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Germans: Famous & Historical Trivia

Germans: Famous & Historical Trivia Quizzes

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4 quizzes and 40 trivia questions.
  Spotted at the German Bundespresseball   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The Bundespresseball (Federal Press Ball) is a splendid celebration of about 2,500 German notables from politics, business and culture. Can you identify these people who could have been there in 2011?
Tough, 10 Qns, WesleyCrusher, Jan 30 12
WesleyCrusher editor
4327 plays
  Famous People of the Nazi Era   top quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
This quiz deals with famous people from various fields who lived in Germany during the rule of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. I hope you like the quiz!
Average, 10 Qns, jonnowales, Jul 22 09
2153 plays
  Early Icons of German Culture   popular trivia quiz  
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
Here are ten people who were instrumental in creating German culture. Have fun!
Average, 10 Qns, shvdotr, Sep 22 17
shvdotr gold member
Sep 22 17
238 plays
  Ships of the Kriegsmarine    
Multiple Choice
 10 Qns
The German Navy during the Second World War was relatively small in terms of major surface ships, with ten of them named for famous figures from German history. Can you answer these questions about those figures?
Average, 10 Qns, Red_John, Mar 27 22
Mar 27 22
94 plays
Related Topics
  Germany Government [World] (5 quizzes)

  German Music [Music] (12 quizzes)

  German Football [Sports] (11 quizzes)

  Mixed Germany [General] (9 quizzes)

  German Language [World] (29 quizzes)

  German History [History] (104 quizzes)

  German Films [Movies] (3 quizzes)

  German Foods [Hobbies] (6 quizzes)

  German Literature [Literature] (7 quizzes)

  Germany [Geography] (35 quizzes)

Germans: Famous & Historical Trivia Questions

1. The best known of the 13th century Minnesänger, this poet is considered the best German lyrical poet before Goethe. Who is this writer of over 100 love songs?

From Quiz
Early Icons of German Culture

Answer: Walther von der Vogelweide

Minnesang, meaning "love song," was a form of German lyric poetry in the Middle High German period. Walther von der Vogelweide (about 1170 to about 1230) was probably its best known writer. He was also the author of a lot of political poetry, including satire and moralizing. Wieland der Schmied was a legendary blacksmith dating back to Old Norse, German, and Old English traditions. Chrétien de Troyes was a 12th Century French poet known for his Arthurian stories. Dafydd ap Gwilym was a great Welsh poet of the 14th century.

2. Gebhard von Blücher is known as the commander of the German force that provided reinforcement to the army of the Duke of Wellington, leading to victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, but what was the name of the force he commanded?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: Army of the Lower Rhine

Gebhard von Blücher had served as a distinguished officer in the Prussian Army for many years, including as a general during the later years of the wars against Napoleonic France when, in 1815, having retired following the capture of Napoleon I, he returned to duty during the Hundred Days, being given command of the Army of the Lower Rhine, a wholly Prussian formation independent of the Duke of Wellington's allied force. Elements of Blücher's army arrived on the field at Waterloo during the afternoon of the battle, which eventually led to the French army being forced to retreat, and thus the final defeat of Napoleon. The heavy cruiser Blücher was the second ship of the Admiral Hipper-class. Commissioned on 20 September 1939, the ship had completed sea trials and operational training by 5 April 1940. Four days later, operating in the Oslofjord, she was hit by two torpedoes, causing fires that led to one of the ship's magazines exploding. The ship eventually rolled over and sank at around 7.30am.

3. Another Minnesänger and a contemporary of the above poet is a Bavarian knight famous for his version of "Parzival." Who is this poet who claimed to be illiterate?

From Quiz Early Icons of German Culture

Answer: Wolfram von Eschenbach

Wolfram, of whose life very little is actually known, based his "Parzival," the first German work based on the Holy Grail legend, on the same story by France's Chrétien de Troyes. Hiëronymus van Alphen was a Dutch legal scholar and officeholder who lived from 1746 to 1803. Perhaps Germany's greatest poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived from 1749 to 1832. Heinrich von Kleist, after whom a prestigious German literary prize is named, was a poet, novelist, and dramatist who lived from 1777 to 1811.

