Saturday, January 28, 2017

Kaliningrad Oblast

While doing research on Immanuel Kant. The political guru – yes, how else would you refer to the 18th century German philosopher? J and L found something interesting in the area called Kaliningrad Oblast.
In the midst of a whole lot of countries - Geeez
It seems that Kant – the wise one, who is considered a central figure in the modern philosophical model, was born there. He believed that perpetual world peace could be achieved through universal democracy and international cooperation.
Sounds easy enough!
Nah, not really - that piece about universal democracy may become a stumbling block for most countries on this revolving ball through the universe.
We can buy into this idea - sounds happy.
Of course, he also utilized his so-called atheism for the ontological argument of God’s existence thus believing he (Kant) destroyed the whole idea of God. This concept was thus poo-pooed by Friedrich Nietzsche who said Kant was actually religious – being brought up in a strict religious household and was just trying to make an apology for the traditional Christian beliefs.
Nietzsche went so far to state: “Kant wanted to prove, in a way that would dumbfound the common man, that the common man was right: that was the secret joke of this soul.”
And how many times have we heard this one? Sound advice.
Okay – enough of the philosophy but sometimes that is where research takes the researcher.
How about the mention of Kaliningrad Oblast?
This blog is about the area located on the Baltic Sea where Kant was born and raised. It was once a German province but then again it has changed hands many times since the Middle Ages.

Home to the Prussians in the western sections and the Lithuanians in the eastern sections. The good old Teutonic Knights decided they wanted a piece of this sea coast and destroyed the Prussian settlement of Tvanksta and soon realized that name couldn’t stand since almost no one could pronounce it so they changed it to Konigsberg.
Yeah, that’s much easier than Tvanksta!
Anyway, as history goes,  the territory went through different peoples for hundreds of years – so much for Kant’s idea of global peace through cooperation. So, even though the folks living there were more Germanic than anything else, because of the Teutonic Knights, other countries fought over the real estate including but not limited to the Germans, Polish, Lithuanians, and the Russians - some of them more than once through the ages.
But we can't forget about the Nazi’s role in this piece of land.
Adolf Hitler decided in 1938 the area of Konigsberg should be part of the Third Reich. With that said he also thought the Slavic and Jewish populations should be eliminated. Thus started a genocide which nearly wiped these two cultures off the face of the coastal regions.

The round-up in Kaliningrad
After WWII and the supposed death of Adolf Hitler in his bunker in Berlin (there are many stories saying he fled in the last days of the Reich to South America and we do love our conspiracies) the land was now up for grabs between the big three victors – Russia, Great Britain and the United States.
Joseph Stalin won the debate and by 1948 all German speaking peoples were asked to leave the area - rather forcibly. Half the population went to the port and exiled themselves.

Soviet Union control meant 'Control'!

A picture is worth - what - everything

The Hell of World War II

Not much of the city was left after the war, but over the decades, it was rebuilt and people began moving back in -- not those Jews or Slavs or anyone else not wanted by the Soviet Union, but people did move back.

In 1946, the area was renamed Kaliningrad -- and thankfully, everyone can pronounce it!

It was rebuilt beautifully through the decades
The Cold War – where many countries threatened to destroy each other with bombs which would vaporize a human with a millisecond took place for nearly sixty years started mainly between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Luckily no one inputted the secret code.
Now this lovely province lies on the Black Sea unharmed and once again a tourist attraction for those living in Eastern Europe.

Modern days just laying in the sun on the Baltic

As with all stories this one is not finished – Kaliningrad is the only Russian sea port on the Baltic Sea which is ice-free all year round. Thus the reason the Soviets wanted it so badly at Potsdam.
But then again – J and L do our most never to get into politics.

Never does not mean never – a story is to not finished until it is done.

The story of Kalingrad seems never ending. Hmm, "The Never Ending Story" -- sounds rather catchy.

But wasn't there a film with that title?

Maybe -- but that is the true case with this gem on the Baltic.

The research continues and so does the quest for the truth.
A deep piece for J and L but wouldn’t Kant demand that?

Philosophically that is.

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