Research by Michael Behrent for KÖNIGSBEGR IS DEAD by Max & Gilbert

 

www.koenigsberg-is-dead.de

 

 

Königsberg / Kaliningrad Timeline

 

 

 

Late 7th Century  -  Middle 11th  century

The Vikings live in the area that later becomes East Prussia.

 

1200s

 The Danes regularly expand into what becomes East Prussia.

 

1226

Conrad of Mazouvia calls on the Order of the Teutonic Knights, recently expulsed from the Holy Lands and in search of a new mission, to assist him in his struggles against the local Preussen. He negotiates with the Order's leader Hermann von Salza, who had accompanied Emperor Friedrich II to Palestine. Conrad cedes to them the lands of Northern Poland in which he had been unable to impose Christianity on the Preussen "unfaithful." The Pope authorizes the Teutonic Order to conquer and to convert the land of the Preussen east of the Vistula in the Golden Bull of Rimini.

 

1230

A new crusade is undertaken, with the sanction of Pope Gregory IX, who grants the same indulgences for it as for the crusades to the Holy Lands. Hermann von Salza designates as the crusade's leader Hermann Balk, who is proclaimed "Master of Prussia." Most of the crusaders come from Germany and Western Europe, but also from Poland. As they advance, they build temporary fortresses which were later replaced with brick castles.

 

1237

The crusaders reach the southern swamp of the Frisches Haff.

 

1241

The Teutons are beaten first by the Mongols at Liegnitz, and then by Alexander Nevski, the prince of Novgorod and vassal of the Tatars. Thorn and Kulm hold out.

 

1249

Teutonic Knights and three of the Preussen  tribes agree to the Treaty of Christbourg.

 

1255

The founding of Königsberg. The Grand Master Poppo of Osterna obtains from the pope the declaration of a new crusade, in which the margrave Otto of Brandenburg, Premysl Otaker II, King of Bohemia and the future emperor Rodolphe of Habsburg participate. The expedition reaches the beginning of the Pregel river, near which the Teutons build a new fortress which they named "Königsberg", close to the fishing town of Steindamm. The Teutons build a merchant town around the Church of Saint Nicholas. Other fortresses are buit at Tilsit and Memel, on the Niemen.

 

1262 - 1265

The Preussen reconquer the location and destroy Königsberg.

 

1268

The Church of Saint Nicholas in what would become Königsberg's Altstadt is built.

 

1283

The Teutonic conquest ends with complete victory and violent repression.

 

1286

The Grand Master of the Teutonic Order grants an urban charter to what will become the Altstadt. The town consists of about 11.6 hectares, including the fortress and the market.

 

1300

Weaves from Torún establish themselves at Löbenicht, for which they obtain a charter. It evolves into an independent city with its own church, hospital, nun's convent, armories and fortifications. Its Town Hall is built along the Eastern Walls of the Alstadt.  It covers about 7.3 hectares.

 

1327

A third town, of about 9 hectares, is founded on the island in the Pregel just to the south of Alstadt: Kneiphof, also known as "New Königsberg." It receives its own town charter. It builds its own fortifications, with five gates.

 

1330

Kneiphof receives the cathedral chapter, which eventually becomes Königsberg's main church.

 

1333

Construction of the Cathedral (Dom) begins in Kneiphof. It will be completed in 1351.

The Church of Saint Barbara in Königsberg's Löbenicht is also built.

 

1340

Königsberg enters the Hanseatic League.

 

1349

The nun's convent in Löbenicht is built.

 

1374

The town hall of Kneiphof is built.

 

1389

The Burgermeister of the Alstadt  holds the title of provost of the Hanse (until 1422). Each of the three towns - Alstadt, Löbenicht and Kneifhof - has its own relations with the Hanse, though they share a common concession (Vitte) at the herring fair.

 

c. 1400

The "new" Prussia becomes an "Ordenstaat", a state governed by the Teutonic Order. It included some 93 towns and 1400 villages; Königsberg itself is inhabited by 9,000 people.

The colonizers enrich themselves by producing grain,which is exported through the towns of Dantzig, Elbing, and Thorn - all of which have joined the Hanse, thus receiving the right to govern themselves (on the model of the port Lübeck).

The Teutonic Order is a major European power. Its Grand Master ruled from Marienbourg (in what would later become West Prussia), with assistants based in Riga and Elbing.

 

1410

A Lithuanian and Polish coalition defeats the Teutonic Order at the battle of Tannenberg. Unable to defeat the Knights completely, the coalition signs a peace treaty with them.

