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Generation 1850-75

The Royal Drama of Ludwig II

Seemingly anachronistic, King Ludwig II is still entirely a child of his time: He dreams of absolute monarchy and loves harking back to rites such as those of the legendary Knights of Saint George. He avails himself of state-of-the-art technical inventions to “travel in time” to his alternative worlds. Bavaria loses its sovereignty during his reign, a traumatizing experience to him. The adept diplomat Bismarck coerces the politically inexperienced young king and his Bavarians into a war against France, which brings new destructiveness because of new weapons technology.

Although Bavaria wins the war, it loses its sovereignty. Many Bavarians only grudgingly become citizens of the militaristic new German Empire dominated by Prussia. Everything is supposed to be standardized. Bavaria is only able to retain a few reserved rights. After the empire has been founded, Ludwig II increasingly withdraws to his alternative worlds and from the public eye. Not until he dies mysteriously does he reappear in public and becomes world famous. Fascination with him persists to this day. The pocket watch worn by Ludwig II on the day of his death – stopped at 6:53 p.m. – will be on display at the museum.

Ludwig II’s gold pocket watch