Statue of Liberty, New York

Empires (1871-1914)

Part 4 takes place in Gilded Age America and the aspiring German Empire. It is the time of imperialism, of “world policemen” and world empires Tensions rise between the nations, but none wants to back down.

Bergmann vineyard 1872

A voyage home

[Rhineland, 1872] Having achieved their aims, Emperor Wilhelm I and Bismarck were milder on the Forty-Eighters. The Prussian authorities granted pardon to Lorenz, and he could finally come for a visit home.

Merry Dragon, Harvey, Susan

Uncle Harvey

[America, around 1877] After the Civil War, more and more settlers moved to the West, throughout the prairies and the west new cities came into being, railroads and stagecoaches opened up the West.

Carl Schurz during the Lincoln County War

Carl Schurz, the statesman

[America, around 1870/80] Carl Schurz, the German revolutionary of 1848/49, loved his new homeland. After the Civil War, he moved to St. Louis, and in 1869 he was elected to the US Senate for Missouri.

Margarethenhof, Siebengebirge

News from Bismarck’s Germany

[Germany, around 1880] Germany was united, and a deeply felt wish of many people had been fulfilled. However, with 10 million Austrian Germans outside, Prussia’s dominance was overwhelming.

Belle Époque, Königswinter

Old fatherland and new

[Germany and America, around 1890] The year 1888 saw three Emperors: Wilhelm I died in March, and his son Friedrich III died 99 days later. So the young Kaiser Wilhelm II got on the throne.

Steamer Aimée, Rhine and Königswinter

Memories of Germany

[Rhineland, 1893/94] A few weeks later, Lorenz and Annelie were on board of a huge ocean steamer from America to Germany, to visit Lorenz’ old homeland and their relatives and friends on the Rhine.

Colonial goods shop at Limbach Stübchen

Colonial goods shop

[Rhine Province, ca. 1906/1907] In the “Limbach-Stübchen” Jakob also offered colonial goods. In the guest room, Jakob also served cocoa and coffee. Often the neighboring children did their schoolwork here.

Snobs dining

Snobbery and caste spirit

[Rhineland, around 1893/94]  1893 was a happy year. Sophie’s aged parents Anni and Jean were doing well. Jakob ran the “Stübchen” for them. Lorenz Bergmann came to visit from the USA with his wife Annelie.

Ellis Island

Lady Liberty and Ellis Island

[America, 1895] Two years after Lorenz’ and Annelies visit, Sophie’s dream had come true. With her daughter Lottie and her son-in-law Matthias she stood at the southern tip of Manhattan, looking out over the Atlantic.

Kaiser Wilhelm, New Palace, Potsdam, Imperial fleet


[USA and Europe, around 1910]  For generations, the Bergmanns in America and on the Rhine had always kept closely in touch. But as the powers set out to divide the world among them, the world grew colder.


Fatal shots in Sarajevo

[Austria-Hungary, 1914] In the East, the Balkans were a “powder keg” that could explode any time. Serbia was very proud and ambitious – a disturbing neighbor to the Habsburg empire Austria-Hungary.