Research by Michael Behrent for KÖNIGSBEGR IS DEAD by Max & Gilbert
Königsberg / Kaliningrad Timeline
Late 7th Century - Middle 11th century
The Vikings live in the
area that later becomes
The Danes regularly expand into what becomes
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
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
The crusaders reach the southern swamp of the Frisches Haff.
The Teutons are beaten
first by the Mongols at Liegnitz, and then by Alexander Nevski, the prince of
Teutonic Knights and three of the Preussen tribes agree to the Treaty of Christbourg.
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
1262 - 1265
The Preussen reconquer the location and destroy Königsberg.
The Teutonic conquest ends with complete victory and violent repression.
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.
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.
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.
Kneiphof receives the cathedral chapter, which eventually becomes Königsberg's main church.
Construction of the Cathedral (Dom) begins in Kneiphof. It will be completed in 1351.
Königsberg enters the
The nun's convent in Löbenicht is built.
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.
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
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.
The population of the three towns of Königsberg and their vicinity is between 8 000 and 10,000 inhabitants.
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.
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.
Eight years after Luther nailed his theses to the door of
Albert founds the
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.
Albert-Friedrich goes mad.
Johann-Sigismund converts to Calvinism.
Albert-Friedrich dies without offspring; his cousin and
in-law, Johann-Sigismund of Brandenbourg - already Margrave of Brandenbourg
and, hence, elector of the
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
1626 - 1627
The three towns of Königsberg build a common set of fortifications.
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:
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
The Dom receives the book collection of the Wallenrodt family.
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.
In the Treaty of Oliva,
Friedrich Wilhelm issues
the Potsdam Edict, offering to receive the French Hugenots and grant them
religious freedom, after King Louis XIV of
The elector Friedrich III inherits the duchy following Friedrich Wilhelm's death.
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
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."
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.
The Prussian administration formally unites the three towns into a single entity - Königsberg.
April 22: Immanual Kant is born in Köngisberg.
August 27: Johann Georg Hamann is born in Königsberg.
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: "
Immanuel Kant, at age 17, begins his studies at the
1740 - 1742
First Silesian War:
1744 - 1745
Second Silesian War.
1741 - 1748
Kant publishes his first book, Gedanken von der wahren Schatzung der lebendigen Kräfte, or Thoughts on the True Estimation of Living Forces.
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
1756 - 1763
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.
Summer: Herder begins his studies at the
Kant becomes a full professor at the
First partition of
Around this time, Friedrich
II engages in significant territorial reform: he divides Pomerania into two
territories, Netze and
Hamann writes New Apology for the Letter H.
Hippel writes Uber die Ehe.
1777 - 1778
Hippel is appointed Bürgermeister of Königsberg.
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.
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.
Kant writes a critical review of Herder's Ideen zur Philosophie der Geschichte der Manschheit, confirming his break with his former student.
Kant writes Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals.
Friedrich-Wilhelm II, the former king's cousin, inherits the throne, and is crowned in Königsberg in September.
Hippel becomes President of Königsberg.
Kant publishes The Critique of Practical Reason, or "Second Critique."
July 14: In Paris, the Bastille prison is stormed. In Königsberg, Kant skips his daily walk when he hears the news.
Kant publishes The Critique of Judgment, or "Third Critique."
Hippel finishes his second novel, Kreuzund Querzüge des Ritters A biz Z.
April 20: The French National Assembly declares war against
Austria; Friedrich Wilhelm II lends his support to the Emperor, Francis II,
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
Hippel writes Uber die bürgerliche Verbesserung derWeiber.
Second partition of
Promulgation of the Prussian Legal Code, the Allgemeines Landrecht.
A secret treaty between
Third Partition of
Kant writes Towards Perpetual Peace.
February: Hippel dies.
Friedrich Wilhelm III becomes the new Prussian King.
By this date, nearly 3000 separate pieces have been written on Kant's life and work.
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
J. G. Fichte briefly replaces Kant at the
The Prussian Army is badly
beaten in October at
Napoleon abolishes the
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
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.
January: Friedrich Wilhelm III and his family establish
residence in Königsberg, which become the de facto capital of
April: The Tügelband, a civic organization designed to prevent Germans from collaborating with the French occupiers, was formed in Königsberg.
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.
February 5: General York addresses the Prussian estates gathered in Königsberg, appealing in the king's name for the liberation of the nation.
Prussians participate in
the coalition army that enters
90,000 Prussian troops, under Blücher's
leadership, fight Napoleon at
When the Congress of
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.
1825 - 1828
The Prussian state builds over 1,000 miles of roads,
including the highway connecting
Friedrich Wilhelm IV
Construction of modern fortifications of Königsberg begins.
