History of the Germans Podcast

This I highly recommend this podcast. The narrative is captivating, well paced, and the author adds a wonderful sense of charm and his own style of humor to some serious topics. Each episode leaves me longing for the next.PetefromFla from the United States

“The real thing: it makes “Game of Thrones” seem like a kids’ picnic. As a recent migrant to Germany, I really needed this, and it doesn’t disappoint. Don’t be tempted to skip the prologue.” Mick the Short from the United Kingdom

This is the best history podcast since Mike Duncan’s outstanding History of Rome podcast. Lots of podcasters have modeled their podcasts on the History of Rome ever since, but this one is so well done it feels like a continuation. This podcast makes my commute one of the most enjoyable parts of my day and launches me on all sorts of little podcast induced wikipedia reading sessions during the day as my brain churns over the events discussed in the podcast.Jthor137 from the United States

“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
byDirk 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 II 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)


Arthur Berson (1859-1942) Meteorologist, Extreme Balloonist
On this day, December 3rd, 1942 the great German meteorologist and balloonist …
Herny V’s cunning Plan
Having lured his father into a trap and then deposed, we now …
The end of Emperor Henry IV
It is hard to believe, but the last years of Henry IV's …
The First Crusade
In 1095 Pope Urban II launches the First Crusade and things get …
Henry IV is Coming Home
The return of the freshly crowned Emperor Henry IV to Germany
Episode 34 – Gaining the Upper Hand
Unperturbed by Henry IV's release from the ban the German princes elect …
The most untimely death of the bishop of Utrecht
When Bishop William of Utrecht hurls insults at the "false monk who …
Episode 33 – Canossa Finally
It is time – we are finally going to Canossa. Expect imperial …
How King (future Emperor ) Henry IV (1056-1105) turned a disagreement over the archbishop of Milan into a major crisis
Henry had appointed a new archbishop of Milan in direct opposition to …
How an uprising in Milan leads to the excommunication of the King Henry IV.
Milan is not only Europe's largest city in the 11th century but …
Pope Gregory VII (Hildebrand), 1020-1085
Gregory VII is one of the great papal figures of the Middle …
Episode 32 is Live!
The rise of the papacy since 1046 is almost linear. Popes free …

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!


£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


£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


£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

Or make a one-time Donation – very much appreciated


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  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.

  8. Just started listening to the podcast! I’ve been searching for a good German history podcast, and this one ticks all the boxes for me. I’m greatly enjoying it so far and can’t wait to listen to more!

  9. Excellent podcast!

    Very German and yet still a sense of humor lurks inside this intelligent, thoroughly researched, well organized and professional production.

    For now, Ottos, Conrads, Henrys, warfare, religion and backroom politics supply enough entertainment, but please cover Metropolis when you reach the 1920s!

  10. Wonderful and informative podcast. European history tends to be about Napoleon and then the World Wars here in the U.S. history curriculum. Thank you!

  11. There is a saga about the two emperors Henry IV and V, telling that in the cathedral of Speyer the bells magically started ringing by themselves on the days when these emperors died: For Henry IV it was the biggest one, called the imperial bell; and for Henry V, it was the small “bell of the poor sinners”.
    The saga is obviously somewhat biased, from the point of view of the 19th century. This was the era when those sagas were written down, when after the demise of the Holy Roman Empire, the Germans were seeking to find a new identity, and therefore searching for their roots in history. The protestant majority in Prussia felt sympathy with Henry IV and his struggle against the pope and the catholic church.
    This saga has been made into a poem and song by Maximilian von Oër and Carl Loewe:
    Another song about this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4JpCz19BOU

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