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Here is a YouTube clip of the German Army marching band playing old Prussian marches in Red Square, of all places, to much applause.

These are among the very same marches that would have been played in Red Square, had Operation Barbarossa succeeded during WW2!  :O

3 Answers


O'Tink, the marching is beautiful...and your point about the Red Square location is quite intriguing...and after your clip ended, this one below came up; apparently, from the notes, Chile began to emulate the Prussian militaristic tradition as early as 1886, still carried on today in 2016. The soldiers are so beautiful, so flawless, even the goose-stepping.

I recall in 1953, the school teacher had to stop playing John Philip Sousa marches in our class. One of the children would begin to cry, great distress. I am not sure what was going on, I was too young to comprehend. But this little girl's name was Edith Wilhelm, Germanic as I now recognize, and I just wonder what associations the magnificent marches brought up for her.

In the Richard J. Evans book on the rise of the Third Reich, I noted the very strong attachment to the kaiser and the militaristic tradition, where the military was essentially an independent entity, answering only to the Kaiser. And that tradition was extremely difficult to change in the wake of the WWI defeat.

The marching itself is exquisitely beautiful, but oh it does come with lots of baggage.

TheOtherTink Virginia

@ Virginia,

Yes, that's the paradox.  Military parades and marches are beautiful and stirring, but they obscure the horrors of warfare.  I'm reminded of a Union officer's reminiscence of Pickett's charge at Gettysburg, as the Confederates started marching across the field toward Cemetery Ridge, banners flying: "It was the most beautiful thing I ever saw."  I hope he didn't mean what happened only minutes later, thousands of men killed, torn to pieces by cannon, canister and musket fire.  :'(

And the little girl you remember.  I don't know what it was about the Sousa marches that caused her to cry. She was too young to remember WW2, but maybe her Dad was sent to Korea, and maybe she saw him off as a band was playing, and maybe he never returned.  :'( :'(

I better stop, I'm making myself cry.

Virginia Virginia

A tear or two here also, O'Tink... The Union officer's memory, so very poignant.


Might have been a bit different in 1941! :D Very little left of Prussia now. Between Poland and Russia? Not much left. The Kaiser would roll in his grave if he saw today's maps.

TheOtherTink Rooster

@ Rooster,

Yep, the eastern parts of Prussia all went to Poland and Russia, and the western parts all became states in their own right within the German Federal Republic. All that's left of Prussia is the state of Brandenburg, and even that isn't called Prussia any more.



Are you sure that this is "Politically correct"? :D

TheOtherTink Hitman

No, it's not, Hitman.

That's why I was surprised that the Russians and the German government permitted it.  :O

Virginia Hitman

O'Tink, the rather surprising Russian/German event in Red Square...I hope it is just that ultimately, beauty prevails. Because that is magnificent, it is artistic.

TheOtherTink Hitman

Virginia, I was more surprised by their repertoire than by their presence in Red Square.

Here is another performance, with a distinctly milder choice of pieces (except the first one; maybe it's their standard entrance number?)  At 5:25, they even play a sentimental Scottish march.  :)

Virginia Hitman

Hmmm...I did stay for the 5:25 piece, and just a bit on from that, they were playing Schubert!

Okay, I think I see more what you mean about the repertoire...I was just assuming, "What else would the German Army marching band play, other than the marches from their Prussian heritage?"

I am visualizing some very careful consideration put into the playlist for such an event, in Red Square 72 years on after the devastating German defeat...perhaps even some consultation with the Russian hosts...how do you interpret the musical choices? I tend to see the inclusion of the historic Prussian marches as very positive sign, would you see it that way or if not how?

* * *

...and their music is absolutely lovely, btw, all of it...a joy to learn about them...I would even enjoy their rendering of "mary had a little lamb," or anything at all, I think...oh, and I noticed they did include the Prubens Gloria in this second event you posted...

TheOtherTink Hitman

Well, Virginia, the problem is that those particular marches (in my original clip) were among the Nazis' favorites. 

At least they didn't play the Badenweiler march, often said to have been Hitler's personal favorite.


Virginia Hitman

Tink, I went to the comments underneath those last YouTube postings...used the translator...and some of them are just creepy.

TheOtherTink Hitman

Yes indeed, Virginia, a lot of creepy types hang out at posts like that.

To his credit, one of the commenters said (in German), "What's the matter with you?!  Hitler almost cost Germany everything."

Virginia Hitman

Glad to know about that one...

O'Tink, I have friends in Germany, my age and maybe a bit older; they do remember the war and all that went on...anyway, every summer they pack up a guitar, picnics and all the family and kids, and they go to the old concentration camps. There, for an afternoon they eat and sing and play...just their way of helping to dissipate that old awful stuff, the healing power of laughter and love.

TheOtherTink Hitman

I've never been to one of the concentration camps, Virginia, and I must admit it would never have occurred to me to have a picnic at one.  I did see a wall that surrounded the grounds of of a synagogue in Frankfurt. On the wall were inscribed the names of thousands and thousands who had perished in concentration camps. I just stood there staring for about ten minutes, trying to hold back the tears.  Each of those names stood for a life cut brutally short.

Virginia Hitman

O'Tink, the concentration camp picnics are part of an approach to power that I and many of my friends take on as we get older...overcome evil with good, and hatred with love, and falsehood with truth.

We tend to see this kind of approach as the only power that lasts...so we may do strange things like dance and sing and play at places where horrible things have happened...

TheOtherTink Hitman

I dunno, Virginia... Maybe I'll change my mind someday, but right now I would feel I was being, or at least appearing, somehow disrespectful.