Hermann (Arminius), a Cheruscan chieftain, spearheaded the struggle to defend German tribes against a Roman imperial army. In time the Hermann story became a legend and Hermann a symbol of strength and unity in preserving freedom. The story of the Roman legions’ first major defeat unfolds in the forests of north-central Europe at the time of Christ. In autumn of A.D. 9 a coalition of German tribes under Hermann ambushed three Roman legions commanded by Qunctilius Varus. The defeat caused Caesar Augustus and his successors to forego conquering Central Europe. A new imperial policy changed European history. The people of Central Europe developed independent of Roman Rule. Today, on Grotenberg Mountain, a high hill near the German city of Detmold, a colossal statue of Hermann memorializes the event. A similar but unique monument in New Ulm, Minnesota, has come to represent the contributions of Americans of German heritage, the largest ethnic group to emigrate from Europe to the United States.