[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheTeutonicKnights_6684.jpg]]
[-[[caption-width-right:300:[[http://www.g-rava.it/opere/medio_evo/55_La%20carica%20dei%20Teutonici%20al%20lago%20Peipus_eng.htm image]] by [[http://www.g-rava.it/ Giuseppe Rava]]]]-]

->''Throughout the history of the ''Deutschritter'' the [[GermanicEfficiency German genius]] is very evident, [[DichterAndDenker romantic idealism]] implemented with [[KnightTemplar utter ruthlessness]].''
-->--Desmond Seward, ''[[WarriorMonk The Monks of War]]''

The ''Deutsche Orden'' (Latin, ''Ordo domus Sanctæ Mariæ Theutonicorum Hierosolymitanorum'' (OT) or the "Order of the House of St. Mary of the Germans in Jerusalem") is a Roman Catholic and monastic religious order, more commonly known as "'''The Teutonic Knights'''." They are considered to be the ancestor for the popular set of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussian_virtues virtues]] known as ''GermanicEfficiency''. Traditionally founded ''c.'' 1190 A.D. by merchants from Bremen and Lübeck in Acre as a hospital service for Germans in the Holy Land, by 1198 it imitated the older crusading orders, the [[TheKnightsHospitallers Hospitallers]] and [[TheKnightsTemplar Templars]], in acquiring knightly brothers whose original mission was to protect pilgrims, but who soon expanded their activities to include military actions against Muslim enemies of the Crusading states. Like the Templars, whose rule they substantially adopted, they wore as their habit a white mantle with a cross, but a black rather than a red one. (It would be some time before the form was standardized into the ''Tatzenkreuz'' or "Cross patée" version borne today;)

After the decline of the Crusader States in [[TheHighMiddleAges the early thirteenth century]], they sought other fields of operation. Under the most important of the early Grand Masters ''Hochmeister'', literally "High Master"), Hermann von Salza (1209-1239), a [[TheSixteenLandsOfDeutschland Thuringian]] knight who was a favorite of both [[ThePope Pope Gregory IX]] and of the [[HolyRomanEmpire Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II]], the Order expanded first into the so-called ''Burzenland'' of Transylvania, and then, after their expulsion therefrom by the King of Hungary, into the Baltic area at the request of Conrad, Duke of Masovia, to crusade against the heathen ''Pruzzi'' (a people speaking a now-extinct language related to Lithuanian and Latvian) -- after Hermann had carefully made sure that all lands conquered by the Order were to be administered by it. This was the foundation of the so-called ''Ordensstaat'' (or "Order-state"). After the fall of Acre in 1291, the Grand Masters moved their residence first to Venice, and then in 1309 to the Marienburg (now ''Malbork'' in Poland).

The Livonian Brothers of the Sword were an originally unrelated crusading group, but were eventually absorbed into the Teutonic Knights as the Livonian Order. Consequently this article (like many others) tends to lump them in together, but an important distinction is that the Livonian Order ruled the northern territory of Latvia-Estonia, whereas the Teutonic Knights controlled East and West Prussia -- conquering Lithuania would have united the two. ThePope turned the Knights' attention to fighting not just the pagan Lithuanians, but also the Russian "schismatics" (hence their appearance as [[{{Expy}} stand-ins]] for the [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazis]] in Creator/SergeiEisenstein's ''Film/AlexanderNevsky'').

As the various Pruzzi tribes were conquered, the Order settled the land with German colonists, developing a powerful and sophisticated civilization outside the borders of the HolyRomanEmpire (though at least at first under nominal suzerainty of the Emperor), which was controlled wholly by the representative of the Order in each particular territory -- the ''Landmeister'') and gradually integrating the natives into it. After the conquest of Prussia had been completed, the Order expanded eastward, throughout [[TheLateMiddleAges the 14th and 15th centuries]] -- or at least tried to.

