Tempelhof - The Book

"It was always my intention to write this history for folks who were stationed at Tempelhof. I really can't think of a better way to do that, than to offer it to BIA for the Newsletter and Web Site. This first part covers the history from earliest times through to about 1900.  The next part will address the history of aviation and airports at Tempelhof, and although I have boxes of books and source material, I have not yet started to organize that information.  Therefore, "Part 2" will take a while."
-- Jim Kavanagh (64-70/74-78)


I cannot tell how the truth may be;
I say the tale as ‘twas said to me.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel by Sir Walter Scott


Tempelhof Field
(part 1)

by Jim Kavanagh

Tempelhof Field is situated in the northern rim of the Teltow Plateau, overlooking a ford across the River Spree at present-day Berlin. The location has been strategically important throughout recorded history. It is at the crossroads of a direct north-south route from the Lower Oder River and the Baltic to the Mediterranean, with a major west-east route through Magdeburg and Brandenburg eastward to Poland and Russia. This same location marked the boundary between the territories of the major Wend settlements at Spandau and at Köpenick, and also between the German frontier territories of Brandenburg and Meissen.

Politically, the region is in the "Mittelmark" or central section of the "Mark" ("March" or frontier territory) Brandenburg, which was called the "Nordmark" until about the 12th Century. The boundaries of this frontier territory were drawn during the eastward expansion of the Holy Roman Empire starting in the 9th Century under Charlemagne. The territorial and political designs of the ruling Ascanian Margraves fairly well determined its final extent by about the 14th century. The other internal divisions are the "Altmark" (Old Frontier), which is the territory west of the River Elbe, and the "Neumark" (New Frontier), which is the section east of the River Oder.

Archeological findings support human presence in the vicinity from about 8,000 BC, when hunters left evidence of their passage at a campsite near Tegel. Several Stone Age sites (dated roughly from 3,000 to 1,800 B.C.) have been found around the periphery of Tempelhof Field, which reflect the change in lifestyle, during the slow shift from hunting and gathering to farming and settlement. Shelters were built more substantial and permanent. Clothing was made from plant fibers in addition to leather or fur. Family groups started to band together and specialization appears. Cultural groups became known by the type of pottery they produced and used.

German influence out of the North was felt in this area from about 2,000 B,C. Driven largely by overpopulation and severe climate changes, this German migration accelerated dramatically about 800 B.C., and within the next 300 years, German tribes had forced the Celts and others out of most of North Central Europe. As German tribes continued to push south, the resulting confrontation with the "civilized world" gave us our first look at the Semnones, the people then in the region that would someday be Tempelhof.

Publius Cornelius Tacitus (54 – 120 A.D.) was a Roman Historian who left us a descriptive study of German life and culture entitled "Germania". Exactly how Tacitus came by this knowledge is not known. However, Northern Europe was a source for slaves, amber, furs and animals, and a main trade route to and from that region passed through the territory of the Semnones. Tacitus would have known about the Germans, and possibly even knew traders who dealt directly with them.

"Of all the Suevians, the Semnones recount themselves to be the most ancient and most noble. The belief of their antiquity is confirmed by religious mysteries. At a stated time of the year, all of the people descended from the same stock assemble by their deputies in a wood consecrated by the idolatries of their forefathers, and by superstitious awe in times of old. There, by publicly sacrificing a man, they begin the horrible solemnity of their barbarous worship." Tacitus continues, "The potent condition of the Semnones has increased their influence and authority, as they inhabit a hundred towns, and from the largeness of their community it follows, that they hold themselves for the head of the Suevians."

According to Tacitus, the Suevians were an alliance of four tribes – Herminones, Langobards, Hermondurians and Marcomanians, and the Semnones were a branch of the Hermondurians, who were also known as the "Elbgermanen" (Elbe River Germans).

Coming out of the east-southeast, the Huns overran, defeated or stampeded tribal groups on their push westward, causing a "domino effect" cascade of migration before them. The defeat of the Ostrogoths by the Huns in 375 A.D is generally held to be the start of the Great Migrations westwards. The last report of the Suevians, dated 568 A.D., has them moving west-southwest away from the vicinity and places them in the Harz Mountains. Only a very few German artifacts dated after this have been found around the periphery of Tempelhof, along with traces of the passage of the Burgundians through here on their route to the Rhone Valley.

In the next wave of migration, the "Heveller" established their seat at Spandau and controlled the west, while the "Spreewanen" settled at Köpenick and held the east. Since Slavic structure is complex, and names tend to be localized, they are collectively referred to as "Wends". As with other cultures and periods, no Wend artifacts have been found either on or in close proximity to Tempelhof Field, suggesting that it was unsettled, perhaps a buffer zone or shared hunting ground.

The German migration pressured, then broke Roman borders. They moved in and established their own rule, adopting or adapting to Roman order, organization, society, and values.

Somewhat later, the Franks, under Charles the Great (also known as "Charlemagne" or "Karl der Grosse"), achieved supremacy over this conglomerate of Germanic tribes and groups. Pope Leo III crowned him "Emperor of the Romans" in 800 A.D. Charles the Great aggressively pursued territorial expansion, and the conflicts with the Saxons from roughly 772 to 804 probably helped orient major efforts eastwards. The other compass directions would have been much less promising – the Atlantic, the cold north and Northmen or "Vikings", and the densely populated Mediterranean basin to the South.

History speaks of a "Frisian Corps" moved by boat against the stronghold at Potsdam in 789 A.D. to punish Wend allies of the Saxons. Excavations at Spandau uncovered settlements that may have been destroyed by this same expedition, based on arrow scars and burnt remainders that were found on the river side of the settlements. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that foraging and scouting parties ranged through Tempelhof at that time, even though no specific archealogical evidence is known.

Charles the Great established the eastern border of his empire along the Elbe River in 805 A.D., and identified trading posts and border crossings at Bardowick on the Elbe, Magdeburg and Schezla. Adventurers, travelers and traders who used these crossings were undoubtedly the source for the tales of a "land of milk and honey" beyond the Elbe, with huge stretches of unsettled land free for the taking.

Roughly a century later, Henry I (919-936 A.D.), a Saxon who is credited with founding the German nation, crossed the Elbe and captured the Wend stronghold at Brandenburg in 928/929 A.D. Eastward expansion was continued during the reign of his son, Otto I (936-973 A.D.), who founded the Brandenburg Diocese in 948 A.D. and gave it a mission territory called the "Gau Zpriawani", which encompassed territory along both sides of the River Spree from Spandau to Köpenick, including Tempelhof. Otto invested a nobleman named Gero with this frontier territory along with the title of "Duke". Gero proved himself worthy of this recognition by securing territory as far east as the Oder and Peene Rivers, and forcing the Wends to pay tribute and be baptized.

The East Frontier became the "Wild East" about 983 A.D. when the Wends rebelled. They overran fortifications and destroyed settlements. During the ensuing struggle, which lasted nearly 150 years, control of the frontier reportedly changed hands ten times. Histories show a confusing mixture of shifting alliances, fighting and infighting between the Germans, Wends and Poles.

Meanwhile, the rest of Europe was preparing for the Crusades. Pope Urban II issued a call to arms for Christians to recover the Holy Land. Norman, Flemish and French knights served in the First Crusade, from 1096 to 1099 A.D., which was the most successful of all of the Crusades. This success must have been embarrassing for the Magdeburg Archbishop, since the "Brandenburg Diocese", the "Havelburg Diocese" and the "Havelburg Mission" were essentially just names on a map, with the land controlled by the heathens. The call to arms was not long in coming, for in 1108 A.D. a proclamation was read at Magdeburg, which said in part:

…"Oppressed by many and unending calamities and acts of violence that we have had to endure at the hands of the heathen, we implore your mercy, that you may come to our aid in halting the ruin of your Mother, the Church. The most cruel of heathen people have risen against us and have become all-powerful, men without mercy, glorying in their human malignity. Arise then, Spouse of Christ, and come! Thy voice shall sound into the ears of the faithful, so that all will speedily join the army of Christ. These peoples are the most wicked of all, but their land is the best of all, abounding in meat, honey, and corn. It need only be cultivated in the right manner to overflow with all the fruits of the soil" … "Well then, you Saxons, you people of Lorraine, you Flemings, you renown conquerors of the earth: here is an opportunity not only to save your souls but, if you wish, also to acquire the finest land as your dwelling place."

A sideline issue of extreme importance to Tempelhof’s history occurred in 1134 A.D., when Emperor Lothar invested Albrecht "the Bear" of the Ascanian House with the north frontier. The Margraves of the Ascanian House, and particularly Albrecht, were the architects of the Mark Brandenburg, and were directly responsible for the settlement and cultivation of Tempelhof. This investiture contained several quirks:

"…not only did Albrecht the Bear come from the "Schwabengau" in Lower Saxony in the Harz Mountains, into which the "Nordschwaben" were resettled in 568, but also the majority of the colonists who came into this area along with others from Lower Franconia, Flanders and "Brabant"."

Thus, descendents of the last of the Suevians to leave the area during the Great Migration were some of the first colonists to resettle the region over six hundred years later. The most successful of the margraves, from the Ascanian and Hohenzollern Houses, were also from the same stock.

The crusade against the Wends was launched in 1147 and attracted the interest and participation of German, Danish and Polish noblemen. Although Albrecht the Bear led only one section of this crusade, he gained the majority of his domain from this conquest. The Wend prince who controlled a large territory, which included the Tempelhof area, converted to Christianity and was baptized, and took the name "Heinrich", thus sparing his territory the effects of the invasion.

The main military operations of the Wend Crusade were conducted in the northern region and its major accomplishment was the recovery of the Havelburg Diocese. Although the role played by Poland is not clear, there are indications that the Poles pushed west as far as Köpenick. This may have been the reason for Albrecht’s reported trip to Kruschwitz, where he met Polish nobles on 11 January 1148.

