November 9 is perhaps by far the most complex day in German history and marks a series of significant turning points.
Proclamation of the German Republic. On November 9, 1918, the November Revolution reaches its climax in Berlin. Imperial Chancellor Prince Maximilian von Baden announces the abdication of the Emperor on his own authority. Philipp Scheidemann, from the Reichstag in Berlin, and Karl Liebknecht, from the Berlin Palace, lead to the double proclamation of the German Republic.
Reichspogromnacht. In the night from 9. on the 10 November 1938, organized anti-Semitic riots take place. Supporters of the National Socialist leadership destroy
7,500 Jewish businesses, burn down over 1,200 synagogues and devastate countless homes. 91 Jews are murdered. With the arrests and deportations of the following days, around 1,300 people lose their lives as a result of the November pogroms.
Fall of the Wall. On the evening of November 9, 1989, GDR Politburo member Günter Schabowski surprisingly announces the immediate opening of the Wall at a press conference. Thousands of East Berliners flock to the border crossings. The border guards can no longer cope with the rush of people. The transition is opened. The symbol of the East-West conflict and the division of Germany falls.
Since 2005, we have also been celebrating the official Inventors’ Day on November 9 (the birthday of inventor and Hollywood legend Hedy Lamarr) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland every year.
“Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Kiesler, was a Hollywood diva and inventor. She is the prototype of the inventor because she was not Edison, but simply someone who had an idea and tried to realize it. The actress invented the frequency hopping method because she wanted to counter the German submarines in the Second World War. Many years later, their invention made mobile communications possible and thus gained enormous significance. In her honor and on behalf of all small inventors who enrich our world without becoming rich or famous for it, her birthday, November 9, became Inventors’ Day (Jordan, 2021)”.
The basic idea of the initiators (Marijan Jordan and Gerhard Muthenthaler) was to encourage people to come up with their own ideas. Your own inventive spirit and the idea of creating something new should not be clouded by the thought of making yourself unpopular with your fellow human beings due to upcoming changes. “November 9 should be a reminder of all inventors whose objects are used every day, even if the people behind the ideas may have already been forgotten. Their life’s work still has a place in all our lives” (Jordan, 2021). We should not always dismiss today’s inventors and visionaries as “cranks”, but rather see them as people who can positively change both the present and the future with their vision.
Germany is the land of poets, thinkers and engineers, and we have a number of inventions that have shaped everyday life around the world.
Johannes Gutenberg invented letterpress printing in 1440.
In 1854, the German watchmaker Heinrich Göbel constructed the first functioning incandescent lamp, but did not apply for a patent for it. (It was not until 25 years later that Thomas Eddison produced the first carbon filament lamp, applied for a patent for it and received it shortly afterwards).
In 1859, Johann Phillipp Reis invented the telephone by converting sound into electricity and emitting it as sound at another location.
The first sentence delivered over the phone was historically handed down: “The horse doesn’t eat cucumber salad.” No patent was applied for here either, which is why the American Graham Bell developed the idea further and applied for a patent for the first telephone a good 16 years later.
The chemist Julius Lothar Meyer developed the first periodic table of the elements in 1864, which at that time still contained 63 elements.
Werner von Siemens invented the dynamo in 1866. 13 years later, he presented his far greater invention: The “electric railroad” better known today as the streetcar.
In 1870, Robert Koch succeeded in proving that tiny microbiological organisms were responsible for the deadliest diseases of the 19th century. Koch is still regarded as one of the founders of modern bacteriology.
In 1885, the German engineer Gottlieb Daimler invented the motorcycle. A short time later, he developed the motorboat with Wilhelm Maybach. In October 1886, the first car with four wheels (an engine to drive a carriage) was built. However, Carl Benz had already secured the patent for the automobile at the same time. He had been working on the same idea at the same time and officially registered his “vehicle with gas engine operation” in January 1886.
In 1894, Otto Lilienthal made numerous flights with the first gliders in Berlin-Lichterfelde and is still regarded as the world’s first aviation pioneer.
In 1897, the researcher Felix Hoffmann combined salicylic acid and acetic acid to create the synthetic drug aspirin .
The physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was awarded the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901 for his discovery of X-radiation. 6 years later, X-rays were born and made it possible to examine patients without cutting them open.
In 1915, Albert Einstein formulated the general theory of relativity, turning the human understanding of space and time on its head.
In 1938, Otto Hahn and Fritz Straßmann discovered the principle of nuclear fission in an experiment. Lise Meitner analyzed and researched the principle further and provided the first scientific explanation of the decay of uranium nuclei under neutron bombardment. Hahn and Straßmann later published the research results together in secret collaboration with Meitner, as she was forced to leave the country by the Nazi government due to her Jewish origins. Hahn was the only one of the three researchers to receive the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1944.
In 1938, Konrad Zuse laid the foundation for the first freely programmable computer . He developed the first purely mechanically functioning binary computer. Zuse continued to develop the computer and built the first programmable computer in 1941.
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Der 9. November in der deutschen Geschichte (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung)
Der Tag der Erfinder
Liste deutscher Erfindungen: 20 deutsche Erfindungen, die die Welt revolutionierten (handelsblatt.com)
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