 

1450

The population of the three towns of Königsberg and their vicinity is between 8 000 and 10,000 inhabitants.

 

1457

Explulsed from Marienbourg by a dissident group of Knights relying on Polish support, the Grand Master retreats to Königsberg. Königsberg becomes the official residence of the Grand Masters of the Order.

 

1466

 In the Treaty of Thorn, West Prussia is turned over to King Casimir of Poland, and  the Order remains in East Prussia only on the condition that it recognizes Polish suzerainty. Henceforth, the Grand Master lives in Königsberg as his capital city.

 

1525

Eight years after Luther nailed his theses to the door of the Wittenberg church, Grand Master Albert of Hohenzollern secularizes the goods of the order and transforms Prussia into a temporal duchy, while remaining Poland's vassal (the Polish king gave his investiture to the new duke). Albert belonged to the family that had ruled Brandenbourg since 1415.  He ruled Prussia until 1568. He devoted his reign to building the new government and establishing the Lutheran chuch in his duchy. Königsberg becomes the capital of the Duchy of Königsberg.

 

1544

Albert founds the University of Königsberg, which is reserved for Protestant students capable of studying in German.

 

1568

Albert's death leaves the precarious new state in the hands of a dim-witted successor, Albert-Friedrich (1568 - 1618). His hold on power is fortified by the liberal Polish King, Sigismund-Augustus II Jagellon, who promises that the right of succession to the Prussian Duchy would remain in the hands of the Hohenzollern even if the main line became extinct.

 

1573

Albert-Friedrich goes mad. Poland effectively grants the regency to the "Franconien" branch of the Hohenzollerns, in the person of Johann-Sigismund.

 

1613

 Johann-Sigismund converts to Calvinism.

 

1618

Albert-Friedrich dies without offspring; his cousin and in-law, Johann-Sigismund of Brandenbourg - already Margrave of Brandenbourg and, hence, elector of the Holy Roman Empire - succeeds him for the remaining year of his life. This solidifies the establishment of a Prussian-Brandenburger state, the former part remaining in the Holy Roman Empire, the latter a Polish vassal. The effective capital of the new state is Königsberg, which has become a commercial state of considerably more importance than Brandenbourg.

 

1619

Following the death of Johann-Sigismund, Georg Wilhelm inherits the duchy. His reign is dominated by the Thirty Years War (1618 - 1648). His policy was initially to remain neutral, but he effectively allied himself with Sweden, and then Austria.

 

1626 - 1627

The three towns of Königsberg build a common set of fortifications.

 

1640

Georg Wilhelm dies, leaving a devastated and divided state to his heir, Friedrich Wilhelm. Friedrich Wilhelm is able to rein in the autonomy of his various possessions: Prussia in the East, Brandenburg and Pomerania in the center, and the small territories of Juliers, Cleves, Minden and Ravensberg in the West. He also devotes himself to improving the financial administration of his duchy, as well as reforming the educational system, making of the Universtiy of Königsberg a primary vehicle for the training of state bureacrats.

 

1648

The Treaty of Westphalia brings an end to the Thirty Years War and establishes the modern state system: the ruler of each German state is considered "sovereign and pope" in his own territories, is entitled to entertain diplomatic relations with foreign powers and engage in alliances, providing they are not agains the Empire or the Emperor. Brandenburg aquires part of Pomerania, the bishoprics of Halberstadt and Minden, and a claim to Magdeburg.

 

1650

The Dom receives the book collection of the Wallenrodt family.

 

1653

The Landtag, after a two year session, rebells under the leadership of Jerome Roth, the alderman of Könisgsberg, against the duke, who undertakes a military expedition to repress it. Roth is imprisoned until his death, while others are decapitated and marched through the town in their chains.

 

1660

In the Treaty of Oliva, Poland cedes to Brandenburg full sovereingty over the Duchy of Prussia, but maintains its control over Pomerelia (later West Prussia).

 

1675

Prussia defeats the Swedes at Fehrbellin.

 

1685:

Friedrich Wilhelm issues the Potsdam Edict, offering to receive the French Hugenots and grant them religious freedom, after King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes.

 

1688

The elector Friedrich III inherits the duchy following Friedrich Wilhelm's death.

 

1701

January 18: Friedrich III accomplishes his main ambition: that of being crowned King with imperial approval - thus assuming the title "Frederic I". Though his crowning occurred on the condition that he be a "King in Prussia", it soon became customary to call him "King of Prussia."  The crowning occurred in Königsberg, the Prussian capital, since this was a land that was formally outside of the Holy Roman Empire.