The Wend Crusade served several long term purposes: it gave interested parties a chance to view the territory, it concentrated German and European interest eastwards, and it provided the opportunity for participants to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their future competition in the upcoming "land grab".

Albrecht the Bear inherited Brandenburg when Heinrich (the Wend nobleman) died in 1150, but lost it almost immediately to another nobleman named Jaxa, who, although he has been identified as both a Wend and a Pole, is generally believed to have come from Köpenick.

Albrecht the Bear was forced to withdraw. He sought an alliance with Archbishop Wichmann of Magdeburg, and their combined force took Brandenburg during the following field campaign. The date of this victory, 11 June 1157, is regarded as the birth date of the Mark Brandenburg.

Albrecht went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in thanksgiving. He returned in 1159, and within a year the Ascanians had pushed further east and taken the Wend stronghold at Spandau. In this same rough timeframe, Albrecht defeated Jaxa in a battle that reportedly took place near Grossglienicke, and it is Jaxa’s flight across the Havel that forms the basis for the Shildhorn Legend. The Ascanians constructed a strongpoint on the site of the present-day Zitadelle, and Spandau became their residence and main base of operations. Albrecht is credited with establishing Ascanian military power. To obtain the necessary troops, he decreed that every ninth man had to serve, while robbers were given the choice of serving or being hanged.

Magdeburg, on the southwest boundary, and Meissen, on the south to southeast boundary, also sought territory on the Teltow Plateau. Excavations at Düppel suggest a rudimentary border control point, and artifacts date this site to about 1170. This settlement was astride the route from the south to Spandau, and points north. The conclusion is that the Ascanians shared a border at the south side of the Teltow Plateau in 1170.

Historians agree that the Knights Templar founded Tempelhof, but disagree about the date. Albrecht is known to have given holdings at Werben on the Elbe to the Knights Hospitalar in 1160. Founding of the settlement at Tempelhof would have been some time after this date. Pommeranians and Wends launched an attack around 1180, moving through Köpenick towards Juterbog. Both Meissen and Lausitz countered this thrust, and forced the invaders to withdraw the way they came. Lausitz then claimed Köpenick while Meissen recovered or claimed territory up into Zehlendorf and Lichterfelde. Therefore, it seems logical to assume that the Templars had already taken up residence at Tempelhof by 1180, otherwise, Lausitz or Meissen would have claimed part or the entire field. The only hard evidence was found during excavations at the church in Tempelhof. They determined that the church itself dates back to 1220-1230, and found a partial foundation for an even older structure underneath it. Therefore, it seems safe to assume that the Templars established a Commandery at Tempelhof after 1160, possibly before 1180 and definitely before 1220. It is likely that the Templars needed little encouragement from Albrecht, and perhaps they even initiated discussions, that resulted in their grant of Tempelhof.

The Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Soloman were also known as the Knights Templar, or simply Templars. This order of "warrior monks" was founded by Hugues de Payens and eight companions in 1118 AD, but the order was not formally recognized until the Council of Troyes in 1128. Bernard of Clairvaux, who reformed the Benedictans to found the Cistercians, drafted the Templar Code of Conduct, which follows the same general lines as the code he wrote for the Cistercians. The Templars, who were charged with protecting Christians on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, were freed from allegiance to anyone other than the Pope by a Papal Bull issued in 1139.

The Templars established holdings throughout Europe to provide replacements and material to support their operations in the Holy Land. Travelers – usually but not exclusively pilgrims - could seek shelter at a Commandery (also called Preceptory) or with the "Locutor" (village headman) of one of the orders of knighthood, or at an abbey of one of the religious orders. These facilities were spaced apart a distance equivalent to roughly 1-2 days of travel along important routes, and most especially on those pathways to and from the Holy Land. The interspaced commanderies and manors, each with a small contingent of Templars, would have provided security along the route.

A Commandery would consist of a defensible enclosure, church and outbuildings. Settlements would develop, since the Commandery or manor would need both outlying villages and farms for food, and a complement of basic trades (mill, smith, cooper, woodworker, etc.). Replacements would have received orientation to the order and basic military training at these locations, which would have been overseen by an experienced – perhaps disabled or over-aged – knight. The abbey or Commandery would recruit farmers and tradesmen, and – in the case of Tempelhof – the Templars would escort the column or wagon train back and provide area security for the settlers.

History credits Tempelhof as the first settlement, but does not state where this settlement was. Work has been done to identify the location of the original Commandery site and most conclusions are based on residuals of the church, parts of walls, an underground access channel, and a pond. A model and sketch were on display at the Tempelhof local history museum and sketches have appeared in a number of reference works. The outworks were probably the initial outpost and would have consisted of a wood watchtower and defensive palisade. These were located on the southeast corner of the intersection of present-day Tempelhofer Damm and Alt-Tempelhof street, and the location came to be known as the "Hahnehof". The church, church wall, manor, stables, and outer wall with at least one tower and a gatehouse, were located on a small rise southwest of the Outworks The Templars probably connected the ponds around this rise to form a rudimentary moat enclosing the manor and a small island. The island would have served as a garden plot and the moat as a fish pond. As was stated earlier, all were probably constructed of wood and may have been replaced in part by stone construction later. It is possible that the frontier moved on quickly enough, so that the Templars did not think it necessary to build a complete outer defensive wall of stone, for no traces of such massive construction have been found.

The Commandery would have been known as "Tempelhof". The original name of the settlement that grew next to it may have been "Tempelfelde", if it followed the naming pattern noted elsewhere. The lands on an estate were called the "Feldmark" and given the name of the village that they were assigned to, therefore "Feldmark Tempelhof" would be Tempelhof Field. The total Templar estate included at least 175 measured farm plots called "Hüfe", roughly distributed as 50 plots in Tempelhof, 52 in Marienfelde, 48 in Mariendorf and 25 in Richardsdorf (Neukölln). When the farm community of Neukölln was reorganized into a village, it consisted of 25 plots, and each plot was calculated to be about 10 "Morgen", or 6 to 9 Acres. The size varied, because the land was divided in such a manner that each plot contained some of the bad as well as some of the good land. A plot was intended to grow enough to support one family and one horse. A farm was called a "Hof" and it consisted of 1-4 plots (Hüfe). Meadows, pastures and ponds were not considered in this count; stands of wood were set aside, and marsh or bog land was partially excluded. These were for common use according to agreements: for example, settlers obtained reeds to thatch their cottage roofs from an allocated marsh.

Farmers paid annual rent (Pacht) and a personal "tax" (Zins). In addition, they were required to deliver a specified quantity of grain, meat and produce to the Templar kitchen, work a specific number of days each year in the Templar manor fields, and give goods or services to the village priest. There was of course, a levy to be filled for military service in the margrave’s forces and the Templar could call the farmers to arms in time of crisis.

The Ascanians aggressively recruited settlers. This was just good business, for their income rose with each increase in property under cultivation, and their territorial claims became more secure. Ascanian status in the German Empire was dependent upon able-bodied men willing to fight for their homesteads "in the Ascanian Cause". From a settler’s point of view, "Old Europe" was getting overcrowded and the land was being worked out. Floods at that time in Holland only made the congestion worse. The Ascanians offered inducements to attract homesteaders, for example, suspension of obligations for a period of time as compensation for resettlement, particularly for skilled tradesmen. Social pressures undoubtedly forced some to move east, while others would have answered the call to convert the heathen. Like any comparable cross-section throughout history, some people were ready to move for the sheer challenge, the relative freedom, and the pure adventure of a life on the frontier in the "Wild East".

Templar recruiters would visit a number of villages and cities to recruit and collect candidates. Elements would have been assembled at Magdeburg in a wagon train, which have followed a route from Madgeburg, through Saarmund, then pass south of Potsdam, and continue on to Tempelhof, and perhaps to further destinations eastward. Upon arrival, lots were probably drawn for allocation of plots and it is likely that all would have worked together to build dwellings, so that the process of clearing and cultivation could begin.

Excavations at Düppel show that some of the first settlers were Wends. No sources describe the daily routine in area settlements, nor do they show the degree of resistance – if any - that took place during the settlement process. The findings at Düppel suggest that there was some degree of peaceful interaction between the two races.

The settlement that grew around the ford across the River Spree enjoyed the advantage of being on the main water route, as well as at the crossroads of the major land routes. Although established later, the community of Berlin-Kölln prospered quicker because of these advantages, and became the regional center for commercial enterprise. Berlin grain and timber were hallmarks of quality at that time.

The success of the Ascanians was recognized in 1230, when the Margrave of Brandenburg was given electorial powers in the Imperial Diet. The Elector of Brandenburg thus became one of the very few allowed direct participation in the election of the German Emperor. This clearly established their position in the upper echelon of the Empire’s power structure. Spandau, the settlement next to their seat in the Mark Brandenburg, was given city rights on 7 March 1232.

The Templars are credited with establishing banking services, using the network of their commanderies and manors throughout Europe. For example, a merchant would receive a letter of credit based on money or goods that he deposited at a local Commandery. The letter could then be presented for payment, minus a handling charge, at any other Templar holding. The Templars amassed great wealth and vast estates over time, and this proved to be the primary cause for their downfall.

Phillip VI "the Fair", King of France, ordered the arrest of the Templars in France on Friday, 13 October 1307. Using charges similar to those used earlier against the Cathars and later by the Inquisition, the Templars in France were arrested and questioned under torture. The Grand Master, de Molay, initially confessed denying Christ and trampling on the Holy Cross, while resolutely denying charges of homosexuality during initiation rituals. However, he publicly recanted his confession made under torture, and was burnt at the stake on 18 March 1314. Accounts of De Molay's dying words have him calling the King of France and Pope Clement to meet him in a tribunal before God within the year, and both did, in fact, die within that time.

The Templars were a prominent item on the agenda of the 15th Council at Vienna, which Pope Clement V opened on 16 October 1511. Under pressure from Phillip of France, the council resolved, and the Pope decreed, the disbanding of the order.

