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Re: Brandenburg Gate
Old 02-09-2005, 09:06 AM   #1
Mike G.
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Default Re: Brandenburg Gate

BRANDENBURG GATE

Brandenburg Gate is the sole survivor, and but one of many such “Grandiose” gates commissioned and constructed in the 18th Century, to mark access to the city of Berlin. It was commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II to represent of all things, peace. Given its original intended purpose and the fact it arguably is the most well known landmark in Berlin, it is perhaps ironic that between 1946 and 1989, it was incorporated into the Berlin Wall during the Cold War and the prevailing years of Communist government in East Germany. It is perhaps appropriate that it now should stand boldly as a symbolic testament to the reunification of a once divided city as well as once divided country.

It was designed and constructed by Court appointed Super-attendant of Buildings, Karl Gotthard Langhans, between 1788 and 1791. A Quadriga was perched on top of the Gate in 1794. It consisted of the Goddess Eirene who represents “Peace and Tranquility” riding into the city in Victorious Triumph in a chariot pulled by four horses. Held in the right hand of the Goddess, was a Staff, the top of which was adorned with a Laurel Wreath.

Like all modern Triumphal Quadrigas, the one that adorned Brandenburg Gate was based on the only surviving original Roman/Greek Quadriga initially erected in the Hippodrome of Constantinople, and now standing in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The design was based on the Propylea, which was the original gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Other similar modern Quadriga’s can be found in England and France.

In 1806 Brandenburg Gate’s Quadriga was seized by Napoleon as “Spoils of War”. It was returned in 1814, when Marshal Bluecher defeated Napoleon. It was at this time the Iron Cross that and Eagle were added to the Staff carried by the Victory Angel. Symbolic of victory, both were designed by Friedrich Schinkel.

Brandenburg Gate was seriously damaged during WWII. As a result of an agreement reached between the Soviets, British and Americans at the Yalta Conference, the Gate found itself inside the pre-determined boundaries of East Berlin. In an unusual joint agreement in the early 50s, East and West Germany agreed to share the costs of reconstruction of the Gate. In 1961, the Gate was “Walled” off from access by German citizens of West Berlin, when on August 13th, the decision was made to build the infamous “Berlin Wall”. It remained a monument that could only be viewed from the backside by citizens of West Berlin, until the collapse of East Germany in 1989.

Historical Facts and Blowing Away the Myths:

When the Qudriga was placed atop Brandenburg Gate in 1794, it faced East. When the Quadriga was jointly repaired by East and West Germany in the early 50s, and subsequently returned to the Gate, it was again positioned facing East, which was the direction it had always faced. The East Germans did not turn it around, as many misinformed people would have some believe. The East German Government did insist on removal of the Eagle and the Iron Cross, on the grounds it represented War and not Peace. West Germany capitulated and the Eagle and Iron Cross were removed from the Staff held by the Victory Angel.

During celebrations on New Years Eve of 1989-90, the Quadriga was again inadvertently damaged. Upon subsequent restoration, the Eagle and the Iron Cross were added back to the Staff carried by the Victory Angel. Again, contrary to many misinformed people who would have some believe otherwise, the Quadria was not turned to face West when restoration was complete. The Quadriga has always faced East. It faced East at inception in 1794; faced East during the Prussian Empire; faced East during the Weimar Republic; faced East during the Third Reich; faced East during the 40 year existence of East Germany; and continues to face East today.
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Last edited by Mike G.; 09-15-2012 at 05:56 PM.
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RE: Gate in the 30s
Old 02-09-2005, 09:22 AM   #2
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Default RE: Gate in the 30s

This photo depicts Brandenburg Gate as it appeared in the 30s. Note that on the Staff is the Eagle and the Iron Cross. For those that are familiar with Brandenburg Gate, it will also be apparent that the Quadriga on top, is facing East.
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RE: Gate in the early 50s
Old 02-09-2005, 09:25 AM   #3
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Default RE: Gate in the early 50s

This photo depicts Brandenburg Gate as it appeared in early 50s. The Quadriga is absent, having been removed for repairs. The infamous Berlin Wall had not yet been constructed, but clear evidence of which side of the boundary the monument rests, is the huge Soviet Flag flying from atop the Gate.
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RE: Gate in 1979
Old 02-09-2005, 09:30 AM   #4
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Default RE: Gate in 1979

This photo shows how Brandenburg Gate appeared in 1979. The photo is taken from the West. This is the view citizens of West Berlin were left with, of this magnificent monument, from 1961 to the collapse of East Germany, in 1989.

The unit is Company F, 40th Armor. The Tank in the center incidentally, was the one, which at time, I commanded.