4. August von Gneisenau first saw active service as a young officer in the army of the Margrave of Bayreuth-Ausbach, who provided mercenary troops to Great Britain to serve in which conflict?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: American Revolutionary War

August von Gneisenau was born in Saxony, the son of a junior artillery officer named August Neidhardt. Although he grew up in poverty, he was able to attend the University of Erfut, before joining an Austrian regiment quartered in the city. In 1782, having taken the name Gneisenau from some of his family's lost Austrian lands, he was recruited as an officer in one of the mercenary regiments of the Margrave of Bayreuth-Ausbach, who hired out his soldiers to King George III for service against the rebel American colonies. Gneisenau served in America for four years before returning home, where he was able to obtain a commission in the Prussian Army. He eventually reached the rank of Field Marshal, and served as Blücher's Chief of Staff in the war against France. The battleship Gneisenau was the second of two ships of the Scharnhorst-class. Commissioned in May 1938, she spent much of her war service in the Atlantic. On 26 February 1942, while in drydock, she suffered damage in an air attack. The ship was removed from service in early 1943, and was eventually sunk as a blockship in Gotenhafen in March 1945.

5. Who was the late Romantic composer who was linked with the ruling Nazi party and is still well known for his tone poem, "Also Sprach Zarathustra"?

From Quiz Famous People of the Nazi Era

Answer: Richard Strauss

His role as President of the State Music Bureau brought the composer into contact with senior Nazi officials. Despite taking this role however, it is believed that Strauss remained apolitical. It is likely that his involvement with the Nazi party was limited, as he had many Jewish friends and relatives.

6. Upon the outbreak of the First World War, Franz von Hipper served as the commander of the I Scouting Group, the fast reconnaissance unit of the High Seas Fleet. Which battle cruiser served as his first flagship?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: SMS Moltke

Franz von Hipper originally joined the Imperial German Navy in 1881, and held a number of posts, including a posting to the Imperial Yacht, SMY Hohenzollern in September 1899, which included a visit to Britain for the funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901. By 1913, having had a distinguished career, he was promoted to Rear-Admiral and assigned as the commander of the High Seas Fleet's I Scouting Group on 1 October, with the battle cruiser SMS Moltke, which had been the flagship under his predecessor, also serving in this role until 23 June 1914, when Hipper transferred his flag to the newly commissioned SMS Seydlitz. The heavy cruiser Admiral Hipper was the lead ship of her class. Commissioned in April 1939, she was one of the few major surface units that saw significant service during the Second World War, eventually suffering significant damage in the Battle of the Barents Sea in December 1942. Admiral Hipper never returned to service and, after being damaged in an air attack on 3 May 1945, she was scuttled by her crew.

7. "Triumph des Willens" ("Triumph of the Will") is the best known documentary directed by which unusually prominent female in the Nazi era?

From Quiz Famous People of the Nazi Era

Answer: Leni Riefenstahl

"Triumph of the Will" was a propaganda documentary which portrayed Adolf Hitler as a messianic character who was breaking through the clouds in his private plane; descending upon the 'Vaterland' offering salvation to the wildly cheering and deeply grateful Volk. Interestingly, Adolf Hitler was the first candidate for a top political job in any country to conduct his election campaigns by using aviation as a means of transport. Due to the policy towards women that the Nazis implemented which exuded the idea of "equal but opposite" where women had a vital domestic role to play in the Reich, it is surprising that Leni Riefenstahl even got to the position that she did. However, her explicit connection with the Nazi movement ruined her directing and acting career post-1945. She died at the age of 101 in 2003.