Templar holdings in Germany were turned over to the Order of Knights of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, or simply the "Knights Hospitaller" (also called the "Knights of Rhodes" from 1309 to 1522, and "Knights of Malta" since 1530).

The Margrave had sent his representative to claim the keys to the Tempelhof Commandery, and – of course - the estate’s revenues, until the issue had been resolved. Margrave Waldemar recognized the disbandment decree in a treaty dated 29 January 1318. The Change of Command Ceremony at Tempelhof appears to have been just a change of clothing, in which the knights removed the white surcoat with the red Templar cross, and put on the black surcoat with the white Maltese cross of the Hospitallers. Names on documents dated before and after this event appear to be the same.

The next change of command caused much more severe problems. Margrave Waldemar was reported dead and buried at Chorin Abbey on 14 August 1519. The death of Waldemar, last of the Ascanians, generated a flood of claims and counter-claims against Mark Brandenburg and various sections within it. The issue was brought before the "Reichstag" (Imperial Diet) at Nuremburg in 1524 for resolution, where it was decided in favor of the Wittelsbach claim. However, the Wittelsbach Margrave Ludwig was only 8 years old. and this lack of majority caused another scramble for control of the guardianship.

Fresh fuel was added to the controversy in the summer of 1348, when both the "Black Death" and a wandering "pilgrim" came to the Mark Brandenburg.

The "Black Death" or Bubonic Plague spread up through Europe from Venice between 1348 and 1350. It is estimated that this epidemic killed 25,000,000 people - about one quarter of the total European population.

The pilgrim stopped at Magdeburg and told the Archbishop that he was Waldemar, the last Ascanian Margrave. According to his tale, he had buried another person in his place at Chorin Abbey, and had gone on a pilgrimage to repent for his sins. Heathens had captured and imprisoned him, and he had only recently managed to get loose and return. Now he was ready to return to his duties. Nobles and cities declared for or against Waldemar, who began his "reign" in 1348. In September 1348 he rewarded the twin cities of Berlin-Kölln for their support of his claim, by granting them a portion of the revenues from Tempelhof, Mariendorf and Marienfelde.

The years immediately following were marked by severe losses due to Plague, to violent persecution of the Jews (who were supposedly responsible for the plague), to the civil war between the followers of Margrave Ludwig and the Pretender Waldemar, to the disruption caused by nobles (who were still pressing territorial claims), and to economic depression caused by the breakdown in commerce, which would have been felt throughout the region.

The King of Sweden was asked to mediate and he decided in favor of the Wittelsbach claim. The twin city Berlin-Kölln apparently ignored this ruling. Margrave Ludwig the Elder was preparing to besiege both Spandau and Berlin-Kölln when the cities requested a truce, which he granted for the period 2-31 July 1351. Margrave Ludwig the Elder probably set up his main camp on Tempelhof Field, for it was here that delegates signed the peace treaty. This document, which sealed the peace between Margrave Ludwig and the twin cities of Berlin-Kölln, is also the first document that formally mentions Tempelhof Field. It was signed on Friday, St Mary Magdaline’s Day (i.e. 22 July), 1551 "to velde in dem Dorpe to Tempelhove" (in the field of the village of Tempelhof). Waldemar the Pretender was exposed as a fraud and an uneasy truce was in effect.

Emperor Charles IV promulgated the famous "Golden Bull" (Aurea Bulla). This was a fundamental law of the Holy Roman Empire, signed during the Nuremburg Diet in 1356, and modified at the Diet of Metz in the Fall of the same year. The most important clauses established that the emperor would be chosen by election and resolved the question that the electorial vote was to be vested in seven principalities versus ruling families. Now recognized, the Wittelsbach Margrave withdrew and left his governors to deal with the rebellious nobles. Although the issue was settled for Tempelhof and Berlin-Kölln, the conflict itself lasted many more years.

The Knights of St. John reorganized the outlying farms on the eastern fringe of Tempelhof Field and established the village of Richardsdorf (today’s Neukölln) in 1360. This may have been a measure to improve security and stability. This charter is the only one of its type for any village in the Mark Brandenburg that has survived to this day.

The Wittelsbach family gave up its claim to the Mark Brandenburg on 15 August 1573, and the territory reverted to the Emperor, Charles IV, and to the Luxemberg family. Things improved slightly under the Emperor’s direct guardianship. However, after his death in 1578, the Mark Brandenburg was divided among his sons and the conflict raged anew. Strong-willed nobles again intimidated, terrorized and manipulated. They stole money, valuables and goods quite literally by highway robbery, thereby earning the name "Robber Barons"

Merchants were the first to suffer their attacks, for small groups on the open road were easy prey for the knights. Goods were plundered and the merchants were killed or held for ransom. Attempts by the merchants to convoy or hire bodyguard troops were met by even larger bands of Robber Barons. When the robbers graduated to capturing and either ruling or ransoming settlements and towns, cities in the Mark Brandenburg, including Berlin-Kölln, formed a protective league called the "Landwehr". This did not save Berlin-Kölln, which was taken and forcibly ruled by the von Quitzows in 1402. The von Quitzows and their allies at this time controlled most of the territory around Tempelhof Field, and Robber Barons in general, had free run in the Mark Brandenburg. Compared with the Wittelsbachs, the Luxemburgs seem even less interested in conducting Brandenburg’s affairs. Sigismund used Brandenburg as collateral for a loan when he needed money to back his claim to the Throne of Hungary, and he reportedly pawned and redeemed Brandenburg several times.

Berlin-Kölln sent a delegation to seek his aid in ousting the Robber Barons. The timing was fortunate, for it was close to the time for an imperial election. Sigismund agreed to send his field captain, Frederick VI, "Burgrave" of Nuremburg.

Frederick VI was a Hohenzollern and this family originally came from Swabia. In a round-about way, the descendents of the original ruling tribes had returned to the Mark Brandenburg. They would continue to rule for just over 500 years: promoted successively from Margrave and Elector to King and finally to Emperor of Germany.

Frederick VI, accompanied by a small bodyguard, arrived in Berlin-Kölln on 7 July 14l2. However, instead of confronting the Robber Barons, he went on a tour of inspection. Only afterwards did he invite the nobles to dinner, attempting to use persuasion. However, they remained intractable. One of them reportedly said that he would not give in "even if it rained Nurembergers". Frederick VI led a force of local citizens and his bodyguard against the Robber Barons but was defeated at Kremmer Damm in the north of Berlin.

He withdrew and regrouped, requesting the loan of "Faule Gretel" (Lazy Gretel) and sent for a force of Franconian Knights. "Lazy Gretel" was the super weapon of the age. It fired large caliber bronze cannon balls that effectively took castles apart. The gun got its name because of the amount of time it took to move, site and load. Frederick VI’s next campaign was successful. The Quitzow fortresses, including the "impregnable" fortress at Friesack, were stormed and the von Quitzows and their allies were killed, captured or run out of the Mark Brandenburg.

Frederick VI had originally ensured his promotion to governor of the Mark Brandenburg by a loan of 100,000 gold guldens. A further loan of 200,000 gold guldens moved the Emperor Sigismund to announce at the Council of Constance on 5 April 1415, that he had raised his governor in Brandenburg to Margrave and Elector of Brandenburg. Frederick VI renamed himself Frederick I, in keeping with the customs of the time, and assumed office even though the formal investiture did not occur until 18 April 1417.

The leading citizens of Berlin-Kölln formally reviewed property boundary markers in an annual procession that took place on St. Bartholomew’s Day, the 24th of August. The boys would be given their first lesson in citizenship, for at each marker the mayor would show each boy the specific marker, admonish him never to move it or deface it, switch him to ensure that he noted the lesson, and then give him a sweet cake to help him to remember it. One of these annual boundary processions led to a short and bloody confrontation between the Hospitallers and the citizens of Berlin-Kölln.

Commander Nickel von Colditz and several of his knights were present when the councilmen determined that a boundary marker had been moved. The move was in favor of Tempelhof and this was sufficient proof of the misdeed in the eyes of the Berlin-Kölln councilmen. Although no documents survived, eyewitness accounts have preserved the tale. Heated words were exchanged and the Hospitaller Commander sent for reinforcements from the Order’s eastern holdings and issued the call to arms to inhabitants of Tempelhof, Mariendorf, Marienfelde and Richardsdorf. The Hospitaller assembled their attack force of about 500 cavalry and farmers from the four villages on the northern portion of Tempelhof Field. The knights and villagers launched a dawn attack on the city defenses at Köpenicker Tor. However, either the defenders were forewarned, or perhaps had observed the preparations. Once the Hospitaller force was fully engaged, the city cavalry sortied from Gertraudtentor and attacked the knights and villages on the flank and rear, while the city infantry stormed through the gate in a coordinated frontal assault. The knights retreated towards Köpenick and both sides appear to have suffered heavy losses. Less than a month later, in September 1455, the Hospitaller sold the village of Tempelhof, the manor, and all that belongs to them; the village of Richardsdorf with its meadow, bog and moor; the village of Marienfelde with the windmill, and the village of Mariendorf with the Hegesee at Teltow, for "vier und twintig hundert schock, negen und druttig schock und viertig groschen an bemischen gelde" (2,459 Schock, 40 Groschen, in mixed coinage). A "Schock" (= 60 Groschen) was the measurement term used to show the value of property and buildings for tax purposes.

Tempelhof Field’s steady but staid progress through history was interrupted on 15 July 1525 - the day the world was supposed to end. The Elector’s court astrologers had forecast the coming of a great flood, which would sweep across and destroy the entire Mark Brandenburg. Elector Joachim I took the warning very seriously and resolved to save what he could. When the storm broke at noon of the appointed day, he packed his possessions, family and court into carts, and moved the parade expeditiously to the highest point in the region atop Tempelhofer Berg (now the Kreuzberg). Troops cordoned off the approaches to prevent the stricken rabble from storming the hill when the flood came. Luckily for the Berliners, this never happened.