 

1713

Friedrich-Wilhelm I, the "Sergeant-King", inherits the throne. He is known both for his bad temper as well as for his honest and unabashed devotion to public service and the state. He centralizes and rationalizes the postal system, the currency and, especially, mechanisms for financing the army. His motto is: "Nicht raisonnieren."

 

1723

Friedrich Wilhelm creates what comes to be called the General Directory, an agency designed to organize and co-ordiate military, fiscal judicial activities in all Prussian territories.

 

1724

The Prussian administration formally unites the three towns into a single entity - Königsberg.

April 22: Immanual Kant is born in Köngisberg.

 

1730

August 27: Johann Georg Hamann is born in Königsberg.

 

1740

Friedrich II inherits the throne. He continues the policies of his father, embodying the ideal of the "Enlightened Despot." He particularly devotes himself to developing the army, in which 200,000 soldiers were enlisted - more than any other European power. In 1788, Mirabeau would say: "Prussia is not a State which an army at its disposal, it is an army with a State at its disposal." He led Prussia into a series of European wars.

Immanuel Kant, at age 17, begins his studies at the University of Königsberg.

 

1740 - 1742

First Silesian War: Silesia is taken by Prussia.

 

1744 - 1745

Second Silesian War.

 

1741 - 1748

Prussia fights in the War of Austrian Succession.

 

1747

Kant publishes his first book, Gedanken von der wahren Schatzung der lebendigen Kräfte, or Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces.

 

1755

Kant returns to Königsberg after tutoring in nearby towns. He publishes his doctoral dissertation, On Fire, or De Igne, and Principiorum Primorum Cognitionis Metaphysicae Nova Dilucidatio, or A New Explanation of the First Principles of Metaphysical Knowledge, which gives them title of Privatdozent at the University of Königsbeg.

 

1756 - 1763

Prussia fights in the Seven Years War. In the Treaty of Hubertusberg, Prussia retains Silesia.

 

1758

After initial successes, Prussian forces lose ground to the Russians, who occupy Königsberg. They remain for four years, until the death of the Tsarina Elizabeth in January 1762.

 

1762

Summer: Herder begins his studies at the University of Königsberg.

 

1770

Kant becomes a full professor at the University of Königsberg. He delivers his inaugural dissertation, entitled On the Form and Principles of the Sensible World, in which he exposes some of the first concepts of what would develop into his critical philosophy.

 

 

1772

First partition of Poland. West Prussia (excluding Danzing and Thorn) and the Ermland are taken over by Prussia.

Around this time, Friedrich II engages in significant territorial reform: he divides Pomerania into two territories, Netze and Western Prussia. The territories that had formerly belonged to the Teutonic Order and which had been the core of the Duchy and then of the kingdom were henceforth called simply "Eastern Prussia".

 

1773

Hamann writes New Apology for the Letter H.

 

1774

Hippel writes Uber die Ehe.

 

1777 - 1778

Prussia fights in the War of the Bavarian Succession.

 

1780

Hippel is appointed Bürgermeister of Königsberg.

 

1781

Kant publishes The Critique of Pure Reason, or "First Critique."

Hippel completes the publication of his first, largely autobiographic novel, Lebensläufe nach aufsteigender Linie, which testities to both pieitistic and rationalist tendencies.

 

1783

Formation of the first society of maskilim, or proponents of Haskalah, the Jewish Enlightenment movement, in Königsberg. 

Kant describes how David Hume awoke him from his "dogmatic slumbers" in his Prolegomena to any Future Metaphysics.

 

1784

Kant writes a critical review of Herder's Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Manschheit, confirming his break with his former student.

 

1785

Kant writes Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals.

 

1786

Friedrich-Wilhelm II, the former king's cousin, inherits the throne, and is crowned in Königsberg in September.

Hippel becomes President of Königsberg.

 

1788

Kant publishes The Critique of Practical Reason, or "Second Critique."

 

1789

July 14: In Paris, the Bastille prison is stormed. In Königsberg, Kant skips his daily walk when he hears the news.

 

1790

Kant publishes The Critique of Judgment, or "Third Critique."

 

1794

Hippel finishes his second novel, Kreuzund Querzüge des Ritters A biz Z.

 

1792

April 20: The French National Assembly declares war against Austria; Friedrich Wilhelm II lends his support to the Emperor, Francis II, putting Prussia at war with France.

September: Prussian troops fight alongside the Austrians at Valmy. The botched Prussian retreat leaves the road open for the French to enter Prussian territories on the Rhine, notably Mainz.

Hippel writes Uber die bürgerliche Verbesserung derWeiber.

