Who are the greatest Germans in history?

Who were the greatest Germans in history ?

  • Frederick I Barbarossa

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Johannes Gutenberg

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Martin Luther

    Votes: 4 13.8%
  • Frederick II of Prussia

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Immanuel Kant

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Johann Wolfgang Goethe

    Votes: 3 10.3%
  • Alexander von Humboldt

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • The Grimm brothers

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Carl Friedrich Gauss

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Otto von Bismarck

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • Richard Wagner

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Karl Marx

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Friedrich Nietzsche

    Votes: 2 6.9%
  • Max Planck

    Votes: 1 3.4%
  • Albert Einstein

    Votes: 6 20.7%
  • Manfred von Richthofen

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Michael Schumacher

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 5 17.2%

  • Total voters


The Angel of Justice
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Northeast Greenhills, San Juan, Manila, Philippine
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I would say it is Manfred von Richthofen, alias the Red Baron and the ace of the aces. Note: Ace refers to a fighter pilot who made at least 5 recorded kills of other pilots, although a British ace requires 10 confirmed military aircraft shootings to be one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_ace


Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron", who brought down 80 Allied aircraft before being shot down and killed on April 21, 1918. The Pour le Mérite medal is clearly in view here.Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (May 2, 1892 – April 21, 1918) was a German pilot and is still regarded today as the "ace of aces". He was a military leader and flying ace and the most successful fighter pilot of World War I, who won 80 air combats.

Richthofen is also known as "der rote Kampfflieger" ("Red Battle-Flyer") in German; "petit rouge" ("Little Red") or "le Diable Rouge" ("Red Devil") in French, and; the "Red Knight" or the "Red Baron" in the English-speaking world. The German translation of Red Baron is "der Rote Baron", and Richthofen is known by this name in Germany as well (although he was rarely referred to as "Baron" in Germany during his lifetime).

Early life
Born in Breslau, Silesia, Germany (now Wrocław, Poland), Richthofen moved with his family to Schweidnitz (now Świdnica, Poland), when he was 9 years old. The young Richthofen enjoyed hunting and riding horses. After completing cadet training in 1911, he joined a cavalry unit, Uhlan Regiment No. 1 – Kaiser Alexander III.

After the First World War began, Richthofen served as a cavalry scout on both the eastern and western fronts. Richthofen became bored with this role and in about May 1915, he asked to be transferred to the air service. He became an aircraft observer.

Piloting career
Inspired by a chance meeting with the great air fighter Oswald Boelcke, he decided to become a pilot himself. Later, Boelcke selected von Richthofen to join his elite fighter squadron (Jagdstaffel), Jasta 2. Von Richthofen won his first aerial combat over Cambrai, France, on September 17, 1916.

After his first victory, von Richthofen wrote to a friend in Berlin who was a jeweller and ordered a silver cup engraved with the date of the fight and the type of enemy machine. He continued this tradition until he had sixty cups, by which time the supply of silver in blockaded Germany was restricted.

Contrary to the popular opinion that no doubt has been reinforced by his reputation, Richthofen was not regarded by his peers as a spectacular pilot. Pilots of the day and historians have continually asserted that his brother Lothar was a much more natural pilot, being more skilled in aerobatic maneuvers. Rather than engage in such risky tactics, Manfred von Richthofen was famous for his strict adherence to a set of flight maxims (commonly referred to as the "Dicta Boelcke") to assure the greatest chance of both squadron and individual success. And while his natural skills as a pilot were not as renowned as some, Manfred von Richthofen viewed his plane as a platform from which to fire his guns, and, from that standpoint, his reputation and skill as an aerial marksman rank with any fighter pilot of his era.

On November 23, 1916 von Richthofen downed the British ace Lanoe Hawker, sometimes referred as "the British Boelcke." The victory came while von Richthofen was flying an Albatros D.II. After this engagement, he was convinced that he needed a fighter airplane with more agility—though this implied a loss of speed. Unfortunately, the Albatros fighter was the mainstay of the German air service at that time, and throughout 1917, and so the Baron flew Albatros D.III and D.V models well into 1917. However, he switched to a Halberstadt D.II biplane while the Albatros design was being modified after a spate of lower-wing spar failures. By September 1917 von Richthofen was flying the celebrated Fokker Dr.I triplane, the distinctive three-winged aircraft with which he is most commonly associated.

