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Die Deutschen - Otto und das Reich 936-973 1/10 - subpart 1/5

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The heart of Europe in the second millennium. A land that needs time to become united. People, who only begin to think of themselves as "German" over the course of centuries. Who are we? Where do we come from? Questions for a millennium of German history. "I want democracy!" The Germans In the tenth century, no one uses the term "Germans." The tribes of Bavarians, Saxons, Swabians, and Franconians are linked primarily by their common language. An external adversary strengthens their unity. He wants to seize the opportunity to reign as king over the German lands and as emperor of Christian Europe: Otto I. Otto and the Empire Seven bands of German tribes. 12,000 warriors from Bavaria, Franconia, and Swabia, from Lorraine and Bohemia, have answered the call of their king. Otto gambles everything and seeks a decisive battle. The Hungarians have never met King Otto in battle, but they are confident of victory. Their reputation precedes them this time. Year after year, the dreaded nomadic horsemen have attacked and plundered the realm - more than 50 times. They burned castles, cities, and churches to the ground and slaughtered the population in a bloodbath. They spared no one. One chronicler reports, "The Hungarians were therefore labeled enemies of humanity and of Christendom." "Let them come!" "Show courage and fight for God!" Everything is at stake for Otto. His crown and his vision of becoming a powerful emperor, like Charlemagne. The German tribes are united in defense against their adversary. It's a matter of life and death. Germany in the 10th century. Impassable landscapes, primeval forests that are thousands of years old. A land still undeveloped, with no defined borders - it is home to 4 million people. Its future remains uncertain. Nineteen years before the battle at Lechfeld, Otto is still Duke of Saxony. He travels to Aachen with his six year-old son Liudolf, who is to be his successor. Nearly all of his subjects are farmers. Most are unfree peasants with just enough to survive. No one is talking about a king of the Germans. It is a land of dukes and tribes that chooses a common king. Otto's father, King Heinrich, has died. One of his sons will be selected and crowned as successor here in Aachen. Otto has called together all dukes and highest nobility of the tribes for this purpose. Here is where the history of Germany begins: with Otto's procession into the royal palace of Charlemagne. Not only nobility are in attendance. There are also many common people, as chroniclers report. Archbishop Hildebert von Mainz welcomes Otto. But his brother? "What joy that you have come Thankmar." "Joy? I haven't come with joy." "Beware my brother. You may be the eldest, but our father decreed me to be the sole king, as the best and most powerful of his sons." You should beware. Not even in Saxony is everyone behind you, and furthermore, where is our beloved brother Heinrich?" "Where he cannot harm me. Let that be a warning to you as well." "I warn you. If you ever lift a hand against me, not only your brothers will be your enemies. Never forget that." The struggle is for the ultimate position of power. Otto wants to be crowned successor to King Heinrich in the royal chapel. Here lie the remains of Emperor Charlemagne, revered as a forefather by both the Germans and the French. In the year 843, his grandsons divided the kingdom of the Franks into the realms of West Franconia, the Middle Kingdom, and East Franconia. Four ancient Germanic tribes lived there: the Saxons, Franconians, Swabians, and Bavarians. The tribal lands become known as the "diutsche" land - Land of the Germans There is only one, nearly unrecognizable image on a seal of Otto's father, King Heinrich I. He broke with a long tradition practiced since Charlemagne. To ensure the longevity of his empire, he did not divide it among his sons. Only one was to become king. Otto. This was the first step toward a German kingdom. What happened on that coronation day in Aachen is recorded by the monk Widukind. In a time when virtually no one can read - not to mention write, not even among the nobility - grandiose rituals are used to communicate important messages. "According to their custom, they made him king and then promised him their counsel and support," reports the chronicler Widukind. "Your enemies are my enemies. Your friends are my friends. I will stand loyal at your side for all times. I will always be honest with you, always willing and ready." The dukes vow allegiance to their king. But the monarch must always remember, it is the tribal leaders and princes who have chosen him. From Otto's coronation day forward, this principle of succession was in effect for nearly nine centuries. Otto's selection as king is also subject to the approval of the people. "If you agree with this selection, raise your right hand to the heavens." "And the people were pleased with the selection," reports the monk Widukind. Here in the octagon of Aachen Cathedral, where the throne of Emperor Charlemagne still stands today, Otto I is crowned as king. Thirty more German monarchs will succeed him. After being annointed by Archbishop Hildebert, Otto was considered God's representative on Earth. "May your head never be without the unction of mercy."

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 51 seconds
Country: United States
Language: German
Producer: Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion
Views: 1,386
Posted by: michaelhardy on Mar 1, 2010

He is the father of Germany, and German history begins with him: Otto the Great. The four original tribes on German soil understand their shared destiny for the first time under him - and form the origins of a German nation.

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