8. In 1811, Ludwig von Lützow was given permission to set up a new unit of irregular troops to serve in the war against Napoleonic France. By what nickname was the force generally known?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: Black Hunters

Ludwig von Lützow initially joined the Prussian Army in 1795, eventually retiring in 1808 as a major to protest the peace treaty between Prussia and France. Three years later, with the war having reignited, he was recommissioned into the army at his previous rank, and received permission to raise a force of irregulars, intended to harass the French flanks and engage in guerrilla war behind the French lines. The Lützow Free Corps, eventually formed in February 1813, came to be known as the "Black Hunters" (Schwarze Jäger) due to their black uniforms. The unit was disbanded following the Treaty of Paris in 1814, with its infantry and cavalry incorporated into the regular Prussian Army. Lützow became a colonel in 1815, and retired as a Lt General in 1830. The Kriegsmarine actually had two ships named Lützow - the first was the final ship of the Admiral Hipper class, which was sold incomplete to the Soviet Union in February 1940 and renamed Petropavlovsk. The second was originally commissioned in 1931 as the "pocket battleship" Deutschland; this ship was renamed Lützow in February 1940 to avoid the humiliation of a ship bearing the name of the nation being sunk.

9. Prince Eugen von Savoyen was a military commander and diplomat in the service of the Hapsburg Empire. Towards the end of his life, he served as the governor of which Hapsburg territory?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: Southern Netherlands

Prince Eugen von Savoyen (Prince Eugene of Savoy) was born in Paris as the fifth son of the ount of Soissons. Although initially intended for a career in the priesthood, at the age of 19 he opted for a military career and, having been turned down by the French Army, moved to Vienna and enlisted in the army of the Hapsburgs. His first action was in the Siege of Vienna in 1683, with a career spanning six decades. In June 1716, he was appointed as Governor of the Southern Netherlands, although day to day administration was left to his representative, the Marquis of Prié. Prié was unpopular with the local population and nobility and, when his position became untenable, led to Eugen resigning in 1724. The heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen was the third of the Admiral Hipper-class. Commissioned on 1 August 1940, the ship was one of the few German surface units to survive the war. Taken as a war prize by the United States, she was used as a target vessel in the 1946 atomic tests at Bikini Atoll.

10. Although Gerhard von Scharnhorst is most known for his service in the Prussian Army, he began his military career in the army of which German state?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: Hanover

Gerhard von Scharnhorst was born into the family of a small landowner in Bordenau, a town near Hanover, in 1755. Having educated himself, he was able to obtain a place in the military academy of the Count of Schaumburg-Lippe, from where he was commissioned as an officer in the Hanoverian Army in 1778. In 1783, he transferred to the artillery, while also publishing a handbook for officers and founding a military journal. After success in a number of military campaigns during the 1790s, several different states sought him to serve in their armies, which led to his transferring to the Prussian Army, with the rank of colonel, in 1801. The battleship Scharnhorst, lead ship of her class, was commissioned in January 1939, and saw extensive service during the Second World War alongside her sister Gneisenau. Scharnhorst became one of the last battleships to be sunk in a surface action when she was lost during the Battle of the North Cape on 26 December 1943.

11. Adolf Hitler became the German Chancellor in early 1933 but his power was limited in a few ways. The main obstacle in Hitler's pursuit of dictatorship was Paul von Hindenburg. At the time Hitler became Chancellor, what position did Hindenburg hold?

From Quiz Famous People of the Nazi Era

Answer: President

The ageing Paul von Hindenburg was the President of Germany and the only man who stood in Hitler's way. So long as Hindenburg was President, and by extension possessed a presidential veto, Hitler could not implement his horrifying plans, namely the 'Final Solution of the Jewish Question' or 'Die Endlösung der Judenfrage'. It must be pointed out that the Nazis hadn't developed their plan for the mass extermination of the Jews until 1941. During the Wannsee Conference of 1942, the Nazis refined their plans for implementing the Final Solution. Had Hindenburg survived a few years longer, history may have been a lot different. However, Hindenburg died in 1934 and just over a year after Hitler's rise to the position of Chancellor, Hitler was now the Fuehrer.