Joachim must of had time to closely examine the hilly rim of Tempelhof while waiting for the flood, for in 1555 he ordered vineyards planted on these slopes (Tempelhofer Berg and the "Rollberge" or Tempelhof Hills). Some of the plants may have come from the Marian Cloister near Spandau, for Joachim I ordered 200 grape vine plants from Abbess Schapelow there, for shipment to Berlin. Spree Riesling became popular in the 14th Century, and was shipped by wagon or boat to Hamburg, Flanders, Poland and Russia.

The population converted to the reformed or Lutheran faith In 1559 following the example of the Elector. Two local legends may well date back to this time, which, if they provide an insight into the values of the period, show these as a combination of Christian values, myth and superstition.

Little People:

Once upon a time, long ago, when a great forest covered the field and it was far from the city, a poor woman lived there alone in a simple hut. One evening, two of the little people came out of the forest and asked her for the loan of a bowl. She lent them the bowl willingly, and they left, carrying the bowl between them. The next morning, the woman was surprised to find the bowl before the door of her hut, and even more surprised to find that it contained a piece of delicate roast meat. On following evenings, whenever the little people requested the loan of something, the object was always returned the next morning with a small gift. The woman became very curious, and one evening secretly followed the little people. She saw them enter a cave and managed to follow them unnoticed. Deep in the earth she came upon a large, brightly lit kitchen filled with cooks busily preparing a meal. The woman was able to withdraw without being seen and went back to her hut. When the little people came the next time, she said nothing, but added a small bundle of dried herbs to the article that they asked to borrow. The next morning, and many mornings thereafter, there was a silver coin before her door. It was enough to allow her to live well without worry, and went on for quite some time. Gradually, as more and more people moved in and settlements grew, and the peace of the woodlands was frequently disturbed by the noise and sounds of everyday life, the visits by the little people became less and less frequent. When the ringing of church bells was heard, the little people, who could not abide that sound, packed their things and moved away – no one knows where.

The Poor Widow of Tempelhof:

There once was a woman, whose husband had died, who had to work very hard to earn enough to support herself and her young son. One day, they were following the path across Tempelhof Field on their way to Berlin. The woman was lost in thought and worries, when she was started by a shout from her son. He stood before a hole in the ground, surrounded by multi-colored rays of light coming out of the hole. She rushed over and saw that the bottom of the hole was covered by gold, silver and jewels. Shouting for joy at her good fortune, she quickly knelt and scraped several handfuls into her apron, which she quickly bundled up securely, and then hurried on her way. Suddenly, she remembered her son, and, when she turned around, saw him twisting and squirming as he disappeared into the hole. By the time that she ran back, the earth had closed over him and became as hard as stone. Scraping, scratching and digging did not help – the earth would not release the boy. When night came she was forced to go home, but she returned the next morning and every morning thereafter. However, she never found any sign of her child. One Sunday morning, as the church bells called to services, she knelt and began to pray. She was startled by the touch of a small, soft hand on her shoulder, turned, and found her son sitting next to her. The child did not speak, but only beckoned her to follow him into the hole. She did, and found herself in a room with walls that were lined all around with containers holding the souls of unbaptized or abandoned children. The child took the top from one of the vessels and showed her the small, torn soul within. "That is my soul," whispered the boy, "it broke when you forgot me for the treasure". "Sew it together again and I will be free." The woman pulled thread from her smock and immediately started to work. The child screamed and rolled in pain, but she did not allow herself to be distracted and hurried to quickly finish. The boy cried out for joy. He was free. She grabbed him and quickly left. As she came out of the hole, she again saw the aura of colored lights and blinking treasure. This time, she ignored it and rushed on, happily hugging her child.

Wealthy city dwellers started seeking investment opportunities in lands adjacent to city holdings at the close of the 16th century, and parts of Tempelhof Field were sold off on speculation. Berlin’s treasury was in poor shape at the time, and the council decided to sell its interest in Tempelhof, Mariendorf and Marienfelde to its sister-city, Kölln. Johann Köppen, the Elector’s Councilman, purchased the Templar Manor. Katharina, the wife of the Elector, acquired and reunited the Templar Manor with the village of Tempelhof Village in 1601. The properties changed hand several times following her death in 1602.

Bubonic Plague appeared again in Marienfelde in 1611. The disease was first experienced at the farmstead that served as the village inn, and within a few days, all of the inhabitants were dead. Bubonic Plague would terrorize villages and towns throughout Brandenburg for the next two years.

Plague was quickly followed by inflation and scarce money in a Europe moving steadily toward war over religion. Uncertainty caused hoarding and restricted trade. The declining number of coins that remained in circulation had generally been "clipped". This prompted the Berliners to dub this period the time of the "Kipper und Wipper", referring to "Kipper", the persons who clipped pieces from coins, and "Wipper", referring to the scales that merchants had to use to weigh the coins to ensure full measure of payment. Serious as these issues were, they were merely the opening scene of a much, much larger disaster.

The Bohemian Revolt started on 23 May 1618, when a group of Protestant radicals tossed the Hapsburg Emperor’s delegates, Martinitz and Slawata, out the window of the council chamber in the palace at Prague.

This war in Bohemia from 1618 to 1623 was the first in a series of wars that have come to be called the "30 Years War" in Europe. The others were the Danish War (1624—1629), the Swedish War (1630—1635), and the French-Swedish War (1635—1648). Each conflict has the dubious distinction of being bloodier and more devastating than the previous, and although religion was the proclaimed issue, politics and power were the more prominent cause. Elector Georg Wilhelm tried to maintain Brandenburg’s neutrality. He led negotiations which resulted in the marriage of his sister to King Gustav Adolf II, of Sweden, who was a major power in the Protestant camp. He appointed Graf Schwarzenberg to chair his Privy Council. Graf Schwarzenberg had strong ties with the Catholic Hapsburgs and he was effectively "chancellor" in Brandenburg by virtue of his position on the Elector’s council. However, the Elector’s neutrality program was nullified by Brandenburg’s position in roughly the center of the more aggressive combatants, and it became an assembly area used by both sides. Essentially, it was occupied by one side or the other throughout the conflicts. The Swedes moved into the Mark Brandenburg in 1651, but did not leave entirely until they were forced out in 1678.

Tempelhof was pillaged and looted for the first time in 1620, and was revisited again in 1626/27, when a force of about 100 "Landesknechte"(mercenaries) were forcibly quartered on the field and in the village. In both cases, the troops brought disease with them, for there were widespread reports of plague, dysentery and cholera. Imperial troops were active throughout the region and occupied Berlin in 1628 and again in 1630 under Wallenstein. Plague reappeared in 1631/32 and killed a third of the population in Mariendorf. This time it was probably brought in by the Swedes, who re-entered the region in mid-l631. Unbelievably, things actually got worse following the Peace of Prague. Severe epidemic waves of plague, cholera and dysentery were interspersed with widespread atrocities committed against the dwindling civilian population by wandering bands of unemployed mercenaries, for - by this time – there was very little left to forage and nothing left to plunder.

In March 1652, roughly three years after the war ended, Elector Frederick Wilhelm ordered that a census be taken. His enumerator in the Teltow District, which included Tempelhof, was Michel Klinitz, who recorded: "...Only the farmers Rohde and Teyle remain on their farms." Volumes have been written on the subject, but a true measure of the magnitude of the disaster called the "30 Years War" is clearly and dramatically demonstrated by a simple statistic. at the start of the war, Tempelhof was a flourishing village of 50 large families, and after the war, only the remnants of two families remained in a wasted community.

The Elector, in a manner similar to that of the leaders of other small states in Europe, contracted-out portions of his army and small navy. For example, Prussian troops were hired by the King of Denmark, who in turn sub-contracted their services to William of Orange in Ireland in the late 1690’s. Prussia, like other small states in Europe, actually became a major military power without fighting a war in its own cause.

Frederick III added another title on 18 January 1701, when the Elector and Margrave of Brandenburg crowned himself King in Prussia during lavish coronation ceremonies. He took the name Frederick I and personally led the festive coronation procession over 400 miles back to Berlin. In excess of 1,800 carriages and a huge escort paraded through throngs of well-wishers and gaily-bedecked towns and villages along the route. When the new king arrived in Schönhausen, on 17 March 1701, he determined that preparations for the official reception in Berlin were unsuitable. He stopped the procession for nearly two months, and finally entered Berlin on 6 May 1701. The coronation reception has been called one of the greatest spectacles of all time. It was only in keeping with the character of the new monarch, who managed to bring Prussia to the brink of financial ruin.

His son, Frederick Wilhelm I, was a complete change. Frugal, active and very observant, he roamed the streets of his domain on personal inspection tours, called "Caning Tours", because the monarch dealt swift punishment with his walking cane. Idleness was unlawful in Prussia. Even street peddlers were required to engage in some productive endeavor instead of idle gossip when between customers. The king abolished the gala court maintained by his father, sold the gaudy palace trappings, and severely scaled down the residence staff. He revised the judicial system and reformed administrative offices, to establish the basis for Prussian Civil Service. Frederick Wilhelm I is also noted for starting social reforms that produced a rudimentary social welfare system and an expanded public school system. He was reportedly deeply religious and, at the same time, known for drunken revels and pranks during his staff meetings, which were called the "Tobakskollegium" (Tobacco Council). He gave Berlin a military police force and taxis (horse-drawn carriages called Droschken), expanded the city’s territory, laid out streets, and ordered an extensive building campaign.

His cousin, George II of England, called him "my brother-in-law, the Sergeant". European courts amused themselves with stories of the latest antics of the "Prussian Drill Sergeant," and history calls him the "Soldier King". His passion was the Prussian Army, and most especially his personal Life Guards Infantry Regiment, the "Lange Kerle" (Tall Guys).

He initiated a national draft and increased Prussia’s standing army from 50,000 to 80,000, not including reserves, militia and home-guards. This force was drilled to the point where only one will was recognized - the King. It is not known when Frederick Wilhelm I first decided to use Tempelhof Field but chronicles record his presence at various times on and around Tempelhof Field after about 1719.