 

1793

Second partition of Poland: Russia receives eastern Poland, while Prussia receives Dantzig, Thorn and Poznan. Poland is wiped off the map.

 

1794

Promulgation of the Prussian Legal Code, the Allgemeines Landrecht.

 

1795

A secret treaty between Prussia and the French revolutionary government in Basel recognizes the presence of French troops on the left bank of the Rhine and Prussian sovereignty North of the Main and Neckar rivers.

Third Partition of Poland: territory near Warsaw and as far as Nieman pass over to Poland.

Kant writes Towards Perpetual Peace.

 

1796

February: Hippel dies.

 

1797

Friedrich Wilhelm III becomes the new Prussian King.

 

1802

By this date, nearly 3000 separate pieces have been written on Kant's life and work.

 

1804

February 4: Immanuel Kant dies and is buried in the Dom.

December 2: Napoleon, the newly crowned French emperor, defeats the Austro-Russian coalition at the Battle of Austerlitz.

J. G. Fichte briefly replaces Kant at the University of Königsberg.

 

1806

Prussia annexes Hannover.

England declares war on Prussia. France and Prussia become allies through a secret treaty; but Friedrich Wilhelm III soons reneges on it, demanding the retreat of French troops on the Rhine and the dissolution of the French satellite, the Confederation of the Rhine.

The Prussian Army is badly beaten in October at Jena by Napoleon.

Napoleon abolishes the Holy Roman Empire.

 

 

1807

After defeating the Russians at Eylau and Friedland, Napoleon's troops enter Königsberg as victors, proposing an armistice with Tsar Alexander:

In the Treaty of Tilsit. Prussia loses Poznan and all territories west of the Elbe and the territories acquired through the second and third partititons of Poland, leaving it only Silesia, Pomerania, Brandenbourg and Prussia.

Dantzig becomes an independent republic, protected by a French garrisson.

Beginning the period of Prussian Reform, Freiherr von Stein, arriving in the provisional Prussian capital, Königsberg, signs the decree abolishing serfdom.

 

1808

January: Friedrich Wilhelm III and his family establish residence in Königsberg, which become the de facto capital of Prussia during the period of French hegemony in Europe.  He remains until December 1809.

April: The Tügelband, a civic organization designed to prevent Germans from collaborating with the French occupiers, was formed in Königsberg.

 

1812

The Grand Army crosses the Nieman.

December: General York von Wartenberg, the commander of the Prussian contingent allied with Napoleon's troops in his war against Russia, signs the "Convention of Tauroggen" with the Russians, neutralizing its force and preparing it to switch sides.

 

1813

February 5: General York addresses the Prussian estates gathered in Königsberg, appealing in the king's name for the liberation of the nation.

March: Prussia declares war on France. The King issues the "An mein Volk" appeal from Breslau: "Brandenbourgers, Prussians, Silesians, Pomeranians, Lithuanians! You know what fate awaits you if we do not bring to a happy end the struggle which is beginning." It was largely written by the Königsberg citizen,  Theodor Gottleib von Hippel.

 

1814

Prussians participate in the coalition army that enters Paris.

 

1815

 90,000 Prussian troops, under Blücher's leadership, fight Napoleon at Waterloo. The Congress system, inaugurated by the Treaty of Paris, recongizes a Europe dominated by five powers: defeated France alongside Great Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia.

When the Congress of Vienna closes, Prussia grows to 280,000 square kilometers, having reacquired Poznan and gaining Northern Saxony, Westphalia, and the Rhinleland as far as Saarbrücken.

Prussia is preoccupied both by the dispersed and fragmented quality of its territories, and by its uneasy relationship with Austria, whose conservatism it shares even as it seeks to rival its power in the German lands.

At the same time, Metternich, the Austrian minister, organizes 39 states into the German Confederation. Only a portion of Prussian and Austrian territories belong to the Confederation.

In September, Protestant Prussia joins Catholic Austria and Orthodox Russia in the creation of the conservative Holy Alliance.

 

 

1825 - 1828

The Prussian state builds over 1,000 miles of roads, including the highway connecting Berlin to Königsberg.

 

1833

Prussia participates in the foundation of the Zollverein.

 

1840

Friedrich Wilhelm IV becomes Prussia's new king.

 

1843

Construction of modern fortifications of Königsberg begins.

 

1847

The Prussian state takes over from a private corporation the task of building the Eastern Railways, which would connect Berlin to Königsberg. The United Landtag's refusal to approve the loan, requested by the King, required to finance the construction temporarily ends the project and foreshadows the impending constitutional conflict.