The very success of the Order brought about its downfall. Having substantially converted the heathen populace of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, they came into jurisdictional conflict with the now converted natives, particularly after 1386, when Jogaila, the leader of the Lithuanians, was baptized and became the Christian King Władysław Jagiello of Poland. Recriminations and open warfare between the Order and the Poles were the result, with the latter gradually gaining the upper hand. The defeat in the battle of Grunwald (German name: Tannenberg, 15 July, 1410) and a rebellion by the local nobility and cities aided by a Polish intervention (1455-1466) resulted in the Order sustaining large territorial losses and having to accept Polish suzerainty over the part of East Prussia they retained. Due to the loss of Marienburg, the Order had to move its residence to Königsberg (modern Kaliningrad).

The worst challenge to the Order, however, came with the Protestant Reformation. In 1525, the Grand Master, Albert I of the Brandenburg branch of the House of Hohenzollern, converted to Lutheranism and repudiated his vows and seized upon the lands of the Order, making himself the first Duke of {{Prussia}}. Many of the knightly brethren followed suit, while others remained faithful to Catholicism. The Grand Mastership thereafter reverted to the ''Landmaster'' within the Kingdom of Germany, who became known as the ''Hoch und Deutschmeister''. After the Hohenzollern dukes of Prussia became extinct in 1618, their title and lands were inherited by their cousins, the Margraves of Brandenburg, who went on to found the Kingdom of Prussia and eventually [[UsefulNotes/ImperialGermany the German Empire]].

The Teutonic Knights, who were actually an organization dedicated to conversion rather than colonization (even if they did mix the two together), were later appropriated by the most radical of German nationalists as representatives of the fabled ''Drang nach Osten'' ("Drive to the East"). (Note that in some older works, this is [[ValuesDissonance actually viewed as a positive characterization]].) This has led to the real Teutonic Knights, nasty people as they may have been, like most mediæval warriors, being subjected to a HistoricalVillainUpgrade or worse, as an example showing that AllGermansAreNazis. Ironically, despite the Nazis appropriating the Teutonic Order's symbols for its propaganda, the Order itself, which, by 1930s, was dedicated purely to peaceful endeavors, was violently suppressed during the Third Reich. It was reconstituted only with the defeat of the Nazis in 1945 and currently has about 1,000 members providing spiritual guidance and care for the physically infirm, mostly in German speaking lands.

