Kult Pamięci
history - remembrance - oblivion

 the Battle of Tannenberg
 the cult of Marshal Hindenburg
 Hindenburg's funeral
 the history of the appearance of the  monument
 the Tannenberg-Denkmal monument
 a new national symbol
 the ideological nature of the  monument
 the history of the monument
 Stalag IB Hohenstein
 places of remembrance
 traces of memory - trip one
 the cult of memory
 the project
 broken links between memory and  history
 Pierre Nora, Between Memory and  History Les lieux de Memoire  (a fragment)
 a mock-up of the monument
 the location
 the monument dispersed
 the erasure of history
 the present condition - debris

 the archive

the Battle of Tannenberg

In the days between 23 and 30 August 1914, east of the village of (Tannenberg), a battle occurred which proved decisive in the First World War, being fought within the framework of the East Prussian operation between the forces of the German Empire - in the form of the 8th Army under Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff - and the forces of the Russian Empire - the 2nd Army of General Alexander Samsonov (who committed suicide after being defeated).

The war operations concluded with the debacle of the Russians. the Germans took over 92,000 POWs; almost 500 cannons, belonging to the 2nd Army became the  spoil, whilst the number of dead and lost Russian soldiers was calculated at around 30,000. the XIII and XV corps ceased to exist with only 50 officers and 2,100 of its soldiers surviving.

The victory of Germany, after its former defeat on the  Marne River, had a huge psychological impact and launched the cult of Marshal Hindenburg as the Tannenberg hero, considerably influencing his election as the Reich President in 1925. Nevertheless, it was General Max Hoffman (1869-1927) whose contribution to the  victory was the  greatest. He had gained experience in both tactics and strategy during the Russian-Japanese war in 1904-1905, which now proved extremely useful in the fight against the Russians.

German historiography calls the  lost) Battle of Grunwald against the Polish king Władysław Jagiełło in 1410 "the First Battle of Tannenberg". the new, victorious battle of 1914 was thus used as propaganda, being proclaimed as a great victory (the  Second Battle of Tannenberg) and revenge for the Grunwald of 1410. In its reception by society as a whole, the  Battle of Tannenberg from 1914 became the most important symbol of victory for the Germans, consequently - a perfect pretext to commemorate the event.

In 1932, a  German-Swiss film director Heinz Paul realised a  film entitled Tannenberg, featuring war operations. the  film was shot on the  location of the  historic Battle in East Prussia and at UFA's Babelsberg Studios in the  summer of 1932. Production costs exceeded half a  million German marks (with 8000 people employed in its realisation). the  Tannenberg film, glorifying the German victory from 1914, reinforced the success as a German national symbol.

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The Battle of Tannenberg. General Francois (right) during a conversation with the Russian General Aluyeev.

A Russian patrol on the front line in East Prussia.

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