Observers of the Qudriga atop the Gate will note the Eagle and the Iron Cross are no longer attached to the Staff held in the right hand of the Angel.
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RE: Brandenburg Gate as it appeared 2003
Old 02-09-2005, 09:32 AM   #5
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Default RE: Brandenburg Gate as it appeared 2003

This photo depicts Brandenburg Gate as it appears today. It still faces East, as it always did. Note the Eagle and the Iron Cross have been returned to the Staff held in the right hand of the Angel.
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M60-A2 Tank Commander Cold War proverb: “You can accomplish more with a kind word and a ‘Shillelagh’ than you can with just a kind word.”
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:03 AM   #6
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Hey Mike...very good background information about the Brandenburg Gate and I enjoyed the photographs you also posted with the write up...

Did the East Germans take notice or react when they saw three tanks up against the wall with a bunch of soldiers in the area?
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:12 AM   #7
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Here is a photo I posted a while ago showing some of the WWII damage.
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:13 AM   #8
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Nicely done. What history this magnificient work of art has seen, and been a part of over the past several hundred years!
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Pickard
Hey Mike...Did the East Germans take notice or react when they saw three tanks up against the wall with a bunch of soldiers in the area?


You can't tell from the photo, but the Grenztruppen went on full alert on the other side. The Soviets were stressed out too. It was a good thing we only brought 3 Tanks, and not the whole Company.
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M60-A2 Tank Commander Cold War proverb: “You can accomplish more with a kind word and a ‘Shillelagh’ than you can with just a kind word.”
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Old 02-09-2005, 10:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael D. Gallagher


You can't tell from the photo, but the Grenztruppen went on full alert on the other side. The Soviets were stressed out too. It was a good thing we only brought 3 Tanks, and not the whole Company.


What is interesting is today you can laugh about, but back then, it must have been an interesting situation in watching all the activity going on around you.
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more about the Brandenburg Gate...
Old 02-09-2005, 12:15 PM   #11
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Default more about the Brandenburg Gate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael D. Gallagher
This photo shows how Brandenburg Gate ...in 1979...unit is Company F, 40th Armor...
Observers of the Qudriga atop the Gate will note the Eagle and the Iron Cross are no longer attached to the Staff held in the right hand of the Angel.
Nice tank unit photo, would have been even better if it showed the 40th Armor eagle pattern standard! Have also seen a close-up photo of the Qudriga just after WW2 ended - much of it is smashed and/or showing the bare bones under structure. It is also my understanding that the BILBGIESSEREI KRAAS firm of Berlin were the folks who actually did the repairs to the Qudriga - this is also the same firm that made the Third Reich Army Truppenfahnenspitzen which is marked as such on the bottom of the Wehrmacht eagle flag pole top finials.
OldFlagsWanted.com
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Old 02-09-2005, 12:30 PM   #12
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Hi Ben,

From your post, it sounds as though you might have in your possession the 40th Armor Eagle Pattern Standard......do you?
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M60-A2 Tank Commander Cold War proverb: “You can accomplish more with a kind word and a ‘Shillelagh’ than you can with just a kind word.”
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Old 02-09-2005, 05:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael D. Gallagher

Historical Facts and Blowing Away the Myths:

· When the Qudriga was placed atop Brandenburg Gate in 1794, it faced East – and not West as many misinformed people would have some believe.

I was misinformed about this...I remember my high school history teacher telling us (the class) that the Russian/East Germans had turn the statue around so it faced West instead of East. Got to love the public education system.
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Old 02-09-2005, 08:44 PM   #14
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Hi John,

When I was initially stationed in Berlin, upon reporting in to my unit, I was immediately made to go to a 2 week indoctrination class (unique to Berlin) called the "School of Standards". Part of it was taught by West Berliners. We also were taught that the East Germans had turned the Quadriga around, and that it orginally had faced West. However, it wasn't long afterward that while visiting various Book Stores downtown Berlin on the Ku-damm, I came across several that showed photos of Brandenburg Gate from before WWII and even the late 1800s. It readily became clear the Quadriga always had faced East. It would seem the Soviets were not the only ones good at propaganda. We were guilty of our fair share as well.
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M60-A2 Tank Commander Cold War proverb: “You can accomplish more with a kind word and a ‘Shillelagh’ than you can with just a kind word.”
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Old 04-17-2010, 09:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael D. Gallagher View Post
This photo shows how Brandenburg Gate appeared in 1979. The photo is taken from the West. This is the view citizens of West Berlin were left with, of this magnificent monument, from 1961 to the collapse of East Germany, in 1989.

The unit is Company F, 40th Armor. The Tank in the center incidentally, was the one, which at time, I commanded.

Observers of the Qudriga atop the Gate will note the Eagle and the Iron Cross are no longer attached to the Staff held in the right hand of the Angel.
Mike,
do you have a datew for this pic. And where in Hell are you? The faces are so small on the Picture.
Nico
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