Happy birthday, bismarck!

The public buildings are flagged in black, white and red, with floral decorations and garlands on the facades. With tschingderassabum a bayreuth music corps marches up in the morning and parades on the market square. Huge on the front page of the rundschau: otto von bismarck in a victory wreath. Among them a ten-verse poem by hans glenk, the melkendorf pastor and poet. Sample: "dab wir der sonne entgegen kuhn tragen unser panier. Thanks and blessings to you, hero chancellor, you! And may the towers crumble, dedicated to your name, the german sounds resound/you remain blessed."

There is no shortage of gayness, national pathos and hymns of praise in kulmbach to pay homage to bismarck on his hundredth birthday. But probably few burgers are in the mood for champagne. Nine months after the outbreak of the first world war, the supply situation worsens by the day, prices gallop, many suffer bitter hardship. 120 kulmbachers have already marched their husbands, sons or grandchildren on the "field of honor" calmly.

A barrel for the chancellor
the bismarck cult does not just begin posthumously (+1898). Already at his 70th birthday. Birthday on 1. April 1892 the burghers pay tribute to the "iron chancellor, the field of honor", which two years earlier had been. Had been forced to resign, her solidarity. The reichelbrau AG sends a barrel of beer to the old man who is rumbling on gut friedrichsruh. The self-confessed beer drinker is touched: "the friendly kulmbacher beer corresponds to the good reputation of the local brewery". The autograph hangs today in the bavarian brewery museum.

However, the year of the rude revival of bismarck in kulmbach is 1913. A "national celebration follows the others. The liberation wars are commemorated, the battle of leipzig 200 years ago with the triumphant victory over napoleon. But it is also the eve of an ominously looming war. The balkans have become a powder keg that can blow up at any time and drive the european grobmachte along with it. Against the unpredictability and adventurism of emperor wilhelms II. The bismarck myth shines all the brighter: the chancellor who defeated france militarily and isolated it politically; the statesman who ensured stability in europe with his policy of equilibrium.

Burgerschaft wants a monument
it should not remain with verbal homage, kulmbach’s leading class liked a visible monument of their bismarck veneration. On 23. April 1913 the "liberal association of kulmbach" decides to join the construction of a bismarck tower. The members of the association, founded in 1908, see themselves, according to the statutes, "to the strengthening of the national idea and the fight against social democracy and utramontanism" (pope supporters) committed. He has the support of everyone in the business world – hornschuch, meubdoerffer, limmer, pensel, sauermann, zeitler, howeg – the board members of reichel brau kriegel and prager, and even the painter michel weib.

The inauguration of the tower should – of course – take place on the 100. Birthday. 10,000 marks are planned for the project, a construction sum which, however, proves to be far too low after robert backer’s first architectural designs. However, the kulmbach residents’ willingness to donate is enormous: after a full-page appeal on 13. July 1913 the three kulmbach newspapers receive 9710 marks in donations, mostly from businessmen and well-to-do burghers.

The question of location is hotly disputed
there is no consensus in the association about the type of monument and its location. For clarification, a zwolfkopfiger "vorbreitender ausschuss" is and a "rough committee" set up. There is quick agreement on the appearance: it should not be a colossal bismarck statue or a fire column, but a walkable observation tower made of granite blocks. Architectural models are mainly lichtenfels (built in 1903 as a memorial to the fallen of 1870/71), but also hof (bismarck tower, planned in 1910). Unfortunately, the construction documents have not been preserved, so that the detailed planning is uncertain.

The question of location is hotly disputed. Together with the city building department, the suitability of proposed locations is discussed: galgenberg (today’s kreuzkirche), rehberg, blaicher kuppe (above the zeitler malt factory), heinzelberg, spitalwald (high above the hospital). The "preparatory committee" speaks out for the gallows mountain. The location is not yet finally decided, the first world war breaks out. The finished plan are makulatur.

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