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August 25 in German History

August 25, 1744

Birth of philosopher and critic, Johann Gottfried von Herder in Modrungen, Germany (now in Poland). His writings prepare for the Sturm und Drang movement as well as the Romantic movement in literature. He is perhaps, though, most remembered for his profound intellectual influence on the young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

August 25, 1793


Birth of Martin Rathke in Danzig, Prussia (now in Poland). Rathke was the anatomist who first identified the gill structures in the embryos of mammals. He concluded that they were the vestiges of gills at earlier stages of evolution. He also identified the embryonic structure from which the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland develops.

August 25, 1822

Death of Wilhelm Friedrich Herschel in Slough, England (born in Hannover, Germany). Herschel was a musician with the Hanoverian Guards in his youth. During the French occupation of Hanover in 1757 he escaped to England where he became an organist at the spa at Bath. His natural curiosity led him to a variety of intellectual pursuits, among which was observation of the heavens. With little funding, he was forced to grind his own lenses and build the telescopes he needed to pursue his interests. His observations led him to discover the planet Uranus. This drew so much attention that he was given a pension and appointed astronomer to George III. Between 1783 and 1802 he catalogued 2,500 nebulae and star clusters and 848 double stars. He published 70 papers. He founded sidereal astronomy and developed a theory of stellar evolution. He was knighted in 1816 as Sir William Herschel.

August 25, 1840

Death of Karl Leberecht Immermann in Düsseldorf, Germany. Immermann was a dramatist and novelist of the early period of Realism. Among his noted works are Das Trauerspiel in Tyrol (1828), Merlin (1832), Tulifäntchen (1830), Die Epigonen (1936), and Münchhausen (2 parts, 1838 and 1839).

August 25, 1841

Birth of Emil Theodor Kocher in Bern, Switzerland. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1909 for his work on the thyroid gland.

August 25, 1845

Birth of Ludwig II of Bavaria in Munich, Germany.

August 25, 1900

Birth of Hans Adolf Krebs in Hildesheim, Germany. Krebs won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1953 for the discovery of the ticarboxylic acid cycle in living beings. Krebs had fled Germany in 1933 and moved to England.

August 25, 1900

Death of the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at the age of 24 he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest individual to have held this position), but resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889 he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown has been ascribed to atypical general paralysis attributed to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has since come into question. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, then under the care of his sister until his death in 1900.

August 25, 1912

Birth of Erich Honecker in Neuenkirchen, Germany. Honecker was the leader of East Germany from 1971-1989. He had been in charge of the building of the Berlin Wall (1961). After the unification he was to be tried for giving the order to shoot persons attempting to cross the border. However due to his state of health (liver cancer) the court decided (1993) that he could not be tried. As soon as the decision had been made, Honecker left Germany for Chile where he lived until his death in 1994.


August 25, 1918

A treaty ends World War I between the USA and Germany.

August 25, 1929

The dirigible, Graf Zeppelin, flies over San Francisco after its trans-Pacific crossing.

August 25, 1944

Liberation of Paris from German occupation.

August 25, 1965

Death of Amelia zur Helle Thyssen in Puchhof, Bavaria. As head of the Thyssen steel company after WWII, she brought the company to the position of largest steel company in Europe and the third largest corporation in Germany.

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