History of the Germans Podcast

“Newly launched podcast on 1000 years of German history. Great stories, well researched, varied and witty. Once you start listening to it, you will get hooked. Wonderful opportunity to refresh your knowledge and learn holistically more about German history. Details inside that very few history books describe. Try it out and enjoy.”

“A great many things keep happening, some good, some bad” (Gregory of Tours 539-594)

The Podcast

A narrative retelling of German history from the coronation of Henry the Fowler in 919 AD to German Reunification in 1990. Weekly 20-30 minute episodes are available here and with all major providers of fine audio entertainment.

History of the Germans – Trailer
by Dirk Hoffmann-Becking

My name is Dirk and I want to take you through German history from the early middle ages to German Reunification in 1990.

Why would you want to come along to this journey? Can German history reach places, other histories cannot?

Why would you want to listen to me, not a professional historian?

Answers to these and other question in this 6 minute trailer

History of the Germans – Trailer
Prologue – Part 1
Prologue – Part 2
Prologue – Part 3
Episode 1 – A New Beginning

Current Season: The Salians (1024-1125) – To see previous seasons go here

During the century of Salian rule (1024-1125) the Investiture Controversy pits Popes against Emperors. The dispute is nominally about the role secular powers play in the selection of bishops and abbots. But in reality, it is about much more than that. It is about whether the monarch acts as the representative of God, or as a mere mortal, subject to Papal authority. It is about whether Europe becomes a coherent political entity ruled by an all-powerful emperor or whether it becomes a system of interlocking states, cities, and lordships under a parallel church infrastructure. It is about whether Europe becomes a uniform society or the diverse structure that will give birth both to endless warfare and misery for common people, as well as to the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment (to name just a few).

Join us as we trace the steps and missteps of the 4 Salian emperors as they move from the unexpected election of Konrad to his son Henry III becoming the undisputed senior ruler in Western Europe. The backlash against the emerging command monarchy culminates in Emperor Henry IV kneeling in the snow outside the Castle of Canossa begging Pope Gregor VII to receive him back into the mother church.

“Who does not know that kings and rulers sprang from men who were ignorant of God, who assumed because of blind greed and intolerable presumption to make themselves masters of other men, their equals, by means of pride, violence, bad faith, murder, and almost every other kind of crime?”

Pope Gregory VII (pope from 1073-1085)

Blogposts

The Harzburg (1065-1075)
There are nearly 20,000 castles in Germany, some are famous for good …
E31 – The (second) Saxon War
King Henry IV embarks on his ambitious castle building project around Goslar, …
Godfrey the Bearded (997-1069)
Godfrey the Bearded is one of those figures of History who despite …
Anno of Cologne (1010-1075)
Anno of Cologne is most famous for the abduction of (not yet …
Agnes of Poitou (1025-1077)
The Investiture Controversy did not start with Henry IV. and Gregory VII. …
Episode 30 is Live!
Emperor Henry III is dead. The realm is now in the hands …
Hohentwiel
Hohentwiel, one of the oldest castles in Germany was in the 10th …
Karl Joseph Wirth
#Onthisday, September 6th, 1879, Karl Joseph Wirth, the youngest German Chancellor to …
Rüdiger Manesse and his Codex
On this day, September 5th, 1304 Rüdiger Manesse, Elderman of Zurich and …
Election of Emperor Konrad II
On this day September 4th, 1024 a mere 6 weeks after the …
A Bavarian Robin Hood
On this day, September 3, 1736 Matthias “Hiasl” Klostermayr, a Bavarian poacher …
Bonus Episode – Thugs & Miracles
This week we have a special treat – Episode 1 of Thugs …

Support the Show

The History of the Germans Podcast has been advertising free since the very beginning and will remain so. The point of the exercise is not to make me rich (there are many smarter ways to do that), but to make the whole of German history more accessible, in particular to English speakers. But Podcasting is hard work. Each episode takes me about 2- 2.5 working days to prepare and record. So if I want to keep the podcast ad-free and keep my marriage going, I need to make this economically viable. And that is where you fine people come in. If you feel the urge to support this endeavour, are in need for some heartfelt gratitude or just want to have some great extra HotG stuff, choose a membership level that suits your wallet – please!

