The Centennial Celebration
of The Regiment (1-3 July, 1913)
Perhaps three thousand old Winterfeldter, among them many veterans of 1866 and 1870/71, were drawn from near and far to the celebration festival. The old garrison shone in rich flag decorations.
The celebration was opened on the afternoon of July 1st, through the presentation in the state theater of a commemorative play written by Major Kremski. In the evening there was both a welcoming and mens' evening in the Officers mess, and a beer evening of the of the companies together with their guests. After a march through the city ended in front of the Officers' mess, a keg tapping on the Wilhelmsplatz ended the festivities of the first day.
Big events led off the festival program on July 2nd. Solemn church services in the evangelical church led by division chaplin Schmidt and in the Catholic Church led by Suffragan Bishop Augustin , an old Winterfeldter who took part in the 1870/71 campaign as a one-year volunteer, led to the unveiling, in the front part of the Luisenplatz, of the stone Winterfeldt memorial to fallen members of the Regiment in the War of Liberation , 1866, and 1870/71, that the regiment's Breslau veteran's union had donated. After the unveiling, the Color company returned to parade on the Wilhelmsplatz. The regiment then arranged itself in open square. Numerous Generals were present: Among them the former commanding general of the VI. AK, Gen. d. Inf. v. Woyrsch, the commanding Gen. d. Inf. v. Pritzelwitz, the Div. Commander Generallt. Chales de Beaulieu, and the Brigade Commander Generalmajor Boëß.
To the very great pleasure of the Officer corps, the family von Winterfeldt was represented, by government advisor von Winterfeldt and Lt. von Winterfeldt in Uhlan Regt. "von Schmidt" Nr. 4. After them came the grandson of the commander who led the 11th Res. Regt. from victory to victory from 1813-1815, Rittm. von Schwichow von Lieb-Kürrasier Regt. Nr. 1.
The regimental commander, Oberst Seydel, addressed to the head of the old Winterfeldter words of greeting and thanks. In short strokes, he then illuminated the entire renowned history of the Regiment von Winterfeldt, given from the knowledge of the investing of the (secular) band on the Flag, and ending with a hoch for his Majesty.
The commanding general followed him with an inspired speech, but three cheers for the celebrated Regiment broke out, resulting in the Parade march of the regiment in company front being halted in place. Ending the Jubalee day, commemorative feasts were held in the State House and other assorted locations.
An honored conclusion was given to the centennial by a sport festival on the 3rd of July, held on the island behind Kaserne 4.
The year 1913 also brought the return of the Imperial Manuvers to the VI. AK, after a seven year abscence. On August 29, the 23rd stood in parade on Breslau's Gandauer Exerzier Platz. The Kaiser, who had stood in review of the Silesian Army Corps' two parade marches, in company front and regimental column, rode their front. The great manuver was held under the eyes of the Kaiser, against the breakthrough part of the II., the Royal Saxon XII. corps, reinforced by the V. A.K., standing in the region between Streigau and Reichenbach. (The regiment also obtained here the complete satisfaction of its all-highest war lord.)
The early part of the year 1914 found the unit at apparent rest, as the year entered into its' run. The further training of the Regiment came early in this year. Training in moderate (range? ed.) combat shooting and battalion training began at the Lamsdorf training center had already began in April, and came to a conclusion with an inspection by the commanding general. In June, the brigade practiced moderate combat shooting, regimental, and brigade drill at the Neuhammer training center. Everyone took their old, regular course. No dark little clouds dimmed the political horizon. No-one took shelter because of a risk of war.
Then, suddenly, a bolt of lightning from high heaven! The bloody deed of Sarajevo! On the 28th of June, the Austro-Hungarian heir to the throne, Grand Duke Franz Ferdinand fell victim to an assassin's bullet, together with his consort. The threatening storms stood with a strong stand over Europe for the last year. It should never again twist itself so. The political (manuvering) set to between Austria and Serbia, with Russia propping up the Serbs, acting in its role as pan-slavic leader. So then, the Austrian ulitmatum meant war. On the 25th of July began the state of war between the Danube monarchy and Serbia. Then, early on the next day, ordered Russia the "war preparation" period, on the 29th a partial mobilization against Austria-Hungary, and then, on the 30th, full mobilization.
Therefore, for Germany, the decision had come in the blink of an eye. Doubt it not! Germany must hold out to its allies the Niebelungen-Loyalty. The 62nd Regiment returned quickly from securing the border against Russia. An abbreviated regimental review before the brigade commander, Gen. Major v. d. Heyde, ended the exercise, and early on the following morning the Battalions drove back toward Neisse.
On the way, it saw right warlike preparations underway. The train crew was composed of Landsturm members in civilian clothes with armbands, and the train stations were occupied with active troops. Overall, where ever you could glance, you would register life and would know genuine fatherlandly sentiment. The picture of their entry at the march into Neisse through the friendly welcoming of the citizenry became quite a rousing one.
And now began the work in the barracks. Despite everyone's love of peace, the Kaiser could not avoid the war any longer. Above all, not between Austria and Serbia. Should the Danube monarchy be hit with any Guilt? Must she not demand the farthest reaching atonement for the murder of the heir to the throne and his wife? But the true grounds for the war lay much deeper. Russia wanted the war, to exploit the Bosporus situation, and France wanted the war, to once more come over the Rhine, after the (to them) short time that their ravaging, out-stretched, hands had not been able to over the Centuries.
And it came, what must come!
On the 1st of August, at 5:00 in the afternoon, followed the declaration of war of Germany against Russia. At 4:30 France had ordered preparation for mobilization, and at 5:00 Germany answered with its mobilization, and on the 3rd declared war against France. On the 4th, German troops moved into Luxembourg and Belgium, which had already mobilized.
Now stepped the "perfidious" Albion with their declaration of war on the side of the enemies of Germany. Now they revealed the true picture, that Germany was in the death struggle of a robbers ambush, placed there by the hands of invinceable business rivals. Now the encirclement politics of England, that they began and followed through to their objective over 40 years, were at their objective. Now England hoped, that the German Empire, that in the last 40 years, namely the quarter-century of the peaceful reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II, had increased economical efficiancy, and exeeded the skillful hopes of an imperial people, could be struck from the list of the great.
So the War became inevitable, that was a struggle of silver and gold against idealism, a war of the kings of money against the last army king.
On July 31, the Regiment had already recieved the order to "Prepare to move to the Defense", and entered into the state of "Menacing Danger of War", which brought the Battalions together at 3:30 in the afternoon. This was accomplished without particular wrenching questions and without heavy difficulty for all this had been forseen, in the solemn work of the Mobilization countdown calender.