The Bridge at Remagen

Remains of the bridge at Remagen and Museum of Peace. Photo: TES.

The bridge at Remagen, built during World War I from 1916 to 1918 in order to supply German troops at the Western Front and named after Army Quarter Master General Erich Ludendorff, was scarcely used afterwards, but became world famous when American soldiers took the bridge by surprise on 7 March 1945. The Memorial to Peace Museum (Friedensmuseum Brücke von Remagen, is dedicated to this fateful event, that shortened the war considerably.
The strategic important location of the city came not out of the blue however. The Roman army had already recognized its relevance in the first century AD and founded a military fortress and settlement, called Rigomagus, connecting Cologne (Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium), Koblenz (Confluentes, that means in the rivers Rhine and Meuse)  Bonn (Bonna) and Andernach (Antunnacum). The Rhine became the frontier (Limes) of the Roman Empire after 260 AD, when German tribes pushed the Romans back from the territories they hold on the right bank of the Rhine since the first century AD. The German tribes crossed the Rhine in the centuries to come however and invaded the Roman provinces on the left bank of the Rhine. The city experienced various other empires afterwards, the Carolingian Empire (800-843), the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation (first empire 962-1806), the German Empire (second empire 1871-1918) and the Third Empire (1933-1945) to be occupied finally by soldiers from far away in 1945 and becoming a part of the German Federal Republic soon afterwards in 1949. The bridge only experienced two empires, but its memorial and significance are longlasting.