In connection with the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the 10th anniversary of the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles and sister column The Flensburg Files, we’re starting a series on Wartime Bridges. In this series, we’ll look at the (historic) bridges that played a key role in World War II. They include popular and historic bridges that were destroyed in the war, like the bridges in Cologne, Frankfurt and Berlin, the third city there’s a book written on it which will be presented as a separate article later. They can also include bridges that were used for troops to cross as they march their way to victory. Two bridges have been mentioned in separate articles in the Chronicles- the Pegasus Bridge in France and the Remagen Bridge over the River Rhine in Germany. Nonetheless, the question is which other bridges played a key role in the war, regardless of outcome?
There are two ways to present your articles:
If you have a blog or other online column, you can proceed with doing a write-up on the bridge of your choice, send the link with the finished product and it will be reblogged onto the two columns.
If you don’t have a blog or online column, or you have a blog but would prefer not having it reblogged, you can write an article on it and send it directly to the Chronicles, using the contact details provided here.
The articles will be posted in both the Chronicles and the Files including whatever photos you wish to have on there. If it comes from a source other than yours, please cite the source.
We will start with the bridges in the European theater for World War II ended on 8 May, 1945 with Germany’s surrender. The series on the Bridges of World War II in Europe will continue until September. From that point on until the end of this year, we will focus on the bridges in the Pacific theater and their key roles. Japan surrendered on 2 September, 1945.
To give you an idea what’s expected, here are the two sample articles that were posted recently:
This week’s Pic of the Week takes us to Berlin and to this bridge: The Moltke Bridge. This red-colored stone arch bridge (made with Main sandstone) features three main spans over the River Spree, as seen in the picture above, and two outer arches that cross bike paths and sidewalks on each end. The bridge was built in 1891 and named after Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder (1800–1891), chief of staff of the Prussian Army for thirty years. Moltke died just before the bridge’s completion and it was inaugurated by his funeral cortege. The bridge was one of only a few that survived World War II. The Nazis tried to detonate the structure in an attempt to stop the Soviet troops from advancing towards the Reichstag Building in the center of Berlin. Even though the detonation caused extensive damage to the bridge, it was not fully destroyed, and the Soviet troops crossed the bridge on April 28th, 1945. On May 1st, the Reichstag was captured and six days later, Germany capitulated to the allies.
The bridge was rebuilt to its original form and later rehabilitated to accommodate vehicular traffic, yet only cars and light-weight vehicles are allowed to use the crossing every day. Cyclists and pedestrians can also use the bridge, especially as there are many places of interest located between Berlin Central Station, the Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate and Alt-Moabit, one of the city’s suburbs.
This series of photos were taken in 2005, during the Open House on the grounds of the Regierungsgelände, where all of Germany’s parliamentary complex is located, including the Reichstag Building and Brandenburg Gate. The bridge was only 10 minutes’ walk from the open house, so I took a chance and photographed the structure. It appeared it had been rehabilitated at the time for the masonary red sandstones were cleaned and refurbished, there was new decking and the lighting appeared to be brand new. While the stone arches with all of the gargoyles and inscriptions were impressive, the ornamental lighting and railings were the ones that make the structure stand out the most. One could photograph them for hours, from different angles and using different experiments. Many of them survived the war and the subsequent division of Berlin that would occur until the Fall of the Wall. Judging by their texture, it appeared that they too were restored after 1990. Nevertheless, while the design and material used were impressive, this one has the “aha-“ effect for they are the first things one will see when crossing the bridge. They are also a rare breed for many modern bridges nowadays don’t feature the ornaments for they are too expensive and time-consuming. Yet sometimes a little decoration does make a bridge more attractive instead of bland.
Enjoy this series of bridge pics but keep this in mind: One wonders what the bridge looks like when photographed at night. This one is worth a shot and if so, one can capture the structure and its glowing lanterns in all of its glory. For those wanting to try it, it’s worth a shot, in my (humble) opinion.
More information, photos and data can be accessedhere.
And now, after having looked and guessed at the bridges, here are the answers to the Guessing Quiz on whether the following bridges were part of the borders or not. 🙂
Please note that information on the correct answers pertaining to the “border” bridges can be found in the links highlighted. Some of these bridges were documented by the Chronicles earlier in the year.
GUESSING QUIZ: THE BRIDGES ALONG THE BORDER
When the border and the Berlin Wall went up, many of the bridges that made up the border between the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East) were closed down or even removed. Only a handful of crossings remained open but under stringent control by the East German border guards, to ensure that no one left the country who was not supposed to.
The question is: Which bridges were affected? Look at the pictures below, determine if they were borders or not by marking Yes or No, and state your reason why by identifying where they are located. Borders meant that the bridges were either shut down to all passage or were under strict control by the East German army. The 16 German states are listed below to help you. Good luck! 🙂
Y / N
Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe near the village of Dömritz at the Lower Saxony- Mecklenburg/Pommeranian border. This used to be a railroad crossing, the longest of its kind over the River Elbe.
Y / N
Where? This is located at the border between Berlin and Brandenburg near the town of Potsdam. The Glienicke Bridge was once known as the Bridge of Spies because of the spy exchanges that happened between 1961 and 1989.
Y / N
Where? This is located in Jena in Thuringia- The Alte Burgauer Brücke spanning the River Saale
Y / N
Where? This bridge is located in Oranienburg (Brandenburg)- The Queen Luisa Bridge.
Y / N
Where? This bridge spans the River Elbe in Lauenburg (Schleswig-Holstein), located 3 km west of the three-state corner where S-H, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Pommerania are located. It connects Lower Saxony with S-H.
