Photographs of a devastated post-war Berlin in the summer of 1945.
“When Allied observers came to Germany after the war, most of them expected to find destruction on the same scale as they had witnessed in Britain during the Blitz. Even after British and American newspapers and magazines began to print pictures and descriptions of the devastation it was impossible to prepare for the sight of the real thing. Austin Robinson, for example, was sent to western Germany directly after the war on behalf of the British Ministry of Production. His description of Mainz while he was there displays his sense of shock:
That skeleton, with whole blocks level, huge areas with nothing but walls standing, factories almost completely gutted, was a picture that I know will live with me for life. One had known it intellectually without feeling it emotionally or humanly.
British Lieutenant Philip Dark was equally apallaed by the apocalyptic vision he saw in Hamburg at the end of the war:
[W]e swung in towards the centre and started to enter a city devastated beyond all comprehension. It was more than appallaing. As far as the eye could see, square mile after square mile of empty shells of buildings with twisted girders scarecrowed in the air, radiators of a flat jutting out from a shaft of a still-standing wall, like a crucified pterodactyl skeleton. Horrible, hideous shapes of chimneys sprouting from the frame of a wall. The whole pervaded by an atmosphere of ageless quiet… Such impressions are incomprehensible unless seen.
Berlin was “completely shattered - just piles of rubble and skeleton houses.” Between 18 and 20 million German people were rendered homeless by the destruction of their cities - that is the same as the combined prewar populations of Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. These people lived in cellars, ruins, holes in the ground - anywhere they could find a modicum of shelter. They were entirely deprived of essential servies, such as water, gas, electricity - as were millions of others across Europe.”
(Text via Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe; photographs via)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICKY! ✧･ﾟ:*✧･ﾟ:*(✿ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ ♥ ♥ ♥ *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
”May 6. “…I am 30 years old! In the morning, as usual, our servants wished me “happy birthday”- the gardener with flowers and fruit, etc. At 11 a.m. we went to the church. We had breakfast in the Mirror Hall (Billiard Hall) again… After dinner we listened to the music and then went for a drive…”
Dame Helen Mirren steps in to grant a dying boy’s wish to meet the Queen
Oliver Burton, ten, may have just weeks to live after being hit by cancer for a third time.
Visiting the Queen at Buckingham Palace topped his list of dream activities — but his family was told a meeting would not be possible.
So Dame Helen stepped in, bringing him in a limo to see her West End show The Audience — in which she plays the Queen — then taking him backstage to meet her corgis.
The actress, 67, even KNIGHTED the excited schoolboy “Sir Oliver” during his visit, telling The Sun: “It was a pleasure and a privilege to meet such a brave young man.
Ex-Coldstream Guard James, now a full-time carer for his son, said of the visit: “She stayed in character for the whole thing and had a butler. “She was really lovely.”
Oliver, from Leicester, was first diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006, aged three. He recovered but in 2010 the cancer returned — and once again he pulled through.
Then last Christmas he was diagnosed with cancer in his spine and bone marrow — and this time intensive treatment is not possible, so he returned home with his mum, dad, and brother Ethan, six.
The family have raised £10,000 for special trips for Oliver through the National Children’s Tumour Leukaemia Cancer Trust, which arranged the visit with Dame Helen. [x]
Imperial presentation box, workshop of Henrik Emanuel Wigström, 1916
This box was one of the last imperial presentation boxes to be given on behalf of the Tsar. it is decorated with green guilloché enamel, two different kinds of diamonds and a miniature of Tsar Nicholas II.
Romanov Birthdays → Nicholas II of Russia, May 18
The last Emperor of Russia, Nicholas was born in Saint Petersburg on 18 May 1868. His parents took particular trouble over his education. Nicholas was taught by outstanding Russian academics at home, he knew several languages and had a wide knowledge of history, and he also quickly grasped military science. His father personally guided his education, which was strictly based on religion. Nicholas also toured Egypt, Japan, and India in his youth. He narrowly escaped assassination while he was in Japan.
1894 was a significant year for young Nicholas. Nicholas ascended the throne at age twenty-six after the unexpected death of his father. Although a well educated man, he felt unprepared for the hard task as the ruler of the Russian empire, he was not properly prepared to officiate as a monarch and was not fully introduced to top affairs of the state. Nicholas’s reign was marked by tragedy from the very beginning. Despite this, Nicholas married the love of his life, Princess Alix of Hesse, less than a month later.
Their union was a rare one among royal families in that they married “for love” and Nicholas was a devoted husband throughout their life together. Almost exactly a year after his accession in November 1895, Nicholas was blessed with a new daughter, whom he named Olga after his youngest sister. Olga’s sisters, Tatiana and Maria, followed in the next fours years. Nicholas was severely ill from Typhus in 1901 after Alix was pregnant with their fourth child. Alix, who was desperate, hoped the baby would be a boy so that in case of the Tsar’s death, Alexandra would be the regent until the boy was eighteen. But luckily, Nicholas recovered and the baby turned out to be another girl. This baby girl would become the famous Anastasia many people knew today.
Nicholas and Alexandra was under a lot of pressure to produce an heir to the throne. Alexandra was allegedly pregnant in 1903 but was suspected by the doctors that it was a hysterical pregnancy. But in 1904, Alexandra was finally pregnant with their youngest child and first son, Tsarevich Alexei. The couple was enthusiastic at the birth of the healthy and robust child, but shortly after, Alexei began bleeding nonstop from his umbilicus. Their world was shattered as this was a sign of the incurable bleeding disease named Hemophilia, something Alix had inherited from her British grandmother, Queen Victoria. But all the same, Nicholas and Alexandra loved all of their children very deeply.
Russia entered war with Japan in 1905, which had angered the Russian population, and the war was thought to be unnecessary by many. Industrial workers all over Russia went on strike and in October, 1905, the railwaymen went on strike which paralyzed the whole Russian railway network. Under pressure from the attempted 1905 Russian Revolution, Nicholas was forced to turn the country into a constitutional monarchy and the Duma was founded. Russia was riddled with another war, much bigger this time. Russia, along with Britain and France, declared war against Germany in the summer of 1914.
This war proved to be fatal for the Romanovs. Food was scarce in the country and people lived in poor conditions. In February 1917, another revolution occurred. This time, they succeeded and Nicholas was forced to abdicate the throne. At first, Nicholas abdicated the throne to his son, Alexei, but soon realized Alexei would been taken away from him. Nicholas handed the throne to his youngest brother, Michael. His brother also renounced his right to the throne and the Romanov dynasty no longer existed. The Imperial Family were put under house arrest at their home residence of Alexander Palace. Nicholas, who always had been so busy with the war affairs and away from home, finally had time to be with his family. Over the next year, the family was deported to Tobolsk and Yekaterinburg, where Nicholas, his wife, and children - the oldest at the time was 22 and the youngest 13 - were brutally murdered in July 1918.