----

!!Tropes Associated With The Teutonic Knights

* BadAss
** BadassArmy: Mostly played straight; membership of several [[LeeroyJenkins reckless idiots]] and [[DirtyCoward cowardly allies]] led to a few exceptions, and their most crushing defeats. However, they were one of the greatest epitomes of a [[MasterOfAll combined-arms force]], mixing the raw power of Western heavy troops with discipline not seen since the [[TheGloryThatWasRome Principate]].
** BadassBookworm: Overlaps with GeniusBruiser. Every single Brother Knight was expected to know how to read and write.
** BadassGrandpa: Some of their leaders would be in their 50s or 60s; due to training, physical condition, and discipline, they would still kick plenty of ass.
* BigBadassBattleSequence: The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grunwald Battle of Grunwald (a.k.a. Battle of Tannenberg)]] in 1410, in which the Teutonic Knights were defeated by the allied Poles and Lithuanians, was one of the largest battles of the European Middle Ages.
* ChurchMilitant: Among the trope codifiers.
* EliteArmy: Overlaps with BadassArmy. Due to their TrainingFromHell, observance of TheSpartanWay, [[ArmorOfInvincibility advanced armour of mail and later heavy plate]], [[AbsurdCuttingPower exceedingly well-made and large swords]], and extremely high failure rate for applicants, the full members of the Order were possibly [[BadAss the most potent and skilled soldiers in the world at that time]]; the sergeants and half-brothers were no slouches either, famed for their prowess and discipline. Even their mercenaries were highly regulated for skill. However, as time went on, several cowards and reckless fools began to put a dent into their reputation; and the feudal levies and militias they had to call on were, well, {{Mooks}}, causing this trope to be played with.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: Almost everywhere east of the [[IstanbulNotConstantinople Oder/Odra]] river they're known as some variety of ''the Cross-Bearers'', i. e. "Crusaders".
* {{Expy}}: As explained above, they are frequently used, after Eisenstein, as [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Nazis By Another Name]].
** NoSwastikas: They are partially responsible for Eisenkreuz, the substitution.
* FacelessGoons: Like most later knights, they had concealing headgear, used to invoke SpikesOfVillainy by Eisenstein.
* FalseFriend: The nations opposing the Knights tend to remember them as such. Theirs' and the Knights' versions of the same deals not matching each other and stuff.
* FeudalOverlord: Of course.
* GeniusBruiser: Shared with the other crusading orders. The Hospitallers' hat was medicine; the Templars' was banking; their specialty was ruling a large amount of people who did not want to be ruled and dominating Baltic/German trade.
* GermanicEfficiency: often seen as the Grandfather of Prussian virtues.
* KnightInShiningArmor: Or not. (Generally more of a TinTyrant.)
* KnightTemplar: Possibly a better example than the trope namer.
* PuttingOnTheReich: The Nazis stole some of their imagery, such as a stark black-and-white cross, leading to OlderThanTheyThink. Eisenstein also put their foot-soldiers in rather UsefulNotes/WorldWarI-looking helmets.
* TheSoundOfMartialMusic: After the mastership of the Knights became a Habsburg preserve, one of its most senior regiments (Infantry Regiment No. 4) traditionally had the master as its colonel-in-chief and was thus named the ''Hoch- und Deutschmeister'' (famous particularly for its band). The name was later continued to be used for tradition's sake by various formations of the two Austrian republics (and the Wehrmacht) to this day. Moreover, the very last secular ''Hochmeister'' of the ''Deutscher Orden'', Archduke Eugen von Österreich-Teschen, was a field marshal of the Royal-and-Imperial army
** During the reign of Wilhelm II, there were some attempts to revive the traditions of the Teutonic Knights in Prussia, leading to the formation of the ''Deutsch-Ordens-Infanterie-Regiment'' Nr. 152 in 1897 and the field artillery regiments ''Groß-Komtur'' (Nr. 71) and ''Hochmeister'' (Nr. 72) in 1899.
* TheSpartanWay: Observed with anybody who wanted to have at least partial membership or affiliation with their order. You want to join in? Get ready for physical training on par with that of the [[NavySeals US Navy Seals]], as well as a strict, high-protein diet and six or more hours a day spent on drilling in [[OneManArmy individual]], [[LightningBruiser mounted]], and formation combat.
* TrainingFromHell: See [[TheSpartanWay The Spartan Way]]. Even a half-brother or sergeant could look forward for daily, brutal training in discipline, skill, and physicality. Anyone who wanted to be a full-blown knight suffered worse.
** Justified; as far as they could comprehend, they were in hell already, what with brutal winters, terrain of all kinds, unruly subjects, and many powerful enemies such as the [[BadassNative Lithuanians]], [[MotherRussiaMakesYouStrong Russians from Kiev and Novgorod]], and [[FalseFriend the Poles]].
* WarriorMonk: A rare western example.