 

1848

March: Revolution in Berlin. A National Assembly for Prussia gathers in Berlin, at the same time that representatives from throughout the German Confederation gather at the Paulskirtche in Frankfurt.

December 5: After having dissolved the National Assembly, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV proclaims a Constitution (known as the Oktroyierte Verfassung).

 

1850

Treaty of Olmütz (also known as the "Olmütz Disgrace"): Yiedling to Austrian demands, Prussia renounces its policy of union with Germany.

 

1853

First section of the Eastern Railways completed.

 

1857

The completion of the Eastern Railway bridges over Vistula at Dischau and over the Nogat at Marienburg makes it possible to reach Königsberg by train from Berlin (though only indirectly, via a detour through Stettin to Kreuz Junction).

 

1858

Friedrich Wilhelm IV goes mad. The regency is granted to his brother, Wilhelm. The Beginning of the "New Era".

 

1861

October 18: Wilhelm IV is crowned in Königsberg, the second royal coronation the city has hosted since 1701.                 

 

1862

In the midst of intense constitutional conflict, King Wilhelm names Otto von Bismarck Chancellor.

 

1864

Prussia defeats Denmark over Schleswig-Holstein: Bismarck's first step in the unification of Germany.

 

1866

Prussia fights Austria for supremacy in Germany, defeating at Sadowa/Königgratz. Austria ceases to be involved in the process of German unification.

Prussia acquires Hanover, Kurhessen, Nassau and Frankfurt-am-Main.

The "North German Confederation" is proclaimed.

 

1867

The direct line from Berlin to Königsberg on the Eastern Railways is opened.

 

1871

January 18: Following the defeat of France, Wilhelm IV "accepts" the imperial crown in a ceremony at Versailles, becoming Kaiser Wilhelm I.  The day of his crowning was chosen to commemorate the crowning of Friedrich I in Königsberg. "With the birth of the German Reich in 1871, the signifiance of Königsberg appeared ambiguous." (Du Castel, p. 50)

Though constituted of 25 states and 3 free cities, Prussia occupies a disproportiante place in the new Reich, especially since Austria was excluded from the new state: out of 41 million Germans, 25 million are Prussians; the new emperor also holds the title of Prussian king, while the chancellor also serves as the Prussian president of the council.

 

1880

Kant's remains are moved from the Dom to the neo-Gothic chapel near its north-eastern corner.

 

1888

Wilhelm II becomes Emperor.

 

1890

Bismarck is dismissed from office by Wilhelm II.

 

1901

A restoration of the Königsberg Dom begins, designed to recover its 15th  century aperance. The restoration ends in 1907.

 

1905

Modern fortifications of Königsberg completed.

 

1914

Outbreak of the First World War.  Under General Samsonov, Russian troops launch a two-pronged offensive against Eastern Prussia from the East and the South. The German Generals, Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff succeeded in defeating the first Russian force at Tannenburg on August 27 - 29, forcing the other army to retreat in disorder through the Masurian lakes. The German troops then headed in the direction of Warsaw, helping the Austrians retrieve Galicia, which they had last at the outset. The front stabilizes over the winter.

The architect Friedrich Lahrs begins the construction of a new Kant memorial.

 

1918

March 3: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk brings a "separate peace" between Germany and Soviet Russia; the latter cedes to the former claims over Poland, Lithuania, Courland, Livonia and Estonia, and recognizes the formally independent Ukraine as a German satellite.

November 9: Following a naval mutiny in Kiel, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicates. The monarchy comes to an end in Germany. Prussia becomes a free, Republican state.

November 11: Germany accepts an armistice. Article 11 of the armistice convention stipulates that the Baltic territories will be evacuated at the Allies' discretion. The Baltic states tend to prefer the vanquished Germans to the "Bolsheviks."

December: The newly constituted government of Latvia allows the German general von der Goltz to establish a volunteer army to repress Bolshevik uprisings in the Baltic States; in May 1919, his forces fought Soviet armies directly. August Winning, a member of the Social-Democratic Party (SPD) (and later Hitler's Reich commissar for East Prussia) draws on his connections to these forces to prevent the sailors of Pillau and the soldiers of Königsberg from establishing workers councils, as elsewhere in Germany.

 

1919

February 6: The Weimar Constitution is ratified [check], and Friedrich Ebert becomes President.

June 20: The Treaty of Versailles is signed.

-          East Prussia is henceforth isolated from the remainder of Weimar Germany. There are three main problems:

-          A plebescite in the East and the South: according to Article 95, Mazuria was given the right to self-determination, to choose whether it would be Polish or Russian.