Where? This is the Hirschberg Bridge spanning the River Saale between the Thuringian town and Untertiefengrün (Bavaria)
Baden-Wurttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Pommerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia
Answers will come on November 9th, the same day as the Fall of the Wall. 🙂
Check out the Flensburg Files and follow the updates pertaining to the 30th anniversary celebrations. There are lots of articles that have been written on this topic, including former border crossings and videos, just to name a few. As a hint, some of the answers to this quiz lie both there as well as here.
Our next pic of the week coincides with the Flensburg Files’ series on photos of the former border crossings past and present, as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, which subsequentially resulted in the Reunification of Germany, 11 months later. This pic takes us to the famous Glienicke Bridge. This cantilever truss bridge was built in 1907 and spans the River Havel, forming the border between the capital city of Berlin and the state of Brandenburg. The bridge was very popular in history and culture because it became a key patrol crossing during the Cold War. From 1952 until 6pm on the evening of November 10th, 1989, this crossing was the border that kept people from entering and leaving West Berlin from the GDR. It was an exchange point for captured spies from both sides of the border, thus it became known as the Bridge of Spies; the name was adopted in literature as well as in films, the latest of which was a combination book and film that were released in 2015. Since the evening of the 10th of November, 1989, the Glienicke Bridge has been in service as a throughfare crossing, where tens of thousands of cars cross this bridge daily.
During my visit to the bridge in 2015, the first impression of the crossing was the fact that it was just a typical historic bridge that had been restored to its usual form, with no border guards, no rust and corrosion and no potholes and other issues with the decking. The only markers that existed where the borders once stood was a sign with the information of the bridge’s reopening that evening, as well as a marker on the Berlin side with information on where the border once stood. However, since the opening, the Glienicke Bridge has become a fully restored tourist attraction. Most of the historic columns, statues and buildings dating back to the Baroque period have been fully refurbished and makes the bridge appear original- as if there were no bombings or the like, as it happened in World War II. Eateries on the Potsdam side of the bridge as well as a museum devoted to the bridge’s unique history also exist. Tour guides are available to know more about the history of the structure and its key role during the dark period of time.
The bridge is a major tourist attraction for those with not only an interest in architectural history in Berlin and Potsdam, but also history in general. From a photographer’s perspective, the bridge is easily photographed as there are many places available where you can get your favorite shot- whether it is a close-up as I took some on the morning of October 18th with the sunrise and all, but also from several parks and castles lining up along the Havel, many from the Berlin side. In either case, the bridge is a highly recommended stop for those visiting Berlin because of its unique style and even more unique history, something that the governments of both Berlin and Brandenburg will do all that they can to preserve it for generations to come.
Call for help to save a historic bridge in Missouri; A city in Saxony to receive three new bridges; Man pees off of bridge onto ship; A historic bridge gets a new home at a park in Indiana and at a church in Massachusetts; Changes to take place for the Chronicles.
Calls to Halt MoDOT’s plan to demolish Gasconade Bridge
Hazlegreen, MO:The future of the Gasconade Bridge near Hazlegreen is in the balance. Between now and July 5th, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is collecting information from residents concerning the multiple-span through truss bridge that was built 95 years ago but has been closed to traffic since 2015. A replacement span is being constructed on a new alignment to carry a frontage road which used to be Route 66. Should the majority favor keeping the bridge, then it will be up to MoDOT, who had built the structure, to find a way to keep it out of the hands of the wrecker. Information on how you can help can be found by clicking here.
Flöha to Receive Three New Bridges
Flöha (Saxony), Germany-Eight months after a fire destroyed the Apfelsinebrücke (Orange Bridge) near the city center, the city council approved a deal to construct a new bridge that spans the River Zschopau near the City Park Baumwolle. Unlike the previous structure, which was built in the early 1980s, this one will be lower and without steps thus allowing for cyclists to cross. The cost will be 800,000 Euros. It is one of three bridges that the city is looking to replace. The others include replacing the Kirschenbrücke (Cherry Bridge) at Augustusstrasse, which spans the same river. The 120-year old two span arch bridge will be replaced with a beam structure with no center pier in the river. Originally, the arch bridge was supposed to be rehabilitated, yet floodwaters in 2013 caused extensive damage that made even rebuilding the bridge to its original form impossible due to costs deemed exorbitant. The 2.3 million Euro project includes rebuilding the street approaching the bridge. The third bridge to be replaced is a wooden through arch bridge located near Niederwiesa. Built in 2006, the bridge is deemed unsafe due to deterioration in the wood. Its replacement structure will be a steel through arch bridge with truss features. It will still carry the Zschopau Bike trail connecting Flöha and Frankenberg. All three projects are scheduled to start this fall and is expected to last a year.
Man Pees off Historic Bridge onto Tour Ship in Berlin- 4 injured
And lastly, some changes are coming to the Chronicles. After two years in Schneeberg, its main office is being moved to Glauchau, located 10 kilometers north of Zwickau in western Saxony. The city of 24,000 is the center point between the cities of Jena and Erfurt to the west and Chemnitz and Dresden to the east. The move is ongoing and is expected to last through August. The Chronicles will have some pauses in between due to the move. Furthermore, the Chronicles no longer is available on Skrive, for the platform was shut down on June 15th. However, it is pursuing other social media platforms to provide coverage, which will include the use of Spotify and other podcast apps, as well as some local platforms for better coverage in the US and Europe. The project is expected to last until the end of August. To give you an idea of the move, check out the Chronicles’ on Instagram, which has a series on Moving Art.
Australian Traveller that loves to "Roam" our globe, creator of ENDLESSROAMING.COM sharing the experience through word and photography. Currently residing in my home of Newtown Sydney but hope to be back on the road late 2020. Feedback / questions are more than welcome, happy travels