literature, Wagner studies, and an excellent link section.

Who was Ludwig II?

Ludwig II

Ludwig II of Bavaria (1845-86) became king of Bavaria at an early age (1864). He was more interested in art and music than in politics. He is remembered for his support of the German composer Richard Wagner, whom he subsidized. He also had numerous buildings and castles constructed. Examples are Castle Herrenchiemsee (a copy of the palace of Versailles) and Castle Neuschwanstein (a replica of a medieval castle). These expenditures led to heavy debts. In 1886, the fairytale king was forced to abdicate. Ludwig was also declared insane. Plagued by hallucinations and trapped in a make-believe world, within a week of his deposition he was found drowned in Starnberg lake for reasons unknown.

Who are the new social philosophers?

Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969) started out as a music & theater critic in Frankfurt. After joining the Institut fuer Sozialforschung, he emigrated to New York in 1937. Taught at Columbia & worked with Max Horkheimer. Major works: Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), The Authoritarian Personality (1950). Subjects: social philosophy, prejudice and fascism, mass culture as manipulation, avant-garde art.

Souce: The Weimar Republic Sourcebook. Full info under "books and dictionaries".

What is the connection between the Wagners and LudwigII?

Ludwig II and the Wagners

Ludwig II liked the music of Richard Wagner since he was 12. As soon as he became king, he sent for the Wagner family and supported them financially until Wagner's death in 1983.

Who are the main characters in Goethe´s Faust?

Symbolism in Goethe's Faust

The drama concerns an attempt of the devil to capture the soul of Faust. Its second part is very complex and involves obscure symbolism, e.g. the figure of Helen (with its origin in the great Greek tragedies) and Euphorion (Lord Byron idealised). The Helen incident was first published by Goethe as an original poem. We also find personified virtues, such as Care, who attacks and blinds Faust. Ironically, Faust succumbs to the devil after he has mended his ways. Thus, his soul is borne away by angels before the devil can claim him.

Who were Cosima Wagner´s parents?

Cosima Wagner's parents

Cosima Wagner was the daughter of composer Franz Liszt and a French woman. She inherited a talent for music and played the piano.

Where can I find biographies of famous Germans?


Interested in the biographies of famous Germans? Check out this search engine:


Where can I learn more about the life of Richard Wagner?

Wagner Sites on the web

Richard Wagner on the Web

Impressive collection of information on the life, works, and music of Richard Wagner, including selected lists and reviews of currently available books and CDs. With a FAQ section and a message board. In English.

The Richard Wagner Archive

Another comprehensive Wagner resource, with plenty of information on his life and music, plus special emphasis on Wagner's writings, letters, quotations, contemporary literature, Wagner studies, and an excellent link section.

Who is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe?

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe (1749-1832), author of "Faust", is considered to be one of Germany's major classical authors. Throughout his life he was interested in a variety of studies and pursuits, including painting, scientific research, writing and traveling. He also made important discoveries in connection with plant and animal life. His literary output includes poetry, novels and dramas. Goethe is best known for the following works:
- Goetz von Berlichingen, 1773, a drama
- Die Leiden des Jungen Werther, 1774 (an epistolary novel)
- Farbenlehre (Treatise on Color), 1810
- Italienische Reise, 1816-17
- Faust, a drama, completed 1832
Goethe is associated with "Sturm und Drang", German classicism and the "Bildungsroman".

Who was Kurt Tucholsky?

Kurt Tucholsky

Kurt Tucholsky (1890 - 1935) moved to Berlin in 1918 after serving on the Eastern Front in World War I. He wrote satirical pieces for cabarets and worked as a journalist at "Die Weltbuehne". He was critical of culture, literature, German militarism and nationalism and the emerging Nazism. He lived in Paris from 1924 - 1928 and in Sweden from 1929 - 1932. He was expatriated in 1933. He committed suicide. - Tucholsky is one of the most outstanding authors Germany has ever produced. Even today, his writings have not lost their actuality, and his insights in the problems and follies of modern life are fresh and interesting. Tip: Try to get your hand on a collection of short stories first, then go on from there.

Where can I find sites about Goethe?

Goethe Links on the Internet

Gonçalo L. Fonseca's Goethe page:
A Goethe biography in English including descriptions of major works and lots of links -


The Goethe Society of North America:
A thoroughly researched Goethe site with quotes and various materials -


A Goethe biograpgy in English:


The Goethe Index in English:


What is fascinating about Cosima Wagner´s Journals?

Cosima Wagner's Journals

Cosima`s account of her marriage to Richard Wagner delivers a fascinating introduction to German culture, and European social and political history in the latter 19th century. We also learn about the rise of anti-semitism, a rather militant Wagner-cult, and the philospophical tendencies of the time. This book is much more than just a portrait of Wagner`s compositions.

Who was Ernst Thaelmann?

Ernst Thaelmann

Ernst Thaelmann (1886 - 1944) was a member of the German communist party (KPD) since 1920. He occupied increasingly important political positions with the party, from parliamentary representative to head of the KPD in the Weimar Republic. He also was a candidate for president. In 1933, he was arrested by the Nazis. He died at Buchenwald concentration camp in 1944.

Who is Siegfried Wagner?

Siegfried Wagner

Siegfried Wagner was the youngest child of Richard and Cosima Wagner. He is remembered for organizing the Festspiele in Bayreuth after his mother's death.

Where can I find information about Goethe´s Faust?

Goethe's Faust Online

These sites are worth checking out:
1) Study Guide for Goethe's Faust -


2) Faust Legends -


3) The Faust Legend -


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