Manfred von Richthofen's Fokker triplane[edit]
The Flying Circus
In January 1917, after his 16th kill, von Richthofen received the Pour le Mérite, the highest military honour in Germany at the time. That same month, he assumed command of Jasta 11, which ultimately included some of the elite of Germany's pilots, many of whom he trained himself. Several in turn became leaders of their own squadrons.

As a practical aid to easy identification in the melee of air combat, Jasta 11's aircraft soon adopted red colourations with various individual markings, with some of Richthofen's planes painted entirely red. This practice soon had its use in German propaganda, even the RFC aircrew dubbing Von Richthofen 'Le Petit Rouge'.

Von Richthofen led his new unit to unparalleled success, peaking during "Bloody April" of 1917. In that month alone, he downed 22 British aircraft, raising his tally to 52. By June he was the commander of the first of the new larger Jagdgeschwader (wing) formations, leading Jagdgeschwader I composed of Jastas 4, 6, 10, and 11. These were highly mobile combined units that could be sent at short notice to different parts of the front as required. In this way, JG1 became "The Flying Circus" or "Richthofen's Circus", which got its name partially from the airplanes of all different colors. However, on the 6th of July, fighting a formation of No. 20 Squadron FE-2s, Richthofen was hit by gunfire and sustained a serious head wound that grounded him for several weeks. Later he would return to combat, although this head wound is thought to have caused lasting damage, as after the injury he often suffered from post-flight nausea and headaches, and a change in temperament. Richthofen was a brilliant tactician, building on Boelcke's shoulders. But unlike Boelcke, he led by example and force of will rather than by inspiration. He was often described as distant, unemotive, and rather humourless, though some colleagues contend otherwise. (See Karl Bodenschatz, Hunting With Richtofen).

Some say that, in 1918, Richthofen had become such a legend that it was feared that his death would be a blow to the morale of the German people. So, his superiors asked him to retire, but he refused, considering it his duty to carry on the fight in support of the foot soldier who had no choice but to fight.


Australian soldiers and airmen with the wreckage of von Richthofen's planeThe Red Baron met his death on April 21, 1918 from a single .303 bullet, while flying over Morlancourt Ridge, near the Somme River.

At the time he had been pursuing a Sopwith Camel piloted by a Canadian, Lieutenant Wilfrid "Wop" May of No. 209 Squadron, Royal Air Force. In turn the baron was chased by a Camel piloted by a school friend of May, Captain Arthur "Roy" Brown; the Red Baron turned to check the tail of his plane, that is, in the direction of Brown. He was then caught by the bullet, shot from behind and below, which passed diagonally through his chest.

Von Richthofen then made a hasty but controlled landing, in a field on a hill near the Bray-Corbie road, just north of the village of Vaux-sur-Somme, in a sector controlled by the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). His Fokker was not damaged by the landing. One account claims that von Richthofen died a few moments after Allied soldiers reached the plane, and that before he died, von Richthofen said a few words including "kaputt" ("broken"). Most authorities, however, believe that he was already dead or unconscious by that time.

No. 3 Squadron (3 Sqn) of the Australian Flying Corps, the nearest Allied air unit, assumed responsibility for the Baron's remains.

The identity of the person who shot the baron remains unknown; 0.303 ammunition was the standard ammunition for all machine guns and rifles used by British Empire forces during World War I. It is now considered all but certain by historians, doctors, and ballistics experts that von Richthofen was killed by an anti-aircraft (AA) machine gunner, as the wound through his body indicated that it had been caused by a bullet moving in an upward motion, providing ample evidence for a shot coming from the ground. Many experts believe that the shot probably came from Sergeant Cedric Popkin of the Australian 24th Machine Gun Company.[1] Popkin is the only ground-based machine gunner known to have fired at Richthofen from the right, immediately before he landed. Many Australian riflemen were also shooting at the baron at the time, so one of them may well have fired the fatal shot. The Royal Air Force gave official credit to Brown. However, it has been calculated that Richthofen would have lived for only 20-30 seconds after he was hit — due to the severity of his wound — and Brown did not fire at him within that time frame. It was reported that a spent .303 bullet was found inside Richthofen's clothing, which would also support a low velocity shot from a long distance.