12. In January 1916, Reinhard Scheer was appointed as the new Commander-in-Chief of the High Seas Fleet. Who did he replace in the role?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: Hugo von Pohl

Reinhard Scheer joined the Imperial German Navy in 1879, eventually reaching flag rank at the comparatively young age of 47 in 1911 while serving as the Chief of Staff to Admiral Holtzendorff, then commander of the High Seas Fleet. Following a year spent in the Imperial Naval Office, in January 1913, Scheer was appointed commander of the II Battle Squadron. He was transferred to the III Battle Squadron in January 1915, under Admiral Pohl. However, Pohl was seriously ill with cancer and, on 23 January 1916, was replaced as the Commander-in-Chief by Scheer, whose period in command included the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916. Scheer remained in the post until June 1918, when he was made Chief of the Naval Staff. The heavy cruiser, colloquially referred to as a "pocket battleship, Admiral Scheer was the second ship of the Deutschland-class. Commissioned in 1934, she saw service during the Spanish Civil War, and was the most successful German commerce raider of the Second World War. She was capsized during an air attack in April 1945.

13. Maximilian von Spee had a distinguished career in the Imperial German Navy, despite having contracted rheumatic fever early in his service while stationed in which German overseas territory?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: Cameroon

Maximilian von Spee joined the Imperial German Navy in 1878. Following his commission as a Lieutenant, he was assigned to the gunboat SMS Möwe which was primarily stationed in West Africa. Ten years after his first service in the region, Spee was appointed as the commander of the port of Duala in the German territory of Kamerun (Cameroon). During his time in Cameroon, Spee contracted rheumatic fever, an inflammatory disease that can cause fever, painful joints and involuntary muscle movements. Spee returned to Germany to recover in 1889, but was plagued with rheumatism for the rest of his life. Despite this, he had a distinguished career until he was killed when his flagship, SMS Scharnhorst, was sunk in the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914. The heavy cruiser, known as a "pocket battleship, Admiral Graf Spee was the third ship of the Deutschland-class. Commissioned in January 1936, she saw service during the Spanish Civil War, and was deployed as a commerce raider at the start of the Second World War. In December 1939, the ship was scuttled off Montevideo following the Battle of the River Plate.

14. Early in in his naval career, Alfred von Tirpitz was assigned to a branch of the navy in which he became a leading expert with what type of naval weapon?

From Quiz Ships of the Kriegsmarine

Answer: Torpedo

Alfred von Tirpitz originally joined the Prussian Navy in April 1865, becoming an officer in the new Imperial German Navy upon its formation. In 1877, he was sent to inspect the torpedo development works at Fiume in Austria-Hungary. Upon his return to Germany, he was appointed as the head of the navy's torpedo section, which was eventually named as the Torpedo Inspectorate. During his time in the department, Tirpitz became responsible for the development of torpedoes, torpedo boats to carry them and tactics to use them. He eventually described his time working with torpedoes as "the eleven best years of my life". The battleship Tirpitz, the second ship of the Bismarck-class, was commissioned in February 1941. The ship primarily served in Norway, operating largely as a "fleet-in-being", tying up a significant amount of the British Home Fleet. The ship was eventually sunk in an air attack in November 1944.

15. Probably the least known figure on our quiz was born in Strasbourg in 1457. Who was the humanist and satirist who wrote "Das Narrenschiff" ("The Ship of Fools") in 1494?

From Quiz Early Icons of German Culture

Answer: Sebastian Brant

Brant also created a large volume of writing on civil and canon law, as well as a compilation of fables and other stories. "Das Narrenschiff" is a satirical look at abuses of the Church. Bertolt Brecht, who died in East Berlin in 1956, was a leading playwright of the Epic theater movement, which sought to reflect political realities of the mid 20th Century. Among his best-known works are "Mother Courage and Her Children" and "The Threepenny Opera." Only Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a comparable poet, playwright, and philosopher to Friedrich Schiller, who had a complicated friendship with the former. Schiller lived from 1759 to 1805. The Austrian Stefan Zweig was a dramatist, novelist, and poet who was born in Vienna in 1881 and died in Rio de Janeiro in 1942.

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