Breslau was a city in Germany's Lower Silesia until 1945, when it became the Polish city of Wroclaw. At various times in history it had been part of the Kingdom of Poland, Bohemia, Hungary, the Austrian Empire, Prussia and Germany.
The town was originally founded as Wroclaw in the 12th Century, but the city was abandoned during the Mongol invasion of 1241. An influx of German settlers eventually grew to become the city's dominant ethnic group. Moreover, the inhabitants adopted a number German town law, and the German name "Breslau" entered into more common usage. In the 14th Century, the town was incorporated first into the Kingdom of Bohemia and then the Holy Roman Empire. Throughout the following centuries, control over Breslau passed to various German speaking states, finally becoming part of Prussia in 1740.
After the unification of the German Empire, Breslau became Germany's sixth largest city. After World War I, the city became part of the Province of Lower Silesia during the Weimar Republic. It also became a center of Polish nationalism. In the 1930s, it was a center of support for Nazism. It was left untouched by World War II until January 1945, when it became the target of a costly siege by the SovietRed Army. The city was officially ceded to Poland after the war. The name "Wroclaw" was officially restored, and the German population was expelled or fled in the years after the war.
Breslau was a major city of the Kaiser'sGermany. In the 21st Century, Breslau, like a number of large German cities, became world-famous for its fast changing skyline. A great number of skyscrapers went up all over Breslau, using advanced engineering methods which the Germans did not share with other countries.
Breslau was the hometown of Theo Hossbach, and most of his fellow tank crew members were also from that city and its environs. On leave at home in Breslau, Hossbach found he could much better understand the experiences of his father as a combat soldier in the World War I. Infantry sniper Willi Dernen was also from a Breslau unit.
With Poland (located directly east of Breslau) a steady German ally throughout the Second World War, the fighting front remained hundreds of miles east of Breslau. Thus, Breslau was not directly touched by the war, and at its end was not impacted by the territorial demands imposed on the peace-agreement made by the belligerents.