A German history starting in the Middle Ages when the emperors fought an epic struggle with the papacy to the Reformation, the great 18th century of Kant, Goethe, Gauss, the rise of Prussia and the horrors of the Nazi regime. We will end with the post-war period of moral and physical rebuilding. As Gregory of Tours (539-594) said: "A great many things keep happening, some good, some bad" .
A New Beginning
The year is 919 AD and things are not going well. The mighty empire of Charlemagne has splintered into a multitude of puny kingdoms. Its feeble rulers are being pushed around by their formidable barons. The frontiers are breached. Cometh the time, cometh the man/woman?
A Dog's Breakfast
Henry the Fowler ended the tradition of splitting the kingdom amongst the male heirs. So far, so wise. But, and there is always a but, what he did not work out was what to do with the spares.
A Series of Fortunate Events
His brother and his biggest vassals are rebelling, the kingdom remains under threat from Hungarians and Slavs - and now the king of France comes in on the side of the opposition. Only a series of very fortunate events can rescue king Otto, or a man of short stature, fierce temper, extraordinary bravery and a dislike of apples and women?
A Foe Wherever You Go
After the civil war Otto gets to reorganise the kingdom and focuses on foreign policy. There is conflict on all borders, with the Slavs, the Bohemians, the Hungarians, and the French. The most interesting story plays out in Italy where we find a beautiful young heiress with the key to a kingdom languishing in a jail....
The Father, the Son and the Uncle
Adelheid's rescue creates tension not only in the family of king Otto but across the realm. Younger members of the powerful families feel cheated out of the gains of the Italian campaign and worry about their prospects. And the Otto makes one of these mistakes he is so adept at, resulting in much bloodshed and pain...
A Conversation with Swords
The devastation of the civil war lures in the largest Hungarian army anyone had ever seen anywhere. Enticed by the disinherited sons of former Bavarian dukes, the mighty host makes for Augsburg, a city whose walls are as weak as their defender is steadfast. This time they are here to conquer not just to plunder. Otto has to run hell for leather south gathering an army from wherever he can get his hands on to face the most amazing military of the times on a battlefield of their choosing.....
Fascinating and entertaining
I’ve only found this podcast recently and am slowly working my way through. Provides an easy listening run down of very complex historical events. Additionally, it’s full of dry, amusing asides which really make it stand out. I’m loving it - thanks, Dirk.
The real thing: it makes “Game of Thrones” seem like a kids’ picnic. As a recent migrant to Germany, I really needed this, and it doesn’t disappoint. Don’t be tempted to skip the prologue.
Great story telling
Also enjoy the insights into how modern day Germans relate to their history