-          the Dantzig corridor: after having been Polish, then Prussian after 1793, independent after 1807, and Prussian/German after 1815, Dantzig, a city that was 96% German, is made a "free city" under the administration of the League of Nations, thus separating East Prussia from the rest of Germany. The historian Jacques Bainville writes in 1920: "Regardez cette carte parlante: Accroupie au milieu de l'Europe, l'Allemagne n'a qu'une griffe à étendre pour réunir de nouveau l'ilot Königsberg. Dans ce signe, les prochains malheurs de la Pologe et de l'Europe sont écrits."

-          the Memel/Klaïpeda territory in the North. This formerly Prussian territory is also separated from East Prussia, and established as a state under League of Nations administration. The port city is primarily German, while the surrounding countryside is mainly Lithuanian.

-          Article 433 stipulates that Germany must fully evacuate the Baltic States. Von der Goltz hands his troops over the to command of a White Russian. Faced with an Allied ultimatum, the German volunteers are required to disarm and return to East Prussia.

C. Göderler becomes mayor of Königsberg. His ten-year term in office is marked by attempts to open the town up to neighboring countries and to modernize the urban infrastructure, including the development of the port, the building of a central train station connecting the southern and western stations, constructing an international airport (at what is today Khrabrovo, 30 km from the town) and the material needed for a new Eastern Fair. The latter brings together economic representatives from the Soviet Union, Poland and Scandinavia (biannually until 1928, annually from then until 1936).

 

1920

Otto Braun becomes Prime Minister of Prussia.
In a plebescite organized by the League of Nations, Mazuria votes to remain part of Germany.

 

1923

February: In partial response to the Polish siezure of Vilnius/Wilno in October 1920, Lithuania seizes Memel/Klaïpeda from the international garrison ruling it.

 

1924

Königsberg celebrates the 200th anniversay of Kant's birth. Lahrs completes the new Kant memorial.

 

1927

Eric Mendelsohn, the most prominent Jewish representative of Neue Bauen, the archicteture movement close to Bauhaus and the Neue Sachlichheit movement, builds a Jewish cemetary in Königsberg.

 

1932

July 20: The Reich government, led by Chancellor von Papen, deposes Otto Braun as Prussia's Prime Minister in an anti-Prussian coup.

 

1933

January: Hitler becomes Chancellor.

 

1935

December 1: Allan Stewart Konigsberg is born in the Bronx, New York to Martin and Netti Kongisberg.

 

1938

October: German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop proposes an overall settlement to the Dantzig problem to the Polish government; this proposal is ultimately rejected.

 

1939

March: Spurred on by the local Nazi party, Germans in the Memel territory revolt against Lithuania. Germany demands that Lithuania return the land to it. Troops in the region of Königsberg are placed in state of alert. Lithuania is left with little choice but to capitulate, and Memel is returned to German sovereignty.

 

1944

July 20: Hitler narrowly escapes an assassination attempt when a bomb explodes in his headquarters in Rastenberg (today, Ketrzyn) in East Prussia. Members of the East Prussian aristocracy, led by Colonel von Stauffeberg, and including former Königsberg mayor Görderler, play a principal role in the assassination attempt. 

The authority of the party in Königsberg is increased; relations between party Gauleiter Koch and the military command deteriorate.

August/September: The British Royal Air Force begins bombardments of Eastern Prussia.

August 26-27: 200 British planes destroy 5% of Königsberg's buildings; a thousand are killed, and ten times as many are left homeless.

Night of August 30: 660 planes bomb the town center: around 2,400 die and 150,000 are left homeless. The interior of the Dom is burned. Most of the roof, as well as the north tower, is destroyed.

October: Memel falls to the Russians. General Otto Lasch appointed to lead German forces in Königsberg.

 

1945

January 13: The 2nd Bielorussian Front initiaties the Soviet assault on East Prussia. According to General Lasch estimated that he had 35,000 troops (4 divisions plus the Volkssturm) against 2,500,000 (30 divisions) Soviet troops.

January 20: The tombs of Marshal von Hindenberg and his wife are removed from the Tannenberg monument and transported west to Marburg for safety.

January 22: The last train to the Reich leaves Königsberg.

January 26: General Volski's tanks reach the Baltic, just north of Ebling.

In Königsberg, S.S. trops lead out a group of 7,000 Jewish concentration camp prisoners, relocated from Poland in the wake of Soviet advances, forcing them to march to the coastal town of Palmnicken. Several thousand die along the two day march. The rest are executed along the beach a few days later.