The first recorded maneuver held at Tempelhof was in the Spring of 1722 and these exercises became annual events. The king required that the army demonstrate its ability and readiness to conduct operations before the start of the campaigning season. Evolutions during this first review lasted two weeks and involved six Berlin infantry regiments, six squadrons of hussars and the mounted "Gens d’armes" Regiment. These annual maneuvers also provided an opportunity to showcase capabilities before potential clients, since the Soldier-King continued his father’s practice of contracting-out troops.

The farmers were told to clear the field prior to the exercise and then were allowed to cultivate it after maneuvers were completed. As time went on, military use of the field started to seriously infringe upon the growing season. Larger contingents of troops used successively larger segments of the field. Finally, in response to complaints about economic losses, the Prussian Treasury agreed to pay maneuver damages to Tempelhof farmers. The initial budget was 1200 Talers, but this had been raised to 2000 Talers by the start of the 19th Century.

A parade was held at the close of maneuvers during the early years. A contemporary chronicle has survived, which records the events that took place during one of these parades. "The king was up and astride his horse by 2 A.M. on major review days. The regiments would file out through Kottbuser Tor to Tempelhofer Berg (now Kreuzberg), where they would march past the king. Then the infantry would assemble in line formations and the king would ride the front accompanied by martial music and saluting flags. After this, the king would return to the center front, where the signal cannon was emplaced. Field chairs had been set up there for the princes, who each received a piece of buttered bread, which they thoroughly enjoyed, from a page who carried two packages in his pocket for that purpose. After breakfast, the regiments would perform their wheels and drills, and as the final evolutions were completed, grenadiers would toss wooden grenades to startle the cavalry. The Berlin public, and especially the on-looking boys, thought that this was a great show. During the return march to the city, the queen and princesses would stop at the city gate, to see which unit the king favored. The march route led to the palace, where all of the infantry would again pass in review to salute the queen, who waited here. The performance ended after the password was given out, about 5 P.M. Following this, all officers would assemble in the hallways before the king’s apartments, where benches had been set out for their use and relaxation."

Several of the early reviews at Tempelhof were so large and imposing, that they are in a class all by themselves as a rank of "super parades". One of these was given in honor of the state visit by August the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony. The Alert Order given by the Soldier-King for this event has survived:

"Review for the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, August the Strong: Parade and Drill Order for cavalry and infantry, and the day of the event, will be announced later. Troops to assemble at 0100 hours before their Captain’s quarters, and then march to their Commander’s quarters at 0200 hours, where they will be formed into battalions."

More than 16,000 men took part in this review, divided up into 20 infantry battalions and 20 cavalry squadrons.

The garrison troops were called out again for an even larger spectacle on 12 June 1733, when a Festive Review was ordered as part of the ceremonies celebrating the wedding of the Crown Prince. Frederick II, who was known to history as "the Great" and to his people as "Old Fritz", married Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern in keeping with the arrangements made by his father. "Members of the leading families in 59 coach-and-six were escorted from Charlottenburg at 5 A.M. by a throng of mounted gentlemen to the tented pavillion that had been set-up on Tempelhof Field. Twenty battalions and twenty squadrons drilled and wheeled there to cannon-fire commands until the wedding party returned to Berlin at 1 P.M. The return march by the regiments and subsequent review before the palace lasted until 4 P.M." The Soldier-King ordered that a medallion be struck to commemorate the event. The reverse of this medallion shows the parade scene at Tempelhof Field, with the edge of the Kreuzberg and the Rollberge in the background, and a cavalry charge in progress on the grounds of the present airport terminal building.

Both the Soldier-King and Frederick the Great had severe problems with desertions from the Prussian Army. This is not surprising, considering the brutal discipline and the fact that most of the troops were recruited or impressed against their will. The Soldier-King implemented one countermeasure that directly affected the Tempelhof Farmers, when he emplaced a gun atop a hill on the north side of Tempelhof Field. This hill, which lies just north of present-day "Platz der Luftbrücke", came to be known as "Alarm Cannon Hill". When a deserter was reported, the gun was fired to call the farmers out to "beat the brush" and search the field. Ulrich Bräker, a Swiss "recruit", left us an eyewitness account of what happened to those deserters who were caught in 1756:

"...we were forced to watch while they were made to run the gauntlet eight times in both directions, through a narrow lane formed by two hundred men with switches, until they fell, out of breath. The next day it began again. Tattered rags were stripped from torn backs, and they were beat anew until blood streamed and scraps of flesh hung down over their breeches..."

Military desertions continued and were compounded by the serious economic effect of citizens also fleeing the city and country to avoid being drafted. The Soldier King ordered that a wall be built around the town. The stated intention was to ensure the collection of revenue and prevent smuggling, earning the name ‘Zollmauer" (Customs Wall), but – like a later "Berlin Wall" in the 20th century - the real intent was to prevent depopulation. Even the institution of the death penalty did not stop the exodus. The Soldier King was forced to release Berlin from the military draft system. Again, as with the "Berlin Wall" of the 20th Century, there was an immediate increase in population, as citizens moved into the city to avoid military service.

On 16 October 1737, an observer on Tempelhof Field would have had the opportunity to witness a very unusual event, when a small Austrian force captured and ransomed Berlin. While Frederick the Great and the bulk of the Prussian Army were engaged in the south, Prince Karl of Lothringen had the inspiration, and in the person of General Hadik, the right person, to launch a daring scheme. General Hadik quickly assembled a small, lightly armed Austrian force, which has been reported from 5400-7000 men, and led them in forced marches to the gates of Berlin. On 16 October, 500 hussars swerved west across Tempelhof Field to attack Potsdamer Tor, while the main body mounted an attack on the Schlesischer Tor - both gates were in the outer ring of city fortifications. The attack at Schlesischer Tor carried through to the open ground in front of the inner defensive ring, and the Austrians threatened Kottbuser Tor. General Hadik sent a trumpeter with the demands: surrender the city and pay a ransom of 500,000 Taler within 24 hours. True, the Austrians shuffled their troops to give an impression of greater numbers than were actually engaged. Even so, it was a pretty audacious demand, for the Berlin Garrison was about 7000 strong, behind strong fortifications, and supported by the population of the town (estimated between 90,000 and 150,000)! Lieutenant General von Rochow was obviously very confused and apparently he expected a much larger effort. He held back reserves and only committed defenders piecemeal to the city defenses. These small units were quickly overcome by the Austrians, who then started plundering. General Rochow withdrew the garrison to Spandau and left word that he was quitting the town and leaving it to the discretion of the Austrians. However, by now General Hadik had his own problems. He did not have sufficient forces to take Berlin and word had reached him that a relief column under Prince Moritz of Anhalt was marching hard to the city’s defense. He dispatched a small group of officers to collect the ransom (200,000 Taler in money and notes of exchange), assembled his troops, and retreated hastily along the eastern fringe of Tempelhof Field. On the way out, the Austrians sacked villages in their path for Buckow was plundered according to the village chronicle. Prince Moritz and the relief column arrived on 18 October, and hussars were sent in pursuit of the Austrians, who lost some 60 men and one wagon loaded with money during the "get-away".

Three years later, the Russians advanced on Berlin. The Cassocks of their advance guard swept across Tempelhof Field on 1 October l760. The main body, under General Tottleben, arrived four days later and 5000 Russians attacked the city defenses at Schlesischer Tor. The initial attack was broken by the city’s 1500 defenders, and General Tottleben ordered his artillery to soften the town defenses in preparation for a second attack. Six cannon and a number of howitzers bombarded the town and the second attack wave was launched, but also failed. Seeking another opening, the Russians swung left on the defenses. The artillery was moved to emplacements on Tempelhof Field and on the hills to the north of the field, and a third attack was launched. This too failed and the Russians camped on Tempelhof Field for the night. A relief force of 8000 men under the Prince of Wurtemburg was able to reinforce Berlin that night, and General Tottleben withdrew most of his force from Tempelhof Field towards Köpenick during the morning and afternoon of 5 October. That evening, a Russian Corps under General Czernitscheff moved into positions on the east side of Berlin and General Tottleben was able to bring his main force back to Tempelhof Field. Both Russian elements launched a simultaneous, two-pronged attack on 6 October, which also failed. A second Prussian column under General Hülsen marched rapidly toward the city and reached Zehlendorf that same evening. On the morning of the 7th, the Russians plundered and burned Schöneberg, then retreated across Tempelhof towards Köpenick, while General Hülsen moved his troops into the city. Battles were fought again that day and again the Russians were thrown back. However, Marshall Lascy arrived that afternoon with the main Austrian Army and demanded the surrender of Berlin. The War Council considered the alternatives and decided to surrender the city, for although the defenders now numbered 16,000, the combined, the Austrian and Russian opposing force was more than 45,000. On the next morning, 8 October 1760, the city was turned over to General Tottleben and the ransom demand was made: Berlin was to pay 15 tons of gold and 200,000 Taler in coins. The money was collected. along with the gold. by a form of head tax (each person contributed a share) and given to the Russians who withdrew from Berlin on 12 October 1760. Farms in Buckow were plundered and there are reports of a number of atrocities committed during the withdrawal of the Austrian and Russian forces.

The humble beginnings of the air age date from 5 June 1785, when Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier launched a hot-air balloon with a lamb, a duck and a chicken as passengers. The flight was successful and the passengers survived. J.F Pilatre de Hazier then made the first manned flight in a Montgolfier balloon on 15 October. But the crowning achievement in aviation’s first year occured on 21 November, when Mr. Hazier and Marquis Francois Laurent d’Arlandes flew a Montgolfier balloon from the summer palace at La Muette to the nearer environs of Paris. Man had realized a dream dating back to antiquity and it was not long before that realization became a commercial enterprise.

Jean Pierre Blanchard started demonstrating the new invention at various cities in Europe, and it was in this manner that the Berliners were introduced to the wonders of flight on 27 September 1788.