3 Squadron officers were pallbearers and Australian soldiers acted as an honour guard during the Red Baron's funeral on April 22, 1918.The commanding officer of 3 Sqn, Major David Blake suggested initially that the baron had been killed by the crew of one of his squadron's RE8s, which had also fought Richthofen's unit that afternoon. However, following an autopsy which he witnessed, Blake became a strong proponent of the view that an AA machine gunner had killed the baron.

In common with most Allied air officers, Blake regarded von Richthofen with respect and he organised a full military funeral. The Baron was buried in the cemetery at the village of Bertangles near Amiens on April 22, 1918. Six airmen with the rank of captain — the closest peers of Richthofen — acted as pallbearers and an honour guard fired a salute. Other Allied squadrons presented memorial wreaths.

After the war, the Red Baron's remains were exhumed and reburied in the Richthofen family cemetery in Wiesbaden, Germany. The funeral, which was held in Berlin, Germany, was the largest the city has ever seen.

Actual Victory Score
For decades after WW I, some British and American authors denigrated von Richtofen's 80 victories, insisting that his record was exaggerated for propaganda purposes. Some claimed that he took credit for planes downed by his squadron or wing. However, in the 1990s a resurgence in Great War scholarship resulted in detailed investigation of many facets of air combat. The definitive study was conducted by British historian Norman Franks with two colleagues, resulting in publication of Under the Guns of the Red Baron in 1998. Their research confirmed the veracity of at least 73 of von Richtofen's claims, with identities of the British or Allied airmen whom von Richthofen fought.

Brain damage theory
In September 2004, researchers at the University of Missouri stated that it was likely that brain damage from the earlier head injury had played a part in the Baron's death. His behaviour after his injury was noted as consistent with brain-injured patients, and such an injury would have accounted for his lack of judgement on his final flight: flying too low over enemy territory and suffering target fixation. Indeed, for reasons that might never fully be known, on his final flight, Richthofen suddenly and inexplicably strayed from several of the strict rules of aerial combat, that he himself had devised and obeyed throughout his career. He may also have suffered from what is now recognised as combat fatigue; a symptom of which is a recklessness and disregard for personal safety, as evidenced by his final flight at low level over enemy lines.

The Red Baron in popular culture
The Red Baron has become a symbol for dexterity, daring and victory, combined with an element of tragedy both as being 'on the losing side' and in his ultimate death.

The engine from von Richthofen's aircraft is on display in the Imperial War Museum in London as part of the War in the Air Exhibit. It still bears the damage sustained in that final crash.

Von Richthofen has been the subject of numerous films, both documentary and fictional, including the grossly inaccurate 1971 Roger Corman movie, Von Richthofen and Brown, alternatively titled The Red Baron.

An American frozen foods manufacturer has adopted his nickname on Red Baron Pizza accompanied by an image that looks substantially unlike von Richthofen. The image includes a handlebar moustache, which the real Richthofen never had.

In the comic strip Peanuts, one of Snoopy's favorite fantasies portrays him as a World War I flying ace (Arthur Brown's nickname was Snoopy) who has a personal grudge against the Red Baron. Snoopy can never best the Red Baron, who is never seen. The conflict between Snoopy and the Baron was turned into a video game for the Atari system in the 1980s, and again in 2006 by Namco for the Playstation 2, PSP, and Xbox game systems.

The Royal Guardsmen's debut album was in 1966. Among other popular songs, they recorded the song Snoopy vs. The Red Baron which made it to number two on request charts. The conflict between Snoopy and the Red Baron was also a theme in the songs Return of the Red Baron, The Smallest Astronaut, Snoopy for President, and Snoopy's Christmas, which are all on the album.

Corto Maltese, the most famous character of the Italian cartoonist Hugo Pratt, witnesses the defeat of the Red Baron in one of his adventures, where it's speculated that the Baron may have been killed by a single shot fired by a lone Australian gunman, although Corto Maltese himself doesn't believe it was the case.

British comedian Adrian Edmondson played the Baron in the fourth season of Blackadder in an episode entitled "Plan D: Private Plane". The humour of his sole scene was based upon the differences in British and German culture, Edmondson's use of a clichéd accent and mannerisms, and his quick, meaningless death at the hands of Lord Flasheart (Rik Mayall).

The World War I setting of George Lucas' television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles saw the appearance of the Baron (played by actor Marc Warren) in an episode where the young Indiana Jones is shot down over Germany.