January 27: Gauleiter Koch orders the civilian population to evacuate Köngisberg. Half a million civilians attempt to reach the coast.

January 28: The Soviet Army reaches the outskirts of the city. Gauleiter Koch abandons Königsberg, ceding powers to Kreistleiter Wagner and the mayor, Dr. Will. At night, the Soviets encircle the city.

February 5: Kreistleiter Wagner tells the Volkssturm: "Annihilate the Bolsheviks, whereever you can. Make a mass grave of their path to Königsberg ... Death to the Bolsheviks."

February 19: A successful German counter-offensive secures the road and railroad line along the coast of the Frisches Haff.

April 6: Beginning of Soviet assault on Königsberg.

April 8: The Nazi party calls for a counter-offensive, which fails.

April 9: Lasch decides to request an armistice. Fall of Königsberg to the Red Army.

April 10 - 11: The garrison allegedly resists to the last man. The city is pillaged. German soldiers are taken to Stablack camp, near Eylau. At the time of its fall, Königsberg's population is estimated (by Otto Lasch) to be around 170,000: between 110 and 120,000 civilians, 15,000 prisonners and forced laborers of foreign nationality, 32,000 Wehrmacht soldiers and 8,000 Volksturm.

Some of the remaining German inhabitants are forced by the Soviets on "Propaganda Marches" in the neighboring areas. Though the German community is not allowed to organize itself formally, it finds an unofficial representative in Professor Hugo Linck.

July 17 - August 2: Potsdam Conference: The U.S. and Great Britain agree "in principle" to the transferal of Königsberg and "adjacent areas" to the Soviet Union. The remainder of Prussia is given to Poland, with the exception of the Memel region, which is ceded to the new Soviet republic of Lithuania.

October: The Soviet Union formally annexes what at the time is called the "Kenigsbergskaja oblast."

 

1946

June 3: Mikhail Kalinin, the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, dies.

July: Königsberg is renamed Kaliningrad in honor of Kalinin.

December 9:  The first edition of the Kalinigradskaja Pravda appears, the official newspaper of the local Communist Party. It is based on Karl-Marx Street. It is run by Evgeni Tipikin, who writes a regular column, entitled "From our region's past".

 

1947

25 February: The Interallied Control Council recognizes "the dissolution of the Prussian state."

June: "Neue Zeit", a German-language newspaper administered by the Soviets for the surviving German population, appears.

Fall: The evacuation of the remaining German population towards the west begins.

 

1948

Early in the year, the evacuation of remaing Germans is complted.

The youth newspaper, Kaliningradskij Komsomolec, begins to appear.

October: Neue Zeit ceases publication.

 

1949

As the Cold War begins, the Kaliningrad region becomes heavily militarized. Entry restrictions are imposed, first on unauthorized Soviet citizens and foreigners, then only on foreigners.

"AtlantNIRO", a research institute for oceonology and the fishing industry, near where the old university clinic once stood.

17 May:  The "Kreisgemeinschaft Königsberg-Stadt" is founded in Hamburg. A meeting of Königsbergers in Hamburg draws between 7,000 and 10,000 people.

 

1950

Königsbergers hold another meeting in Hamburg.

 

1952

The first plans for rebuilding Königsberg are discussed, but no concrete action is taken.

April: The town of Duisberg, in the German Federal Republic, agrees to become the official sponsor of old Königsberg.

Spring: Allan Stewart Konigsberg begins to use the name "Woody Allen" when sending in jokes to local New York newspapers.

 

1955

Otto Lasch, the German commander at Königsberg, returns to Germany, after having been condemned to death in absentia for cowardice.

 

1957

At a public assembly, Krushchev confirms Kaliningrad's status as a subject of the Russian federation, quelling concerns about its "permanent" place in the union.

 

1960

The old Neuen Schauspielhaus is rebuilt and reopened as the Regional Dramatic Theater.

 

1962

Around this time, the Soviet state undertakes a vast plan to rebuild Kaliningrad. Lenin Prospekt, the North-South axis, is opened around this time.

The "Kreisgemeinschaft Königsberg-Stadt" renames itself the "Stadtgemeinschaft Königsberg", and selects Hellmuth Bieske as its chairman.

 

1966 - 1968

Kalingraders begin, unofficially, to investigate the city's German past.

 

1968

The former townhall (Stadthaus) on Hansaplatz once again becomes the seat of Kaliningrad's city government.

 

1967

Kaliningrad State University established.

 

1969

The last standing ruins of the old Schloss are taken down. A "Central Square" is built in its place.

 

1972

The Dom is registered as an official landmark of the Russian ministry of culture.

