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Welcome to Britlink a site covering topics of personal interest from around the globe:

The United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands.
Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world.
The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom’s 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq miles) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world’s longest-serving current head of state. The United Kingdom’s capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major cities include Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool.

The United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution.
The nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation.
The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed almost a quarter of the world’s landmass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language, culture and political systems of many of its former colonies.


British Overseas Territorie

The British Overseas Territories (BOTs) or United Kingdom Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are 14 territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They are remnants of the British Empire that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories. These territories do not form part of the United Kingdom and, with the exception of Gibraltar, are not part of the European Union. Most of the permanently inhabited territories are internally self-governing, with the UK retaining responsibility for defence and foreign relations. Three are inhabited only by a transitory population of military or scientific personnel. They all share the British monarch (Elizabeth II) as head of state.

As of April 2018 the Minister responsible for the Territories excluding the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar and the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus, is the Minister of State for the Commonwealth and the UN. The other three territories are the responsibility of the Minister of State for Europe and the Americas.

The term “British Overseas Territory” was introduced by the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, replacing the term British Dependent Territory, introduced by the British Nationality Act 1981. Prior to 1 January 1983, the territories were officially referred to as British Crown Colonies.

Although the Crown dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man are also under the sovereignty of the British monarch, they are in a different constitutional relationship with the United Kingdom. The British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are themselves distinct from the Commonwealth realms, a group of 16 independent countries (including the United Kingdom) each having Elizabeth II as their reigning monarch, and from the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 53 countries mostly with historic links to the British Empire (which also includes all Commonwealth realms).


The Fahrerbunker

The Fahrerbunker (driver’s bunker) was very close to the Fiihrerbunker and served as accommodation and bedroom for Hitler’s SS escort (Leibstandarte) command at the end of the war.
Also stored here were various stocks of ammunition. Connected to this bunker was also the “underground car park”, which housed Hitler’s transport fleet.

The bunker had been built in 1941 for the drivers and other members of Hitler’s Leibstandarte. It was rediscovered only in the ammunition search before a big concert for the Pink Floyd album “The Wall” at the Berlin Wall. What was revealed during subsequent excavations reveals what must have happened in the last days of the Third Reich.

In addition to weapons, cutlery and uniform were found along with empty bottles of alcohol and wine. The most striking feature of this bunker was the Nazi paintings on the walls (Wandmalerein). Dog tags, cartridges and beds were also discovered in the bunker.
The Fahrerbunker consists of eight rooms used to house members of the elite Leibstandarte.

Archaeologist Karin Wagner wanted to have the Fahrebunker situated on the corner of on the Ebertstraße and Voßstraße protected as a historical monument.
The 10 x 30-meter bunker which extends to a depth of eight meters has now become part of the foundation of a federal state-building in Berlin. The bunker’s walls consist of 1.80 meter thick concrete slabs with a height of 1.5 meters.

The wall murals in the Fahrerbunker, which are all situated in the central office room of the bunker were probably created in 1941, the author of the paintings is unknown.
However, it is believed that he himself belonged to the SS. The depictions show different idealised scenes with corresponding symbolism from different spheres of life of the SS and glorify them as protectors of the people. It is amazing how all these wall mural paintings have survived after all these decades.



The Reich Chancellery (Reichskanzlei) was the name of the office of the Chancellor of Germany (then called Reichskanzler) in the period of the German Reich from 1878 to 1945.
The Chancellery’s seat, selected and prepared since 1875, was
the former city palace of Prince Antoni Radziwiłł (1775–1833) on Wilhelmstraße in Berlin. Both the palace and a new Reich Chancellery building (completed in early 1939) were seriously damaged during World War II and subsequently demolished.

For almost twenty years the Palais Radziwiłł/Palais Schulenburg played host to regular visits from well-known personalities, artists and academics.
These included such famous people as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Frederic Chopin, Wilhelm, and Alexander von Humboldt, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Indeed the “Salons” held by the Radziwiłłs was so popular that they became a symbol of “Polish Berlin”.

The Radziwiłł family lived in their palace for a further three generations until it became too small. In 1875 the residence was sold to the German Reich. From now on Wilhelmstrasse 77 would be the new home of the Reich Chancellor.

In 1933 the National Socialists moved into the Palace. The final destiny of the building was sealed by its last tenant, Adolf Hitler, who used the Palace as a private residence after the new Reich Chancellery was completed in Voßstrasse. When the Red Army marched into Berlin in 1945 the palace was so heavily damaged that it had to be demolished in 1949.

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