Wednesday, August 05, 2009

May 8, 2009 - Oh No, not another bridge movie!

We had stayed in a campground some way from our intended target due to circumstances decribed in this Backstory. While Bonn may not have had too much to offer the casual tourist, it would have been of interest simply for its use as the German Capital during the forty years of German partition. The seat of government, of course, was moved back to Berlin following reunification.
While perusing various maps for some inspiration as to what to do the following day, it transpired that
Remagen was just a few miles down the road from the campsite. Remagen is on the River Rhine where, nowadays, there is a ferry that crosses the river every every 10-15 minutes in the summer. Views around Remagen.
Late in WWI, the Germans bui
lt the Ludendorff Bridge across the river here, as a means of supplying their Western Front. Designed by Karl Wiener, the bridge was over 1,000 feet in length and cleared the water by more than 45 feet. Following WWI, the bridge was little used until WWII, when it again provided Germany with a supply line, this time for Hitler's Western Front. As WWII ravaged on, Rhine bridges became increasingly scarce until, by early 1945, the Remagen bridge became the sole survivor. The U.S. 9th Armored Division captured the bridge on March 7, 1945 while pursuing the fleeing Wehrmacht army. In retrospect it seems, the capture of the bridge appears to have been limited to a huge PR and morale boosting coup, with few tangible tactical or strategic benefits. In fact, only a limited quantity of Allied materiel made the crossing before the bridge collapsed on 17 March 1945, with the death of 28 U.S. soldiers. Much has been written on the subject of the bridge with Ken Hechler's 1957 The Bridge at Remagen, being perhaps the most widely known. The 1968 David L. Wolper movie of the same name, did get some of the local history correct but the WWII action in the movie was entirely fictional.
The Romans are believed to have been the first to bridge the Rhine during the period that they had a fort in Remagen. They actually had two bridges in the area which, after spending three weeks on the east side of the river, they promptly dismantled again. Guess
they didn't care too much for Germany.
There has been no bridge at Remagen since WWII, but the bridge towers on the west bank have been developed into a Peace Memorial and museum, largely through the indefatigable energy of Hans Peter K├╝rten, long time former mayor of the city. Sadly, a shameful episode in political-military history followed on the heels of the wartime success at Remagen - the Rhine Meadow Camps. Also, checkout the Remagen Backstory.

1 comment:

joshua said...

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Have a blossom blessing from this blogger's heart!
And if you do drop by at mine, I sure hope you at least blogbang me
by watching my french creativities from beginning to end
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and that close to die from dispare and misery in this Crisis.

I realy need your help badly and your help is that simple, but then
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[Up to now from whom I call upon only three persons
dared to donnate me, in total, 7 euros! Everybody else is frightned
to be fooled by giving or then again think I'm nothing but a dum ass by begging.
Yet is that so hard do give two dollars or euros or pounds away
helping someone unemployed, hungry, in pain and utterly poor?!
Not everyone can understand and dress this situation as if it was his own].