 

1974

Kaliningrad celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of Immanuel Kant in Königsberg.

The Kant-Museum is founded.

 

1976

New conservation work begins on the Dom.

 

1984

Kaliningrad celebrates the bicentennial of Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel, the astronomist who taught in the 19th century at the University of Königsberg.

 

1991

December 31. Dissolution of the Soviet Union.

 

1992

January: "The Königsberg Cathedral" is registered as a state enterprise; the Regional Governing Office of Culture is the founder. By this point, according to Olga Sezneva, the goal of the project has become that of restoration rather than conservation.

April: A group of local intellectual protests the barbarism and inauthenticity of the Dom restoration project.

 

1993

December: The Russian Nationalist politician Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky calls into question existing borders between Poland and Germany, allowing for negotiations with Germany over the Russian distrinct of Kaliningrad.

 

1994

February: On an official vistit to Latvia, President Lech Walesa of Poland calls for an open debate on the question of the heavy concentration of military power in the Kaliningrad region.

August: Lithuanian railways imposes prohibitive rates on freight traffic destined for Kaliningrad

August 12: Three men are arrested in Kaliningrad trying to sell metal container of unspecified highy radioactive material.

November: The Baltic Assembly calls for an international conference to revise the Potsdam accords and pave the way for the establishment of the Kaliningrad enclave as a free republic. It also demands the demilitarization of the region.

 

1996

March: Following a meeting with Bielorussian President Alexander Lukaschenko, Boris Yeltsin declares: "We want to receive permission from the Poles to build a bit of highway through their territory."

December: Moscow inaugurates its first oil terminal in Kaliningrad region, permitting it to export the oil that it formerly exported through Estonia.

Kaliningrad seizes 25 tons of pure alcohol brought in from Europe to be sold in Russia.

Leonid Gorbenko wins election as Kaliningrad's governor, despite intense press scrutiny into rumors concerning  his alleged corruption.

 

1997

February: U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visits Russia to reassure it that extending NATO membership to Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic will not threaten it: in exchange for conventional troop reductions among the newly admitted membres, NATO will request similar reductions in Slovakia, Ukriane, Belarus and the Kaliningrad enclave.

November: Posters are pasted on Kaliningrad walls, warning: "Danger AIDS." Alexsandr Gromyko, W.H.O.'s regional advisor on AIDS for Europe and Russia, tells the New York Times: "All the conditions are there for a disaster. And nobody is remotely ready for it. The virus has spread so fast in Kaliningrad that even the few people who are trying to do something about it are lost. [...] What you see in Kaliningrad today is only the beginning for Russia."

The New York Times, also reports: "In Kaliningrad, where drug addiction has fueled Russia's  biggest epidemic of AIDS by far, the best place to shop for drugs is at the university. No need to hide or wait until dark, either. "They all know", one student said recently, casting a grim glance at three policeman nearby. And then, saying something that used to be said in kitchens across the Soviet Union, he laughed: "What are they going to do? Arrest all of us? They'd have to start a new Gulag." (Nov. 9, 1997)

December: In a speech before the Swedish Parliament, Yeltsin announces that Russia will cut its Baltic forces by 40%. The Defense Minister confirmed that ground troops in Kaliningrad would be part of the cut. Baltic countries applauded the move.

 

1998

February: Kaliningrad hosts the Russian premiere for James Cameron's film, Titanic. This honored the fact that Kaliningrad was home to the oceanographic institute that played a significant part in the explorations of the real Titanic two and a half miles below the surface of the Atlantic. "Mr. Cameron, who attended the Russian opening, acknowledged his debt to the institute and its two deep-water vehicles Mir 1 and Mir 2, callings its underwater technology 'the most advanced in the world.' To make sure that his Russian friends could see 'Titanic properly, though, he had shipped three tons of special sound equipment to Kaliningrad's Zarya theater, to update its antiquated system." (New York Times, April 26, 1998)

Fall: Rapid inflation following the financial crisis begun in August leads Kaliningrad to declare a state of emergency.

The roofing of the Dom restoration project is completed.

 

1999

April: BMW announces plans to open a DM 50 million joint venture to build a cars and sports utility vehicles assembly project in Kaliningrad area.

 

 2000

February 20: Anatoly Sobchak, the former mayor of St. Petersburg and the teacher and political mentor of Vladimir Putin, dies in Kaliningrad where he was visiting as Putin's envoy.

March 27:  Putin wins presidential election on the first round.

 

 

Michael Behrent, 2002

 

Copyright © 2002, TABULA RAZA