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Ulm(o͝olm), city (1994 pop. 114,839), Baden-Württemberg, S Germany, on the Danube (Donau) River. It is an active river port, rail junction, and industrial center. Manufactures include motor vehicles, machinery, electrical equipment, and diversified, light manufacturing. Known in 854, Ulm became (14th cent.) a free imperial city in Swabia and ruled a considerable territory N of the Danube. It was one of the greatest commercial centers and one of the most powerful cities of the medieval empire, reaching its zenith in the 15th cent. Changes in international trade routes during the 15th and 16th cent. and the religious wars in Germany (e.g., the Thirty Years War, 1618–48) caused its decline. Ulm accepted the Reformation c.1530 and was a member of the Schmalkaldic League. The city and its territory were awarded to Bavaria in 1803 at the Diet of Regensburg, but were transferred to Württemberg in 1810. Bavaria built Neu-Ulm on the opposite shore of the Danube, which forms the state boundary there. The industrial development of Ulm dates from the 19th cent. In World War II more than half of the city, including many old and historic buildings, was destroyed; most of the major historic buildings have since been restored. The famous Gothic minster, begun in 1377, is the largest Gothic church in Germany after the Cologne Cathedral and has one of the world's highest church towers (528 ft/161 m). The city has a university and several museums. Albert Einstein was born (1879) in Ulm.
a city and river port in the Federal Republic of Germany, in the Land of Baden-Württemberg; situated on the Danube River near the influx of the Blau and Iller rivers. Population, 92,900 (1974). Ulm, a major railroad junction, is an industrial city. It produces transportation and other machinery, electrical and radio equipment, textiles, and garments. There is also a local printing industry. The city has several important museums. Ulm has close commercial links with the neighboring city of Neu-Ulm.
First mentioned in 854, Ulm emerged as an important trading center during the Middle Ages and in the 12th century was accorded the rights of a free imperial city. In the second half of the 14th century, it headed the cities of the Swabian League. A center of the Reformation in the 16th century, Ulm suffered a serious economic decline after the Thirty Years’ War (1618-48).
In 1805, during the War of the Third Coalition, a battle between the French army and the Austrian army took place near Ulm. The Austrian army of Archduke Ferdinand, which consisted of 80,000 men under the direct command of Field Marshal K. Mack von Leiberich, had invaded Bavaria and by September 22 had established a wide front along the Danube and Iller rivers. The army’s main forces, totaling 46,000 troops, were positioned near Ulm; a detachment of 20,000 men under General M. Kienmayer and another of 14,000 men under Lieutenant Field Marshal F. Jelaèié were deployed on the right and left wings, respectively.
On September 25 and 26, the French army of Napoleon I, consisting of 220,000 men, crossed the Rhine. After pinning down the Austrian army at the front, Napoleon turned his main forces toward the enemy’s right flank with the object of encircling it, having misled Mack with regard to the direction of his main attack. On October 6, 7, and 8, the French forces, joined by two Bavarian divisions, crossed over the Danube into the Donau-worth-Ingolstadt sector, driving back Kienmayer’s army toward Munich and inflicting heavy casualties on the Austrians. Thereafter, the main body of the French army (composed of four corps and J. Murat’s cavalry), after moving two corps and the Bavarian detachments toward Munich to meet the approaching Russian army, continued its advance to Ulm.
On October 10, 11, and 12, Mack made a belated and indecisive attempt to break through to Bohemia, but without success. On October 14 and 15 the French encircled the Austrians at Ulm and on October 16 began a bombardment of the city. On October 17, Mack notified the French of his decision to capitulate. The capitulation officially took place in Ulm on October 20, as 23,000 Austrian troops surrendered, relinquishing to the enemy 59 of their cannon. Altogether, the Austrians lost 50,000 men, compared with the 6,000 lost by the French. The destruction of the Austrian army seriously weakened the Allied forces—its immediate effect was to compel the Russian army, under M. I. Kutuzov, to retreat—and eventually contributed to the general defeat of the anti-French coalition.
Ulm today contains several noteworthy architectural monuments. Among them are a Gothic cathedral, built between 1377 and 1529; the Town Hall, begun in the 14th century and completed in the 16th century; the Kornhaus (1594, architects K. Schmied and G. Buchmüller), a Renaissance building intended for the storage of grain; and the Schwôrhaus (1610-12), in which local officials took their oaths. There are also numerous burgher residences of the 16th and 17th centuries. An example of modern architecture is the functional building that formerly housed the Hochschule für Gestaltung (1953-55, architect M. Bill). In the village of Wiblingen, near Ulm, stands a Benedictine monastery with a baroque church (1772-81, architect J. G. Specht).