Blanchard set up the apparatus on the parade ground outside of Brandenburg Gate. City officials called for the public to maintain peace and order, "and not to make themselves punishable by loud disturbing outcries or other disorders, including injuries, climbing trees, or trampling the fields…" City officials made it very clear that violators "will be taken into custody, without regard to station or status, and severely penalized."

The warning was to no avail. The squadron of dragoons, that had been detached to guard the large, cordoned-off area, had to be reinforced with 2,000 men in order to keep the enthusiastic Berliners beyond the barrier. Because of the distance from the city, physicians, surgeons, and substantial quantities of bandages had been brought in to provide immediate first aid, should this be needed. Finally, the long anticipated moment arrived. The balloon expanded and rounded out as it filled. Blanchard climbed aboard and two large dogs were helped into the basket as the Berliners applauded and cheered. A few sandbags were tossed out, and the balloon lifted-off and rose higher and higher. Suddenly, the onlookers gasped as a bundle suddenly tumbled from the balloon. It unraveled and a small parachute opened, that supported a smaller basket containing the two dogs, who survived the adventure without injury. The weight loss caused the balloon to accelerate upward, where winds caught it and drove it rapidly away. Blanchard was followed on the ground by a throng of riders and horse-drawn vehicles. They caught up with him when he finally landed near Buchholz, and Blanchard was brought back to Berlin at the head of an enthusiastic procession.

Berlin had its introduction to flight and balloons became the rage. Of course it became obligatory, that major festivals would now have an air show. Even high fashion was represented, for there were several "Balloon Hats a la Blanchard" for Milady.

The balloon remained a toy for nearly a hundred years before the military came to accept its reconaissance value and military potential. In that interim, several important historical events would take place on or near Tempelhof Field.

Where "The Soldier-King" and "Old Fritz" energetically brought Prussia to political prominance within the European community, it seems that their successors lived on their laurels for several decades. It was during this period that Napoleon rose to power in France, crowned himself Emperor, and started realigning European relationships. Austria, Prussia and Russia were his immediate concerns. During the first Coalition War, Prussia allied herself with Austria and a small force entered France. They were stopped at Valmy on 20 September 1792. After the peace treaty was signed, Prussia remained neutral through the remainder of the Coalition Wars, being preoccupied with her eastern border and new acquisitions during the partition of Poland. Although he concentrated first on Austria, Napoleon had not forgotten Prussia. On 5 November 1805, Archduke Anton of Austria, Emperor Alexander of Russia and King Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia reached agreement during the Council at Potsdam. Prussia would serve as a negotiator between the French, Austrians and Russians, and if the French did not pull out of Germany, Holland, and Switzerland by 15 December 1805, then Prussia would enter the conflict. Napoleon called Prussia’s bluff, for it became just that after he soundly defeated the Austrians and Russians at Austerlitz (2 December 1805). Frederick Wilhelm III was forced to sign the Treaty of Schönbrunn on 15 February 1806, which bound Prussia to France.

Napoleon wanted Prussia eliminated, not just neutralized, and he tried various schemes to force Prussia out of its neutrality. He finally succeeded when he ensured that the Prussians were aware of the contents of apparently secret negotiations with Russia and Britain for Prussian holdings in Poland and Hannover. The Prussian Army of about 100,000 strong was called to readiness on 9 August 1806, and this was followed by the last great review In Berlin before hostilities. The Prussian troops who marched out of Berlin in September 1806, were not the same caliber army that had won the Seven Year’s War. Although numerically superior to the French, they were badly led and Napoleon easily defeated them at the twin battles of Jena and Auerstädt on 14 October 1806.

Napoleon quickly marched toward Berlin, and the first French troops entered the city on 24 October. The advance guard bivouacked that evening on Tempelhof Field. On 27 October, Napoleon personally entered Berlin at Brandenburg Gate, and the French occupied the city until the war debt had been paid. A Quartermaster’s receipt from Schöneberg, which served as a headquarters for a French Corps, verified that 8 noncommissioned officers and 500 men were quartered there from 21 to 28 August 1807, and that each received a daily ration of "1 ½ pounds of bread, 1 pound of meat, vegetables and beer..."

The French withdrew from Berlin in early December 1808, and Prussian troops returned to the city on 10 December. Although social and military reforms were introduced, it became clear that the King and nobles no longer held absolute control. As one example, Major Schill, commander of the 2nd Brandenburger-Hussars Regiment, assembled his four batallions and "Jager" (mounted light infantry) detachment at Tempelhof Field on 28 April 1809, then deserted Prussia to fight against Napoleon. Letters were exchanged between Napoleon and Frederick, who issued a proclamation: "On orders of His Majesty, the King of Prussia, Our Gracious Lord, all are herewith most earnestly warned not to make themselves guilty of similar actions..." Shortly afterwards, on 31 May 1809, Danish and Dutch troops cornered Schill’s Regiment near Stralsmund and annihilated them.

Prussia was coerced into signing another alliance with France on 24 February 1812. Under its terms, the last remnant of the Prussian Army - about 20,000 men - were to accompany Napoleon into Russia. It also stipulated that Berlin would be re-occupied, and French troops returned to the city on 24 February 1812.

However, the Berliners were not as calm as they outwardly appeared. A popular movement was gaining acceptance among students and the middle class. Jahn and Friesen had founded the German League, which sought to overthrow French control. A turning point was reached when General Hans Yorck von Wartemburg signed a separate treaty with the Russians at Tauroggen on 30 December 1812, and removed the Prussians from the Grand Army. Although the King In Berlin was dismayed by these events, he did not issue a general call to arms. Instead, he left Berlin and went to Breslau.

After his departure, and while the city was still under a French Garrison, the Berliners started to build a corps of volunteers. The numbers were sufficient to give the garrison commander cause for concern, for his 10,000 to 20,000 man garrison could accomplish little against a popular uprising of up to 150,000. On February 3rd, the King very reluctantly issued a call to arms, but this was not against Napoleon, instead, "in defense of national interests". On 20 February 1815, a small force of about 150 Russians dashed into Berlin, and part of the population rose to support them. Of itself, this did not seriously endanger French control of the city, but it was additional cause for concern. When he was informed that the Russian main body was marching on Berlin, the garrison commander, Eugen Beauharnais, Vice-Regent of Italy, led his 20,000-man garrison through Hallesches Tor, across Tempelhof Field, and out of Berlin. Prüssian and allied forces moved in behind and prepared for Napoleon’s counter- attack.

Additional fortifications were hastily erected, with redoubts added to the Kreuzberg, in the Hasenheide, and along the Rollberge. Roughly 16 earthworks were built, spaced along the length of the Landwehr Canal. Magazines were established and guns were mounted. The initial French thrust was blunted at the Battle of Luckau on 4 June. A truce followed, but Frederick proved to be less pliable than previously, and negotiations failed. Napoleon then ordered a three-pronged attack on the city. Dudinot left Bayreuth with 68,000 men and moved up from the South. A French army of 12,000 left Magdeburg and moved east, while Davoust led 40,000 men down from Hamburg.

The fortifications on Tempelhof Field were never tested. The French were stopped cold at Gross-Beeren on 25 August. This was followed by a second defeat for the French at Dennewitz, and then finally, there was the major confrontation at Leipzig. Prussia gained in the resultant peace treaty. However, Frederick Wilhelm III proved to be less than grateful, for he sternly repressed the movement that had saved his throne.

Reforms had been introduced and – as always - the Prussian Army was hard at work on Tempelhof Field. Activities by this time lasted so long and involved so many troops, that the Tempelhof Farmers were again experiencing serious financial difficulties. The issue had been raised in the 18th century and now it was brought up again. A bitter "legal" battle started in 1817, when Colonel von Krohn was apportioned a permanent training area south of the"Privat-Weinberge", in the area now occupied by theTraffic Police, across from Headbuilding East, on Tempelhof Field. The Prussian State Treasury finally purchased the field in 1826/27, and reportedly paid 30 to 49 Taler per Morgen (0.6-0.9 Acres), causing a "Gold Rush" atmosphere among the farmers of Tempelhof.

The military now had permanent but not sole use of Tempelhof Field. Unlike the troops, the Berliners who came here, did so voluntarily and in great numbers. It became a favored spot for family and recreational activities of all types. Friedrich Ludwig Jahn, who is also known as "Father Jahn", founded Germany’s first public physical fitness training area there in 1811. This fitness facility, which was located in the northeast corner of the Hasenheide, attracted large numbers of health enthusiasts. Coffee houses, beer halls and open-air cafes appeared along the fringes of the field. Tempelhof tourism received a major boost in 1821 when the National Monument to the Wars of Liberation (1815—1815) was unveiled atop Tempelhofer Berg, which was then renamed the "Kreuzberg". This was the highest of the five "Weinberge" on the north side of the field. It soon collected a steady clientele for its cafes and restaurants.

The "Verein für Pferdezucht und Pferdedresseur" (Association for Horse-Breeders and Horse-Trainers) promoted horse races on the western part of the field starting in 1830. A racetrack was constructed in 1835, but operations were forced to move in l840, when tracks for the Berlin-Anhalt Railway were laid through there. Horseracing then moved to a track in the southeast section of the field, where it continued until 1867, and drew high society to Tempelhof. At the other end of the social spectrum, "Ma Kreideweiss", the proprietress of the local "Gasthaus", achieved international recognition, for a postcard mailed in Graz and addressed simply to "Julius Kreideweiss in Europe", was promptly and correctly delivered. This card was on display in the Tempelhof Local History Museum). The big race took place every year at the time that the "Wollmarkt" (Wool Fair) was held.

"Iron Horses" also ran at least one race across Tempelhof, on 24 July 1841. This was the day when Borsig proved the worth of his steam engine by defeating a Stephenson (English) engine in a race. The starting point was the Anhalter Bahnhof and the finish line was at Juterbog - these points were connected by the single track of the Anhalter Railway. Borsig’s machine was ten minutes faster and thus he broke the sales monopoly previously held by the Americans and English for the developing German railways.

