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German History in Documents and Images
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Dedication Ceremonies for the Berlin Victory Column (September 2, 1873)
This photograph testifies to the amount of military pomp that accompanied the unveiling of this famous symbol of Germany’s triumph over France two years earlier. The Victory Column, some 200 feet high, had actually been designed in 1865 by the architect Heinrich Strack (1805-1880) as a memorial to the Prussian victory over Denmark in 1864. But work on the monument was halted when the Austro-Prussian War broke out in June 1866 and again (after work had restarted in 1869) when war with France was declared in 1870. The 1873 inauguration was held on Sedan Day, the de facto national holiday celebrating Germany’s victory at the Battle of Sedan on September 1-2, 1870.