On our last morning in Berlin I ran a 5K to the Victory Column through the Tiergarten. The Victory Column, much like the rest of the historical sites here in Berlin and Paris, is tied deeply to the longstanding animosity between the French and the Germans.
designed in 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War, by the time it was inaugurated on 2 September 1873, Prussia had also defeated Austria and its German allies in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) and France in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), giving the statue a new purpose. Different from the original plans, these later victories in the so-called unification wars inspired the addition of the bronze sculpture of Victoria, 8.3 metres (27 ft) high and weighing 35 tonnes, designed by Friedrich Drake.
So to recap, they started building a monument to their victory in one war; and by the time they were done with construction they had defeated the Austrians and the French in two additional wars. For good measure they used captured cannons from all three wars, covered them in gold leaf and added them as decoration.
From more recent times you can see various shell damage to the outside of the monument from the Second World War. After the surrender of Germany, the French Army raised the Tricolor on the top of the tower and removed the various plaques from the base. The French occupying force were prevented from tearing down the monument by the other allies. The plaques were not returned for several decades and many pieces were lost/broken over the years.
I’m sensing a theme here.