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For Mainz in Classical antiquity, See Roman Mainz.
For Mainz in the Middle Ages, See Medieval Mainz.

Mainz (German: [ˈmaɪnts]; English: /ˈmaɪnts/; French: Mayence, IPA: [majɑ̃s]; Yiddish: מגנצא, IPA: [maɡentsɑ]; Italian: Magonza, IPA: [ma'gontsa]) is a city in Germany and the capital of the German federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It was a politically important seat of the Prince-elector of Mainz (see: Archbishopric of Mainz) under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. Mainz is located on the river Rhine across from Wiesbaden, in the western part of the Frankfurt Rhine-Main Region; in the modern age, Frankfurt shares much of its regional importance.

Mainz is a city with over two thousand years of history. The first European books printed using movable type were manufactured in Mainz by Gutenberg in the early 1450s. Up until the twentieth century, Mainz was usually referred to in English as Mayence.

Modern MainzEdit

Republic of MainzEdit

During the French Revolution, the French Revolutionary army occupied Mainz in 1792; the Archbishop of Mainz, Friedrich Karl Josef von Erthal, had already fled to Aschaffenburg by the time the French marched in. On 18 March 1793, the Jacobins of Mainz, with other German democrats from about 130 towns in the Rhenish Palatinate, proclaimed the ‘Republic of Mainz’. Led by Georg Forster representatives of the Mainz Republic in Paris requested political affiliation of the Mainz Republic with France, but too late: As Prussia was not entirely happy with the idea of a democratic free state on German soil, Prussian troops had already occupied the area and besieged Mainz by the end of March, 1793. After a siege of 18 weeks, the French troops in Mainz surrendered on 23 July 1793; Prussians occupied the city and ended the Republic of Mainz. It came to the Battle of Mainz in 1795 between Austria and France. Members of the Mainz Jacobin Club were mistreated or imprisoned and punished for treason.

In 1797, the French returned. The army of Napoléon Bonaparte occupied the German territory to the west of the Rhine river, and the Treaty of Campo Formio awarded France this entire area. On 17 February 1800, the French Département du Mont-Tonnerre was founded here, with Mainz as its capital, the Rhine river being the new eastern frontier of la Grande Nation. Austria and Prussia could not but approve this new border with France in 1801. However, after several defeats in Europe during the next years, the weakened Napoléon and his troops had to leave Mainz in May 1814.

German ConfederationEdit

In 1816, the part of the former French Département which is known today as Rhenish Hesse (German: Rheinhessen) was awarded to the Hesse-Darmstadt, Mainz being the capital of the new Hessian province of Rhenish Hesse. From 1816 to 1866, to the German Confederation Mainz was the most important fortress in the defence against France, and had a strong garrison of Austrian and Prussian troops.

In the afternoon of 18 November 1857, a huge explosion rocked Mainz when the city's powder magazine, the Pulverturm, exploded. Approximately 150 people were killed and at least 500 injured; 57 buildings were destroyed and a similar number severely damaged in what was to be known as the Powder Tower Explosion or Powder Explosion.

During the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Mainz was declared a neutral zone. After the founding of the German Empire in 1871, Mainz no longer was as important a stronghold, because in the war of 1870/71 France had lost the territory of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany, and this defined the new border between the two countries.

Industrial expansionEdit

EnlargeMainz towards the Rhine river (around 1890)For centuries the inhabitants of the fortress of Mainz had suffered from a severe shortage of space which led to disease and other inconveniences. In 1872 Mayor Carl Wallau and the council of Mainz persuaded the military government to sign a contract to expand the city. Beginning in 1874, the city of Mainz assimilated the Gartenfeld, an idyllic area of meadows and fields along the banks of the Rhine River to the north of the rampart. The city expansion more than doubled the urban area which allowed Mainz to participate in the industrial revolution which had previously avoided the city for decades.

Eduard Kreyßig was the man who made this happen. Having been the master builder of the city of Mainz since 1865, Kreyßig had the vision for the new part of town, the Mainz Neustadt. He also planned the first sewer system for the old part of town since Roman times and persuaded the city government to relocate the railway line from the Rhine side to the west end of the town. The main station was built from 1882 to 1884 according to the plans of Philipp Johann Berdellé (1838–1903). EnlargeMainz including expansion zone the Rhine river (1898)The Mainz master builder constructed a number of state-of-the-art public buildings, including the Mainz town hall — which was the largest of its kind in Germany at that time — as well a synagogue, the Rhine harbour and a number of public baths and school buildings. Kreyßig's last work was Christ Church (Christuskirche), the largest Protestant church in the city and the first building constructed solely for the use of a Protestant congregation.

[[[Mainz|edit]]] In the 20th centuryEdit

After World War I the French occupied Mainz between 1919 and 1930 according to the Treaty of Versailles which went into effect 28 June 1919. The Rhineland (in which Mainz is located) was to be a demilitarized zone until 1935 and the French garrison, representing the Triple Entente, was to stay until reparations were paid.

In 1923 Mainz participated in the Rhineland separatist movement that proclaimed a republic in the Rhineland. It collapsed in 1924. The French withdrew on 30 June 1930. Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January, 1933 and his political opponents, especially those of the Social Democratic Party, were either incarcerated or murdered. Some were able to move away from Mainz in time. One was the political organizer for the SPD, Friedrich Kellner, who went to Laubach, where as the chief justice inspector of the district court he continued his opposition against the Nazis by recording their misdeeds in a 900-page diary.

In March, 1933, a detachment from the National Socialist Party in Worms brought the party to Mainz. They hoisted the swastika on all public buildings and began to denounce the Jewish population in the newspapers. In 1936 the forces of the Third Reich reentered the Rhineland with a great fanfare, the first move of the Third Reich's meteoric expansion. The former Triple Entente took no action.

During World War II the citadel at Mainz hosted the Oflag XII-B prisoner of war camp.

The Bishop of Mainz formed an organization to help Jews escape from Germany.

During World War II, more than 30 air raids destroyed about 80 percent of Mainz city centre, including most of the historic buildings. Mainz fell to XII Corps, 90th Division, of the Third Army under the command of General George S. Patton, Jr. on 22 March 1945. Patton used the ancient strategic gateway through Germania Superior to cross the Rhine south of Mainz, drive down the Danube towards Czechoslovakia and end the possibility of a Bavarian redoubt crossing the Alps in Austria when the war ended. With regard to the Roman road over which Patton attacked Trier, he said:[6] one could almost smell the coppery sweat and see the low dust clouds where those stark fighters moved forward into battle. From 1945 to 1949, the city was part of the French zone of occupation. When the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate was founded on 30 August 1946 by the commander of the French army on the French occupation zone Marie Pierre Kœnig, Mainz became capital of the new state.[7] In 1962, the diarist, Friedrich Kellner, returned to spend his last years in Mainz. His life in Mainz, and the impact of his writings, is the subject of the Canadian documentary My Opposition: The Diaries of Friedrich Kellner.

Following the withdrawal of French forces from Mainz, the United States Army Europe occupied the military bases in Mainz. Today USAREUR only occupies McCulley Barracks in Wackernheim and the Mainz Sand Dunes for training area. Mainz is home to the headquarters of the Bundeswehr's Wehrbereichskommando II and other units. e here!


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