About 20 years ago I started some historical projects that were centered around German World War I aviation, which has been a topic close to my heart since I was a very young child. I used to dream about flying the vintage old biplanes. I created several websites to keep the history from being lost or forgotten during the late 1990’s, so when the events in the Ukraine exploded along with the upcoming 100 years anniversary of the beginning of The Great War, I was prompted to realize that I needed to tend to these projects again. I have let these projects get pushed aside because I allowed selfish people to push their needs ahead of what was important. Now I find myself exhausted from these past negative experiences and remorseful that these important projects were not finished to my satisfaction.
So it is my goal to tend to these projects again. I may not have the energy and ability to get things done like I used to, but I still want to try. The first project is to give a much needed face lift to the Pour le Mérite Order website. This was an award given out by the Prussian nobility to military personnel that deserved recognition. Later on, the order was expanded to include artistic and scientific achievements as well for both military and non-military people. The award lasted until the end of World War One when Kaiser Wilhelm was forced to leave his office of leadership and Germany was forced to take blame for a war they did not start. The award gained modern fame under the nickname of the Blue Max when Max Immelmann the first German pilot received the prized recognition award during the early part of World War One. And later there was also a fictional movie about a pilot winning the Blue Max. The award was no longer given after the First World War since the noble family that awarded it was no longer in power and many people today erroneously think that it was given out in World War 2 by the NAZI government.
I am often frustrated and confused as to why there is so much ignorance about the true events of the First World War. It was a pivotal conflict that laid the foundations for one of the worst wars to occur – World War 2. It scares me now to see what is happening in the Ukraine since it is so similar to the events that happened just before the beginning of World War One and because of the lack of education about the war, the general population does not understand the significance. So much culture and history has been lost due to these wars and radical revolutions.
I am just one small person, but presenting the history and supporting projects that help to educate is my modest way of giving back to the world, which leads to my other project. Since technology has advanced so much in the past few years, my next educational project was inspired by the Android Age. My British co-historian friend, Farren Robinson, and I are putting together a Great War Day Calendar, and my version of the project will be a Mobile Application that’s if I can get funds and data put together in time. In the next couple of months I might make some announcements about the projects availability in the App stores. I want this to happen because it would be a fun way to share and expose the general population to history and culture.
The www.pourlemerite.org will be under construction for some time since it is a huge hand coded website. I am looking forward to sharing the new design, and I hope it will continue to add people in their research.
G. Winkler © 2014