Coburg is a small Franconian town on the state border between Bavaria (Bayern) and Thuringia (Thüringen) rich in history and cultural tradition. When, following the First World War, Imperial Germany became a Republic on 1 July 1920, Coburg as an independent Duchy came to an end when its ruling prince, Karl Eduard, abdicated.
The people faced a choice. Should they, a tiny city state, retain their old connections with Gotha, or should they become a part of Bavaria? They voted for Bavaria and without knowing it guaranteed their liberty as part of the future West Germany when the German Reich was partitioned following the defeat of the Second World War. For if they had decided to stay with Thuringia, the town would have passed to Communist East Germany.
Indeed, Coburg was to play a noble rôle helping absorb so many refugees streaming from the Oder-Neisse territories (conquered and absorbed by Poland and Russia) and through the Soviet Zone of Germany (the future 'East Germany') in their bid for freedom from communist tyranny. 15,000 expellees from the East swelled the extant population of 30,000, forever altering the character of the town. By flooding West Germany with millions of refugees forced from their homes in the seized eastern Territories, the communist dictator, Stalin, hoped to start a civil war and in the confusion create the conditions for further revolution and thus extend the borders of communism even further westwards. He failed, and cities, towns, and villages like Coburg played their rôle in winning the first round of the Cold War.