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EUROPEAN HISTORY - Prussia's Scottish hero

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05:52 PM GMT
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02:48 PM GMT
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09:42 PM GMT
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11:44 AM GMT
07:25 PM GMT
The Imperial Russian Air Force existed in the Russian Empire between 1910 and 1917. The origins of Russian aviation go back to theoretical projects of the 1880s by pioneer Russian scientists such as Nikolai Kibalchich and Alexander Mozhaisky. During the 1890s aviation innovation was further advanced by Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. In 1904 Nikolai Zhukovsky established the world's first Aerodynamic Institute in Kachino near Moscow. In 1910, the Imperial Russian Army purchased a number of French planes and began training the first military pilots. The history of military aircraft in Imperial Russia is closely associated with the name of Igor Sikorsky .

In 1913 Sikorsky built the first four-engine biplane, the Russky Vityaz, and his famous bomber aircraft, the Ilya Muromets. In the same year Dmitry Grigorovich built a number of “flying boats” for the Imperial Russian Navy. In 1914 Russian aviators conducted the first ever flights in the Arctic looking for the lost expedition of polar explorer Georgy Sedov. At the beginning of World War I, Russia had an air force second only to France, although a significant part of the Imperial Russian Air Force used outdated French aircraft. Initially, Russians used aviation only for reconnaissance and coordination of artillery fire, but in December 1914 a squadron of Ilya Muromets bombers was formed and used against the German and Austro-Hungarian armies.

Among Russian pilots were the legendary Pyotr Nesterov, who performed the first suicide plane attack in the history of aviation, and the most successful Russian flying ace and fighter pilot Aleksandr Kazakov, who shot down 32 enemy planes.

In 1915 the Imperial Russian Air Force, formerly part of the Engineer Corps, became a separate branch of the army directly under command of the Stavka (commander-in-chief's HQ). However, the war was not going well for Russia and following significant setbacks on the Eastern front, and the economic collapse in the rear, military aircraft production fell far behind Russia's rival Germany. Between 1914 and 1917 only about 5000 planes were built in Russia compared to more than 45,000 in Germany.

In late 1916, Sikorsky built a unique four-engine bomber-biplane called Alexander Nevsky, but it was never put to serial production due to the events preceding and following the October Revolution, and Sikorsky’s emigration to the United States of America in 1919.

The Imperial Russian Air Force aircraft hangars for seaplanes in Reval (Tallinn) harbour were some of the first reinforced concrete structures in the world.
Edited 28-01-2009 07:28 PM
Peter Crane
02:20 PM GMT
Rest assured the Nazis had plenty of home help in disposing of the Jews in countries other than Germany. Very convenient now for those countries to blame everything on the Germans.
David J WebbPerson was signed in when posted
08:58 PM GMT
Apparently His Holiness the Pope is becoming reconciled with the Lefevbre Latin Mass enthusiasts, and he plans to reinstate their bishops, including a British so-called Holocaust denier.

I say so-called because he does not deny that Jews were killed in the concentration camps, but specifically denies the number of 6 million and specifically denies that any were killed by gas chambers. Youtube has an interview with him at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=CsrPt-enplw.

You notice that the interviewer was quick to allege anti-semitism, although with no explanation as to why disagreements on history should amount to anti-semitism.

As far as I know, millions were killed - Poland was once heavily Jewish and now has almost none - the same for Lithuania and Byelorussia etc - but I do not claim to have a handle on the full historiographical details, which may be hard to check up on at this remove. But I do believe in free speech - and so have no problem with this bishop claiming whatever he wants to claim on this subject.
tony watts
10:28 AM GMT
Can anyone shed light & confirm that Italy has strarted repatriating illegal immigrants ?

I briefly heard something on the radio concerning the Italians ignoring EU "human right" rules concerning expulsions.

If they are repatriatingo how come we are not doing it!
Peter Crane
01:17 PM GMT
Professor H.Koch of York University is the leading expert on the history of Prussia.
mike smithPerson was signed in when posted
12:45 PM GMT
For much of its history 'Prussia'(properly Brandenburg-Prussia)was a tolerant, forward-looking and unpretentious northern Protestant state, closer in character to Holland Denmark and Sweden than the southern German states, but very much the 'poor cousin'of those three great powers.

Sadly,the good news about Prussian history has been obscured by propoganda, lies and - sadly - the stupidity of certain leading Prussians during the past 150 years.
12:42 PM GMT
AlcibiadesPerson was signed in when posted
12:41 PM GMT
The news about the Keith celebrations is fantastic.The histories of Britain and Prussia are conjoined.
09:12 PM GMT
David, talking about Cicero. this is Fjordman -

mike smithPerson was signed in when posted
06:08 AM GMT
I understand that there was a big battle re-enactment with performances of baroque music in the church of this small town.

I do not believe in an afterlife but last Tuesday I raised a glass to the memory of my illustrious forebear Generalfeldmarshall Freiherr Jakob von Keith. It was the 250th anniversary of his death in battle.

Keith died laden with honours but the greatest of all was to have been the true friend of that noblest and bravest of princes, Frederick II of Prussia, rightly called 'The Great'

Keith was a true Scot, a good European, and a true Prussian: honest, modest, brave, loyal and decent, a good Protestant, and a Good Mason and True.

As Governor of Berlin the Marshal had his pick of the noblewomen of Germany yet chose to share his bed with a Swedish peasant woman who bore him several children. His Majesty graciously condescended to enoble Keith's mistress after his death and it is good to think that I must have relatives - perhaps bearing his surname - in Europe today.


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Edited 16-10-2008 06:09 AM
Andrew Moffatt
10:15 PM GMT
So did the ceremony go ahead?
mike smithPerson was signed in when posted
08:18 AM GMT
We are both members of the same family but Keith had no legitimate offspring.

His Livonian mistress had a number of bastards by him.

Keith's equally famous brother George lived to a great age. Rousseau was befriended by him when GK was Governor of Neuchatel then an outpost of Prussian tolerance amid the bigotry of Calvinist Switzerland.

Until stripped of his titls by George II GK had been hereditary Earl Marishal of Scotland, and in Prussia he was always styled the 'Lordmarschall'. Confusingly, his brother was a Generalfeldmarschall in the army of Frederick the Great

I think George also had no legitimate offspring. It seems to be a family trait as this particular line of the Keiths ends with my brother and myself.
Edited 26-09-2008 09:21 AM
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