The Prussian state takes over from a private corporation the
task of building the Eastern Railways, which would connect
March: Revolution in
December 5: After having dissolved the National Assembly, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV proclaims a Constitution (known as the Oktroyierte Verfassung).
Treaty of Olmütz (also
known as the "Olmütz Disgrace"): Yiedling to Austrian demands,
First section of the Eastern Railways completed.
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
Friedrich Wilhelm IV goes mad. The regency is granted to his brother, Wilhelm. The Beginning of the "New Era".
October 18: Wilhelm IV is crowned in Königsberg, the second royal coronation the city has hosted since 1701.
In the midst of intense constitutional conflict, King Wilhelm names Otto von Bismarck Chancellor.
Prussia fights Austria for
supremacy in Germany, defeating at Sadowa/Königgratz.
Prussia acquires Hanover, Kurhessen, Nassau and Frankfurt-am-Main.
The "North German Confederation" is proclaimed.
The direct line from
January 18: Following the defeat of
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.
Kant's remains are moved from the Dom to the neo-Gothic chapel near its north-eastern corner.
Wilhelm II becomes Emperor.
A restoration of the Königsberg Dom begins, designed to recover its 15th century aperance. The restoration ends in 1907.
Modern fortifications of Königsberg completed.
Outbreak of the First World
War. Under General Samsonov, Russian
troops launch a two-pronged offensive against
The architect Friedrich Lahrs begins the construction of a new Kant memorial.
March 3: The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk brings a "separate
November 9: Following a naval mutiny in
December: The newly constituted government of
February 6: The
June 20: The Treaty of
- 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."
Memel/Klaïpeda territory in the North. This formerly Prussian territory is also
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,
Otto Braun becomes Prime
In a plebescite organized by the League of Nations, Mazuria votes to remain part of
February: In partial response to the Polish siezure of
Vilnius/Wilno in October 1920,
Königsberg celebrates the 200th anniversay of Kant's birth. Lahrs completes the new Kant memorial.
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.
July 20: The Reich
government, led by Chancellor von Papen, deposes Otto Braun as
January: Hitler becomes Chancellor.
December 1: Allan Stewart Konigsberg is born in the Bronx,
October: German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop proposes an overall settlement to the Dantzig problem to the Polish government; this proposal is ultimately rejected.
March: Spurred on by the local Nazi party, Germans in the
Memel territory revolt against
July 20: Hitler
narrowly escapes an assassination attempt when a bomb explodes in his
headquarters in Rastenberg (today, Ketrzyn) in
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
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.
January 13: The 2nd Bielorussian Front initiaties
the Soviet assault on
January 20: The tombs of
Marshal von Hindenberg and his wife are removed from the Tannenberg monument
and transported west to
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
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
July 17 - August 2: Potsdam Conference: The
June 3: Mikhail Kalinin, the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet, dies.
July: Königsberg is renamed
December 9: The first
edition of the Kalinigradskaja Pravda appears,
the official newspaper of the local Communist Party. It is based on
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.
Early in the year, the evacuation of remaing Germans is complted.
The youth newspaper, Kaliningradskij Komsomolec, begins to appear.
October: Neue Zeit ceases publication.
As the Cold War begins, the
"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
Königsbergers hold another meeting in
The first plans for rebuilding Königsberg are discussed, but no concrete action is taken.
April: The town of
Spring: Allan Stewart Konigsberg begins to use the name
"Woody Allen" when sending in jokes to local
Otto Lasch, the German commander at Königsberg, returns to
At a public assembly, Krushchev confirms
The old Neuen Schauspielhaus is rebuilt and reopened as the Regional Dramatic Theater.
Around this time, the Soviet state undertakes a vast plan to
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.
The former townhall (Stadthaus)
on Hansaplatz once again becomes the seat of
The last standing ruins of the old Schloss are taken down. A "
The Dom is registered as an official landmark of the Russian ministry of culture.
The Kant-Museum is founded.
New conservation work begins on the Dom.
December 31. Dissolution of the
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.
December: The Russian Nationalist politician Vladimir V.
Zhirinovsky calls into question existing borders between
February: On an official vistit to
August: Lithuanian railways imposes prohibitive rates on
freight traffic destined for
August 12: Three men are arrested in
November: The Baltic Assembly calls for an international conference
to revise the
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."
Leonid Gorbenko wins election as
February: U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visits
November: Posters are pasted on
The New York Times, also
December: In a speech before the Swedish Parliament, Yeltsin
Fall: Rapid inflation following the financial crisis
begun in August leads
The roofing of the Dom restoration project is completed.
April: BMW announces plans to open a DM 50 million joint
venture to build a cars and sports utility vehicles assembly project in
February 20: Anatoly Sobchak, the former mayor of
March 27: Putin wins presidential election on the first round.
Michael Behrent, 2002
Copyright © 2002, TABULA RAZA