Military drills, exercises, reviews and parades remained a standing attraction, and some of these were very large and extravagant. The evolutions now included the new military technology branches of combat engineers and trainmen.

This was the period of the industrial revolution. By 1850, manufactured goods governed the consumer market. These were cheaper and more plentiful than hand-crafted items, so many small craftsmen were forced out of business. But factories required manpower, starting a major shift in population into cities. The population of greater Berlin grew from 157,000 in 1813 to 548,000 by 1861. Housing became a critical issue and it was answered by construction of hastily built high-rise stacks of small apartments called "Mietskasernen" (Rental-Barracks) by the Berliners. Tempelhof Field’s status as a maneuver terrain saved it from being completely overrun by the brick jungle. However, the north boundary was rolled back to its present day location, and chunks were taken out of the rest of the perimeter.

The Napoleonic Wars officially terminated the First German Reich. The Treaty of Tilsit humiliated Prussia, which lost half of its people and territory. Only a momentary concession on the part of Frederick III, when he issued the general call to arms, saved the country, which became the strongest of the north German states following the Wars of Liberation. Frederick III did not make good on the promises that he made and a constitution was not granted during his lifetime. Vom Stein, Prince von Hardenburg, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Bogen fostered significant civil and military reforms. However, these were not sufficient to stifle discontent or stop liberal trends. Prussia’s economic strength and absolute monarchy seemed to reaffirm and reinforce the political direction followed by the other German states. Liberals had some cause for hope when King Frederick Wilhelm IV came to the throne. These hopes were quickly dashed, for the new monarch, although gifted and personable, had no intentions of releasing any control.

Side effects of racing industrialization rapidly widened the gap between the "Haves" and the "Have-Nots". The cost of potatoes caused the first major disturbance in Berlin on 21-22 April 1847. The so-called "Potato Revolution" was touched off by farmers at the Gensdarmen Market, who raised the price of potatoes from 3 to 4 silver Groschen per peck. The enraged Berliners attacked a number of other merchants, bakers and butchers noted for taking excessive profits, and the following day, the revolt spread to the market at Alexander Platz. Troops were called in and they quelled the riots.

On 6 March 1848, King Frederick Wilhelm IV disbanded the assembly of delegates from 8 Provincial Diets and ordered political parties to disband. The delegates, students and liberal supporters then initiated a series of mass meetings in the Tiergarten which eventually produced a list of four reforms. The petition was presented to the King who answered it by calling in troops. Tension mounted and a series of incidents touched off the civil insurrection in Berlin called the "Barricade Wars." Tempelhof’s role in the civil disobedience was very limited, when General Wrangel led troops of the 12th Regiment across the field to reinforce the Berlin Garrison on 18 March 1848. When the fighting ended, there were 183 civilian dead (including five women and two boys), 3 officers and 17 men dead, and 254 military wounded. The civilian wounded could not even be estimated. Although a form of a constitution was eventually granted in 1850, the most significant result of the rebellion was the formation of the Berlin Police Force, a designated law and order element, to replace the traditional military police.

Rezoning changed the north boundary of Tempelhof Field in 1861. Until that time, parts of Tempelhof Field had extended to the Landwehr Canal. Under the rezoning activity, the region called "Tempelhof Vorstadt" was combined with settlements called "Frederickstadt" and "Luisenstadt" to form Bezirk (District) Kreuzberg.

Prince Otto von Bismark-Schönhausen is credited with engineering the reunification of Germany and the Second German Reich, through a series of intricate alliances, effective foreign policy, and reinstatement of "Preussens Gloria" (Prussia’s Glory), humiliating and isolating France and Austria. On 18 January 1871 - exactly 170 years to the day when Prussia became a kingdom - Wilhelm I was crowned Emperor of Germany in the Versailles Hall of Mirrors. The Treaty of Frankfurt ended the war with the French on May 10th, leaving the new emperor free to return to Berlin - with a parade of course.

Roughly 42,000 troops were assembled at Tempelhof Field for the first imperial review on 16 June 1871. The review closed with a triumphant procession and reception through the city.

New attractions were added to the parades that would continue to be held at Tempelhof Field for the next 40 years. The war with the French taught the Germans the military importance of railways for logistics and the balloon for reconaissance. Land was allocated in the western part of Tempelhof Field next to the tracks of the Anhalter Railway, and construction was started on facilities for the Rail Regiment and "Balloon Detachment".

A "Balloon Detachment" had actually been in German military service in the mid-19th century. Military skeptics of this new capability were initially proved correct, for under field conditions during the war of 1870/71, the Prussian Balloon Detachment was unable to launch a single balloon. After several attempts, commanders decided that the new fangled invention had no place in war, and ordered the detachment to pack up and go home. These same generals were undoubtedly very confused during the later siege of Paris, for the French were able to send no less than 65 balloons out of the besieged city under fair weather conditions. Two observers of these phenomena became giants in aviation history, for both Otto Lilienthal and Graf Zeppelin witnessed the French successes. Graf Zeppelin was later associated with the "Luftschifferabteilung" (Airship Section), which moved into its encampment at Tempelhof Field in 1884. When completed in 1887, the corrugated metal hanger was 42 meters long and 14 meters high. This unit is known by various designations: Balloon Detachment, Luftschifferabteilung (Airship Detachment), Luftschiffertruppe (Airship Troops) and Luftschiffer Batallion I (Airship Battalion I). Airship and balloon operations were moved to Tegel in 1900, although the "Luftschiffer" did return to Tempelhof Field for parades and special assemblies.

The "Ringbahn" (railway track encircling Berlin) was opened 17 July 1871 with a small station for Tempelhof on the southwest corner of the field. On 17 June 1875, the Berlin-Dresden railway was opened for operations over the route Berlin-Zossen-Kirchhain-Elsterwerda-Grossenhain-Dresden. This railway ran roughly parallel with the Anhalter Railway along the west side of Tempelhof Field. These two were joined by the Military Railway Line on 15 October 1875. The Military train station was on the northwest corner of the field (on the Schöneberg side of the Kolonnenstraße Bridge) and the railway connected the Trainmen’s facilities with the Artillery Range in Kummersdorf Forest near Zossen. The Rail Batallion was established by orders dated 19 May 1871, and their first quarters were in Moabit. This unit was allocated the land along the west part of Tempelhof Field in 1875. The Batallion was expanded to a Regiment in 1876, and designated Rail Regiment I. Rail Regiment II was established in 1893 and assigned facilities next to the Luftschiffer. When Rail Regiment III was established in the same year, it was quartered in private dwellings along the railroad right-of-way.

An extensive Kaserne was built on the north side of Tempelhof Field on the land that had been used by combat engineers as a training area. The 4th Grenadier Guards "Empress Augusta" Regiment moved into these quarters in 1893. The buildings now house the Berlin Traffic Police. The extent of the firing ranges in the Hasenheide and the "New Garrison Cemetery" were substantially enlarged.

A horse-drawn railway was built along Tempelhofer Damm in 1875, with the end-station at the Kreideweiss Gasthaus in Tempelhof. It was a single track with cross-overs spaced about 800 meters apart to allow two trains to use the same line. According to an eyewitness account, the Tempelhof sheep posed a major traffic hazard for this tram.

"…imagine, if you will, Mr. Fieting trying to drive the sheep over the tracks. The conductor on the horse-drawn tram thinks that he can slip through and actually manages to get into the herd before the horse balks, and leaves them stuck right in the middle. Forewards, backwards, left and right – nothing but sheep – thousands of them. Passengers get restless and start to scold. Fieting tries, but he just can’t get the animals to move. Traffic breaks down completely and other coaches stack up on both sides to wait while a thousand sheep meander over the tracks!"

On another summer day in 1895, a conductor named Krause was driving the horse-drawn tram across Tempelhof Field. The Luftschiffer had filled two balloons and anchored them to a wagon, which in turn was anchored to the earth. A sudden gust of wind moved the whole assembly. The balloon anchors held but the wagon anchor tore loose, and the whole contraption trundled across the field and crashed into the tram. After scattering passengers, luggage and tram, the balloon-wagon assembly continued east across the field until it was captured by brush and trees in the Hasenheide.

This was the second major accident caused by the Luftschiffer at Tempelhof, who were also guilty of improperly storing l,500 steel hydrogen-gas containers in 1895. The hydrogen storage dump detonated and scattered shrapnel and parts of buildings far and wide. One bottle was blown more than a hundred meters to crash through the roof in a barracks and demolish a triple-tier bunk. The occupants were probably very happy to have had duty that evening.

Nevertheless, the Luftschiffer remained a primary attraction at Tempelhof. Young and old came to watch the free shows and were inspired by the daring of their "air force". In military circles however, the Luftschiffer enjoyed a precedence rank on the very bottom rung of the ladder, below (or at best level with) the Rail Regiments.

"...There were large differences in the army, which by far was not as democratic as it was reputed to be in the mind of some general from the old days, who had worked his way up from non-commissioned rank. The Guards scorned the Line. The Cavalry fancied itself better than the Infantry, which in turn looked down upon the Artillery, for all things even remotely technical seemed tainted by education. And Railroads! Why that was naturally just a mistake, which you couldn’t even talk about without worrying…"

The Berliners, who are noted for naming things, remained true to form for the units at Tempelhof Field. The railroad men were called the "Tempelhof Hussars" (Tempelhofer Husaren) and the airmen were dubbed the "Coachmen of the Air" (Luftkutschern).