The troubled main character of DC Comics's Enemy Ace comics is modeled after the Red Baron. Hans von Hammer, as he was called, even flew a red triplane during WWI. Unlike Richthofen, Von Hammer survives to fly Messerschmitts (red, of course) in WW2, including the Me 262.

Red Baron by DynamixThere have also been a number of WWI flight simulators involving Baron von Richthofen. They include Hunt for the Red Baron, written and published by Small Rockets, Knights of the Sky by Microprose, and Red Baron by Dynamix and published by Sierra Entertainment which was followed up by a less successful sequel Red Baron II.

A song entitled "Not the Red Baron" by Tori Amos on her Boys for Pele album contrasts the feeling of shock and sorrow felt by the death of a well-known figure (in this case, the Red Baron) with the unnoticed death of the majority of pilots who were entirely unknown, making the point that a death is really a death, regardless of who it is; it is terrible to consider one death more important than another.

In the cartoon, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, a Red Baron-like character called the Red Lynx was portrayed as the enemy of Mayor Manx's great grandfather, the Blue Manx. The Red Lynx returned as a ghost, taking over a prototype jet named for his old enemy, until being shot down by Mayor Manx. Red Lynx was voiced by Mark Hamill.

One of the characters in Mobile Suit Gundam, a hugely popular Japanese sci-fi military drama, a saga that spans over thirty years, is believed to be at least partially based on Baron von Richthofen. Char Aznable, nicknamed "The Red Comet" was a legendary pilot for the fictional Principality of Zeon, and pilotted a variety of mobile suits (weapons designed for outer space combat), always painted a trademark red. A variation on this character has existed in every new Gundam series produced, and their red mobile suits pay homage to the real life hero who was recognized as the "Ace of aces".

The American heavy metal band Iced Earth recorded "Red Baron/Blue Max" based on von Richthofen for their "Glorious Burden" album.

The Spanish heavy metal band Barón Rojo is named after the Red Baron (in Spanish), and their logo is a shadow resembling a pilot.

In the videogame Empire Earth one of the campaigns is based on the Red Baron. Players take control of Manfred von Richthofen

In the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas a radio-controlled airplane called "Red Baron" can be controlled during a mission.

In the videogame Shining Force 2 Lemon, a german-looking powerful knight, is also known as The Red Baron. This character is wearing a red armor and a red shield.

Namco's videogame Skykid depicts the fanciful air journey of the "Red Baron" and the "Blue Max".

In an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob shouts, "Squidward, this ship belongs to the Red Baron!" It happens to be the Flying Dutchman's ship.

The German power metal band Masterplan features a track on their "Aeronautics" album entitled "Crimson Rider" which mentions a "Baron of the sky". This is presumably a tribute to Richthofen since his name, The Red Baron, relates to "Crimson Rider".

In the science-fiction television show Space: Above and Beyond, the marines encounter a Chig "ace of aces" flying an advanced stealth fighter, who ambushes and destroys several USMC squadrons. Naval intelligence nicknames him "Chiggy von Richthofen". Several fighter squadrons are sent to destroy him in "Operation Red Baron."

Similarly, an episode of the sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica revolved around the hunt for an "ace" Cylon Raider nicknamed Scar by Galactica's pilots because of the heavy damage it has endured from multiple skrimishes. The story of Scar contains many parallels to that of Baron von Richthofen.

In Fred Saberhagen's short story "Wings Out of Shadow" (part of the 'Berkserker' shared-world SF series), a captured historian uses 'personality modules' based on several WWI fighter aces, including von Richthoften, to suborn the spacecraft he is forced use against his own allies.

In The Star Wars X-Wing Saga there is an Imperial flying ace named Baron Soontir Fel. He commands the elite 181st TIE Squadron, and they are identified by 2 red blood stripes on their fighters as well as their jumpsuits.

In one of WB's "Bugs Bunny" cartoons, "Dumb Patrol," Yosemite Sam plays the Red Baron and is shown as a negative character who fights against Bugs Bunny.

Relatives of note
He was distant cousins with the German Field Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen, as well as Frieda von Richthofen (1879–1956), who married the English novelist D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930) in July 1914. Though their last common ancestor was born in 1661, the Red Baron's infamy nonetheless attached to Frieda's reputation in England. Frieda's sister Else von Richthofen was the first female social scientist in Germany.