----

!!Works Associated with the Teutonic Knights:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* On ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' the [[MoeAnthropomorphism character]] {{Prussia}} ''was'' the Teutonic Order before becoming Brandenburg-Prussia. At least one strip shows him and several Teutonic Knights in battle with Poland. He "grows up" having gained Baltic territory -- his child-form interacts with Hungary and gallivants around the Burzenland.
* ''FirstSquad'' borrows its ghostly German knights from ''Alexander Nevsky'', so there's probably some Teutonic influence in there.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': The Quincies are very heavily influenced by the Teutonic Knights. When Uryuu first shows up in his Quincy uniform, he's compared to a priest and his attacks and magical chants are performed in German. Although Uryuu states the Quincies favour [[EnergyBow archery]], he's been well-trained in [[{{Vibroweapon}} swords]]. The Quincies also end up PuttingOnTheReich, becoming a highly organised, highly efficient and very ruthless [[EnergyWeapons military]] organisation led by a Grand Master who serves a [[AGodAmI holy]] [[TheEmperor Emperor]]. The last Quincy free of the Vandenreich is a [[CombatMedic Hospital Director]], a callback to the original leadership of the early Teutonic Knights being Hospital Masters instead of Grand Masters.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Thurim in ''ComicBook/RequiemChevalierVampire'' used to be one, though he was already evil then. He accidentally caused them to lose the Battle of the Ice by using an overpowered artifact which broke through the ice (his comrades praying as they sank).
* Heinrich Himmler creates the New Teutonic Order (essentially a BadassArmy that rivals the SS) in the AlternateHistory comic book ''ComicBook/{{Block 109}}''. The Castle of Marienburg is used as the HQ of this Order, just like during the Middle Ages in real life.
* ''ComicBook/DamnationCrusade'' follows the story of a Black Templar (see Warhammer40K below) from his novitiate all the way to his interment in a Dreadnought.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Commercials]]
* This Russian [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3ExQkVFGJw&feature=rec-LGOUT-exp_stronger_r2-2r-7-HM TV commercial]], re-imagining the Battle of Lake Peipus.
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PA5f1iUmvzU A Polish beer commercial]], featuring the preliminaries of the Battle of Grunwald, with a somewhat brighter end for the Knights.
* And a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUvX50OAOJM&feature=related Lithuanian vodka commercial]], also featuring the Battle of Grunwald.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/AlexanderNevsky'' is a film by Creator/SergeiEisenstein (which ironically is just the sort of surname you'd expect one of the Knights to have). Wildly historically inaccurate, especially since it was created in Russia during the Stalinist era, it is also full of Soviet propaganda (The Knights' helmets even resemble those of 20th century German soldiers). It nevertheless has dominated the contemporary conception of the Teutonic Order, and is a damn fine film.
** In the novel ''Literature/RedStormRising'', this film is shown on Russian TV shortly before the main FalseFlagOperation (detonating a bomb at the Kremlin and blaming WestGermany).
* The 1960 film adaptation of Henryk Sienkiewicz's ''Krzyżacy''. (''See'' {{Literature}},'' below''.)
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Henryk Sienkiewicz's ''Krzyżacy'' (''Literature/TheKnightsOfTheCross''). The Teutonic Knights are (almost to the last man) AlwaysChaoticEvil stand-in for Germans, Poles are all noble and brave, and there is [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch a decent guest of the Order]] who is there to be repulsed by how the Knights turn out to be. In case you haven't already guessed, it was written around the time when UsefulNotes/{{Poland}} was being ruled by the [[TheSoundOfMartialMusic Austrians]] and [[{{Prussia}} Prussians]] (and the [[TsaristRussia Russians]]).
* ''Literature/{{Wolfbreed}}'' has them raising werewolves as [[SuperSoldier super soldiers]] at first. When that doesn't work out they move onto Plan B: KillThemAll.
* James A. Michener's ''Poland'' devotes one chapter to a [[ShownTheirWork very detailed]] retelling of the [[CurbStompBattle Battle of Grunwald.]]
* Teutonic Knights and their relationship with the Lithuanians form the central theme of Adam Mickiewicz's epic poem ''Konrad Wallenrod''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The Russian heavy metal band ''Ariya'' has a song about the Battle of Lake Peipus, called ''The Ballad of the Ancient Russian Warrior''. The song describes the events in a quite supernatural light, with weeping icons, Hell promising help to the Grand Master, and the titular warrior still lingering on the lake shores as a ghost.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]

* TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}: Inner Circle Knights of the Empire. They even sport the same insignia - black cross on white.
* In TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} the Black Templars are some kind of futuristic Teutonic Order. They are dressed in black and white with crosses of the same color. They love to fight with [[{{BFS}} Swords]], have sometimes altered, more mediæval looking helmets and are very fanatic. One of their High Marshals is called "Sigismund" and they've got other [[AsLongAsItSoundsForeign German names]] like "Gervhart" or "Helbrecht." Even among the other Space Marines they're the best example of {{Warrior Monk}}s as they are constantly crusading around the galaxy, have rules which enforce them using [[AttackAttackAttack extremely aggressive]] [[CloseRangeCombatant close-combat tactics]] and are famously known for [[ExtremeMeleeRevenge charging into suicidal situations to avenge their fallen brothers in arms]]. For comparison, another Space Marine chapter known for maddened melee fighting are the Blood Angels, who have a flaw to their BioAugmentation that makes them susceptible to falling into two examples of UnstoppableRage... the Black Templars however lack such a tangible reason behind their ferocity.
* [[TabletopGame/{{Infinity}} Pan Oceania]] has [[RecycledinSPACE recreated]] this and other [[ChurchMilitant knightly orders]] as elite crack teams. The Teutonic Order is known for being particularly [[BloodKnight brutal]] close up, even in a game which focuses on ranged combat.
* ''TabletopGame/MutantChronicles'' has the Brotherhood who have the Teutonic Knights aesthetics and color schemes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the ''Kingdoms'' expansion of ''VideoGame/MedievalIITotalWar'', the Teutonic Order is a full-fledged faction in one of the campaigns. They definitely follow Eisenstein's portrayal of the Order, with their most powerful units, the ''Ritterbrüder'', wearing scary looking armor and their sole presence frightening nearby enemy units.
* The Teutons are a playable faction in ''VideoGame/AgeOfEmpiresII''. Teutonic Knights are their faction-specific unit. [[MightyGlacier They kick ass in melee combat, but they'll get destroyed by archers due to their movement speed being slightly greater than a crawl]].
* ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'' has them -- even though all of the major targets, Muslim and Christian, are actually secret Templars. They can be found harassing street people in German, as opposed to the French spouted by Hospitallers.
* The Teutonic Order appears in ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings'' when the player starts fighting the Baltic pagans, but isn't a playable nation.
** Within the sequel they are one of three "Holy Orders" available to Catholics in vanilla, functioning as elite mercenaries, but limited to fighting heathens and heretics, and costing piety rather than gold. With the expansion ''Sons of Abraham'', they can gain land as can all Holy Orders, and now may request favors. However, they seem very prone to administrating land taken in crusades, perhaps reflecting on their RealLife role.
* It also appears in ''VideoGame/EuropaUniversalis'', in which it ''is'' a playable nation and one of the more popular. The Livonian brothers are vassals and allies of the Teutonic Order.
** It's also possible that if you play long enough, the option becomes available to become {{Prussia}}.
* Medic's Polycount Set in VideoGame/TeamFortress2 makes him into one of these, comprised of a helmet, a HealingShiv crossbow, and a bonesaw with a Taunt effect similar to the Buff Banner. It's either a play on his German heritage and/or a reference to his KnightInSourArmor attitude towards his job.
* The Teutonic Knights appear in the ''VideoGame/RedAlert3Paradox'' mod as part of the Order of the Talon along with the KnightsTemplar and TheKnightsHospitallers, and specifically are represented by the Chevalier unit. In the Paradox timeline, the Teutonic Knights were virtually extinct until Talon heroine Lady Maria revived them as an AmazonBrigade comprised of her handpicked students.
* They are featured as one of the best armored swordsman units in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfHonor'', but are only limited available to Catholic nations ruling specific provinces.
[[/folder]]

----