Reichsritter/Edelfrau

£2 per month

A Reichsritter (Imperial Knight) protects the poor, defends the church and serves the emperor freely and truly. He does not expect anything in return, apart from honour and respect. Nor does an Edelfrau (Dame) debase herself to barter for goods in return for her generosity.
Only an exchange of gifts is suitable for such august personalities, so please receive the occasional bonus episode as a token of the Podcast’s appreciation.

  • Heartfelt Gratitude
  • Bonus Episodes about German Art, Architecture and Literature
  • Posing questions in the Q&A sessions at the end of each season

Reichsfuerst

£4 Per MontH

As Peer of the Realm your great privilege is a seat in the Reichstag where you can deliberate the affairs of the day and advise on future policy. The peers of the ream included not just counts and dukes, but also bishops and mighty abbesses

  • Sincere and Heartfelt Gratitude
  • Bonus Episodes about German Art, Architecture and Literature
  • Having your (first) name called out at the start of an episode
  • Posing questions in the Q&A sessions at the end of each season
  • You can suggest specific topics to be included into an episode

Kurfuerst

£8 Per Month

The noblest of rights of a Prince Elector is to choose. The History of the Germans Podcasts offers you the opportunity here to choose to be even more generous than Imperial Knights/Dames and Peers of the Realm.
The Empire being impecunious ever since your ancestors have broken central power during the Investiture Conflict, there is sadly not much in added benefit that can be offered. We hope you recognise your good fortune and give according to your might.

  • Eternal, Sincere and Heartfelt Gratitude
  • Bonus Episodes about German Art, Architecture and Literature
  • Having your (first) name called out at the start of an episode
  • Posing questions in the Q&A sessions at the end of each season
  • You can suggest specific topics to be included into an episode

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12 Comments

  1. I like how you say that the German History is difficult to understand fully and leaves a blank canvas that is filled depending on the perspective of the individuals who are biased depending on whether one was Prussian, protestant, Catholic, Austrian, from the Third Reich, the EU, from communist East German, as well as American, British, French or Italian.

    We have the same problem in America where people today judge our fore fathers’ past history based on present day standards, present day ethics, present day values, present day events, present day propaganda/fake news/political spin with the powerful projection of internet projection. The same way children do not understand their parents world because they were not exposed to those times.

    It was what it was.

    Thank you.

  2. Great podcast series so far. I have listened to every episode and am really enjoying learning about German history for the first time. Thanks Dirk!

  3. Thanks Dirk! I have a Lot to read and learn! I wish daddy could do they same, but he has already passed away. Love your excellent information. 🙂

  4. Great series. Currently my go-to listening anytime I’m out and about, doing dishes, whatever. I’m a serious history nut myself, and this is history as I like it – the interesting bits! Gossipy, factual, and insightful.

  5. So happy to have discovered this excellent podcast … Dirk gives a clear and easily followed chronological narrative but also includes a clear and easy to follow analysis of events … makes for really enjoyable listening and learning… thank you Dirk

  6. Thanks again for the podcast. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying. It feels like a great odyssey. One which I am really enjoying and strapped into, with life jacket on and whistle at the ready 😊

  7. Got lazy? First you use the thugs and miracles (for what I am immensely greatfull as I have no idea how would I find a so stupidly named podcast, i was looking for a history of France like a week before your anouncment about t&m) and then no episode next week. When will you get to work?
    Ps. My comment i obviously (partially) a joke. Great work, if you d like to give even more details it would be great (never to much). I have a suggestion to, would you be willing to make special episodes about the medieval times in German context? Like about architecture, weapons, metalurgy, industry, food, clothing, German city law etc. If you know that some this has been made and you don t want to repeat could you direct the listeners to it?
    Pps. Good work with the prononciation of polish names.

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