Arnold Böcklin was a renowned painter of the period who wanted to fly, but not with a balloon. He was from the other school, meaning those who wanted to conquer the sky in an assembly that was heavier than air. Although a number of attempts had already been made at Tempelhof Field with heavier than air designs, none of these had been successful. The Luftschiffer remained aloof, and steadfastly refused to take part in what they considered to be "harebrained schemes". However, Böcklin’s influence was sufficient to obtain the support of the Berlin military, and in early August 1883, he tried to realize his dream. A shed was constructed on the east edge of the field. The Luftschiffer from Tempelhof built two multi-wing gliders in Lichterfelde according to Böcklin’s precise instructions. The assemblies were then taken apart and carted to the shed on Tempelhof, where they were carefully reassembled. Four days later, at 10 A.M. …

"… Böcklin appeared in company with several officers from the Luftschiffer and a few friends, all of whom were excited about what was going to happen. It was a very brief show. The soldiers moved the first of the flying contrivances from the shed. Before Böcklin could squeeze himself into the apparatus, a strong gust caught the wing surfaces, lifted the construction up and smashed it against the shed. ...one down. The second one was brought out and moved to a small rise, very, very carefully, since the shock was still fresh. It was undoubtedly difficult for the soldiers to stabilize the light construction in the wind that Böcklin preferred for the attempt. As Böcklin was entering the craft, again there was a strong gust of wind – something cracked and the wings loosened and blew away. He sat there flabbergasted in the pitiful remains. Another dream had died, and Böcklin, who was bitterly disappointed, was on the verge of suicide, but his friends were able to prevent that."

Another heavier-than-air proponent had better designs and luck. Otto Lilienthal (23 May 1848 – 10 Aug 1896) and his brother Gustav (9 Oct 1849 - 1 Feb 1933) studied the flight of birds while still boys. They built wooden "wings" - which of course failed – and later developed methods for measuring air pressure and flow over various surfaces. In his major work, entitled "Der Vogelflug als Grundlage der Fliegekunst" (The Flight of Birds as the Basis for the Art of Flying), he explained the principles that he used. This book was used in turn by many air pioneers, including the Wright Brothers. Otto Lilienthal became the first man to fly in a heavier-than-air construction in 1891. He reportedly made about 1200 gliding flights from 1891 to 1896 at altitudes of approximately 50 meters over distances ranging from 400 to 550 meters. On his final flight, while he was testing a large glider for the last time prior to installation of an engine, a gust of wind and an air pocket caused him to crash from a height of 15 meters. He broke his back during the crash and died in hospital in Berlin. No source indicates that Otto Lilienthal ever flew from Tempelhof Field. However, his brother Gustav became one of Tempelhof Field’s major attractions for the flapping wing "aircraft" design that he tinkered with and tested there, but never actually "flew".

Dr. Hermann Wolfert first attracted the attention of the military in 1896, when he successfully demonstrated his steerable, gasoline-engine powered airship at a trade fair in Berlin. The military invited him to demonstrate the machine at Tempelhof Field, where a hanger was prepared for Wolfert’s use. The airship was about 28 meters long, 8.5 meters in diameter, and held about 873 cubic meters of hydrogen gas. The wicker-basket gondola, containing the engine and propeller, was braced and suspended below the center of the gas bag, and the steering rudder (about 2 meters tall and 4 meters long, made of a cloth-covered, wood frame) was rigged behind and braced by the gondola. The big weakness in the design was the open ignition system for the engine, which was too close to the gas bag (being separated by only about 1 meter). Final preparations were made for the ascent on12 June 1897, and Dr. Wolfert and his mechanic, Knabe, climbed aboard. The flight started badly, for when Wolfert attached the propellor, the rudder fell off. However, instead of stopping the flight, he continued the ascent. About five minutes later, spectators on the field saw flame shoot out of the gas bag. Both Wolfert and Knabe died in the wreckage, when the burning ship plunged into an open yard in the Ringstrasse, on the south perimeter of Tempelhof Field.

David Schwarz, an Austrian lumber merchant, supposedly built and flew the world’s first all-metal airship in Russia. It was an unusual design, where the aluminum outer shell contained a number of separate gas bags. Once again the German military decided that the project was worthy of consideration and asked Schwarz to build, and demonstrate a machine of this type. Construction lasted about a year arid took place on Tempelhof Field. About four months after Wolfert’s death, on 3 November 1897, the Luftschiffer started filling the gas bags with the calculated 3500 cubic meters of hydrogen. The Emperor suddenly appeared on the field with the Minister of War and a number of ranking officers. Wilhelm II had decided to conduct the test himself. However, Schwarz had miscalculated, because the lift provided by the gas would not allow more than one man aboard if the airship was to fly. A volunteer with experience in balloons stepped forward and offered to steer the ship. In the meantime, the gas had started to leak and suddenly everyone was in a hurry to get the project off the ground, while it still could get off the ground. Once again a propellor forewarned failure. Shortly after ascent, the drive belt for one propellor broke, the second propellor drove the ship in circles, while the wind pushed it up and away from the field. As the gas escaped the ship lost altitude and finally crashed in Wilmersdorf. The intrepid volunteer reportedly crawled out of the wreckage, and in the best military tradition, immediately started writing a mission critique.

Balloon ascents by the Luftschiffer continued at Tempelhof until the Detachment relocated to Jungfernheide (Artillery Range at Tegel) in 1900. The military continued its use of Tempelhof Field for exercises, drills, maneuvers and parades.

The introduction of "the Electric" (streetcars) in 1901 to replace the horse drawn trolleys provided improved accessibility to the field. The first Berlin Soccer Club, "Germania 88", played its first game on Tempelhof Field in 1888, and by the turn of the century, sports clubs had established well marked playing fields. If the painting by Hans Baluschek is a true indication of crowd density, then Tempelhof Field was as popular at the turn of the century as the present day Wannsee Beach is on a sunny, summer day.

The next big year for aviation at Tempelhof Field was 1909. A local newspaper, the "Berliner Lokalanzeiger", promoted a flying demonstration by Armand Zipfel. His biplane "flying machine" reportedly reached altitudes of 15-20 meters and stayed in the air over a 1400 meter course in a test flight made in February. He supposedly bested that performance the next day. The Berliners were not taken in, and they did not spare sarcastic comments for his performance, terming it "hopping" rather than "flying".

However, Graf Zeppelin earned their respect on 29 August 1909. Captain Hacker flew the ZIII Zeppelin in circles over the city and finally landed at Tegel, where he and the crew were received by the Emperor and Imperial Family.

While this demonstration was taking place, Orville Wright was promoting a 14-day flying demonstration to start in September. The Wright Brothers had established a branch office in Berlin (Flugmaschine Wright GmbH) and they wanted to demonstrate the better points of their aircraft for sales purposes. Press notices drew thousands of spectators to Tempelhof on 4 September. Orville knew very well how to build suspense and he put on a great show – the headline the next day proclaimed "58 seconds in the air!". This was just the first of a series of flights on that day - each flight just a little better than the previous. The pattern continued throughout the two week demonstration, and the number of spectators increased as the performance factors improved. Wright’s biplane completed an endurance flight of 19 minutes on 4 September. Three days later, it held up in an endurance flight over a closed course for 52 minutes, in part at the "respectable altitude" of 50 meters. He flew a total of 50 kilometers and could fly in a circle of 150 meters in diameter. A training flight afterwards, with his student Captain Engelhardt, lasted 14 minutes.

The Berliners were finally satisfied that the airplane was a contender, and the major subject for discussion at cafes now swung to the debate - which form of flying was better? Lighter-than-air balloons and zeppelins had both advantages and disadvantages when compared with the developing heavier-than-air craft.

The German War Ministry made its decision in the fall of 1910, when the Reichstag was notified that: "No aircraft will be procured." The justification for this position was that aircraft, compared with balloons, were "much too fast for aerial observation" (aircraft at this time reached dizzying speeds of up to 42 m.p.h.), and besides that, acrobatic ability was essential to steer these craft. Once the particulars of a little known tale are explained, it is not difficult to understand this position by the German War Ministry.

Ongoing negotiations with the Wright Brothers, that started as early as 1907, had been unsuccessful. Agreement on terms, money and demonstrations could not be reached that would satisfy both the Wrights and the German Military. Therefore, the army decided to build its own airplane. They engaged the services of a complete unknown, who directed the efforts of questionably adept balloon troops, under the watchful eyes of the easily impressed. The project was launched in 1909 in the buildings on the western part of Tempelhof Field. The maiden flight of the "by the book" prototype was scheduled for March 1910.

The craft used skids and a starting ramp, since it was designed without an undercarriage. On the appointed day, the Luftschiffer moved the craft out of the shed, placed it on the start ramp and held it in place. Since the army did not have trained aviators, an officer of the Luftschiffer Detachment was appointed to be the pilot – he was, after all, an officer and a qualified balloonist. The large testing commission observed the start preparations, as the craft was made ready and fueled. The young officer climbed the ramp framing and got into the aircraft. Someone cranked the propellor, the engine started, and – as the officer opened the throttle - the soldiers holding the wings released and the craft accelerated up the ramp. Then, when it reached the end of the start ramp, it made one small hop before a year’s work became a pile of scrap. The pilot, Captain de le Roi, came through the crash unhurt. At least a part of the remains were collected and stored, because wood from this craft was reportedly used to fashion a candelabra that hung in the Luftwaffe Officers Club at Doberitz during the Second World War.

Land for housing construction was scarce because Berlin’s population had grown enormously from about 800,000 in 1871 to nearly 2 million at the turn of the century. Improved weapons demanded that larger training areas be used and Tempelhof Field was just not suited for the grand scale of modern military weapons training. The military decided to sell the western portion and this decision was undoubtedly influenced by the land speculation lobbies. The contract was worked out and in 1910, Tempelhof purchased the western half of the field for 72 million Reichmarks. It was rated as the largest real estate purchase of the time. Construction in this sector continued through World War I and the development was nicknamed "Flyer’s Quarter" because the streets are named after famous German airmen.

The Luftschiffer had departed and flight activities were transferred to either Johannisthal or Doberitz. The last of the Imperial Reviews was held on Tempelhof Field in 1911, when Emperor Wilhelm II, flanked by his generals, sat his horse under the "Paradepappeln" while the multi-colored columns passed in review and on into history.


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© 2004, The Berlin Island Association