His younger brother, Lothar von Richthofen (1894–1922), was also a flying ace, with 40 victories. He served along side his brother in jasta 11. He died in an air crash in 1922.

His great-nephew, Baron Dr. Hermann von Richthofen, was German Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1989 to 1993, and his name made him a media favourite.

His uncle, Baron Walter von Richthofen, was a native of Silesia. Richthofen had come to Denver (Colorado, USA) in 1877 after the Franco-Prussian War, started the Denver Chamber of Commerce, and was celebrated locally as the founder of Montclair as "a fount of health and prosperity, and as a model community with enlightened planning and sophisticated architecture." His Richthofen Castle was one of the most sumptuous mansions in the American West. Begun in 1883 and completed in 1887, it was modeled on the original Richthofen Castle in Germany. Located immediately around the Castle are the Baron's mistress's house and his sanitarium/dairy.

He is also the 10th cousin, 6 times removed of Prince Felipe of Spain.
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Friedrich Nietzsche and Ludwig van Beethoven, of course. Nietzsche is a greatest Germans philosopher. Is Carl Friedrich Gauss a mathematician?
Albert Einstein by far! Not only from Germany but perhaps one of the greatest people who have ever lived. His scientific output is immesurable in changing our world.
I thought Albert Einstein was Jew.
lol, yeah, we can call him Jewish-German-Swiss-American. Overall as long as he had German citizenship at one point, Germany can claim him too, I guess.
Even Copernicus could be listed here, though he had polish citizenship, but he's mother was German, and we know that Copernicus spoke German fluently.
Many excellent brains are mixture of nations, cultures and races.
Manfred von Richthofen is an impressive figure but as far as German aces go Erich Hartmann is even more impressive.
I thought Albert Einstein was Jew.

No, how is it possible that you never heard the groundbreaking news. Einstein was an alien from Mars.


My great-grandmother's 5th cousin was indeed a Jew. Ironic isn't how Hitler, for all his pro-Aryan garbage, was likewise at least partially Jewish. However, if you really don't that know much about German history, Jews have been in Germany for centuries upon centuries. Even when they were expelled from the country a number of those whose social standing was better than laborer or pauper [essentially those who would lose more by leaving] remained. The word Ashkenazi literally means Jews of Germans.
I thought Albert Einstein was Jew.

No, how is it possible that you never heard the groundbreaking news. Einstein was an alien from Mars.


My great-grandmother's 5th cousin was indeed a Jew. Ironic isn't how Hitler, for all his pro-Aryan garbage, was likewise at least partially Jewish. However, if you really don't that know much about German history, Jews have been in Germany for centuries upon centuries. Even when they were expelled from the country a number of those whose social standing was better than laborer or pauper [essentially those who would lose more by leaving] remained. The word Ashkenazi literally means Jews of Germans.

Albert Einstein was yes practicing the Jewish faith, however he was born in the Kingdom of Wurrtenberg in the former Southern German Empire before immigrating to America.

Werner Heisenberg who drove Einstein crazy! His quantum theory was so advanced for its time, as Einstein thought that was a joke! He thought the theory was fine but it was not based on reality! We all know how hard he( Einstain) tried to discredit the theory. His closesed confidants warned Einstein that he was discrediting himself if he kept doing that.
The band Rammstein
The guys from Kraftwerk or whoever invented the soft pretzel would get my vote.
I voted Planck, but honestly remembered that the books of Erich Maria Remark shaped me much more:
3 friends, nothing new from the western front, arc of triumph. Some german friends did not even knew his name.

Marlene was also cool.
Gutenberg, he changed the world.

"Modern Book Printing" − sculpture commemorating its inventor Gutenberg.

Also, i want add the name of another great German who is not in the list, Helmut Kohl. He died few days ago.
I voted Planck, but honestly remembered that the books of Erich Maria Remark shaped me much more:
3 friends, nothing new from the western front, arc of triumph. Some german friends did not even knew his name.

Marlene was also cool.

Now there's another depressing thought. So many people are sort of illiterate nowadays. University has for a lot of people just turned into a trade school of one sort or another.
Goethe, 'nuff said.
Now there's another depressing thought. So many people are sort of illiterate nowadays. University has for a lot of people just turned into a trade school of one sort or another.

In what way? And why should a computer science student need to know about this Erich Maria Remark dude ;)? Never heard of the guy, lol (and I take pride in that).
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