Germany is an independent nation in Western Europe. With the capital city of Berlin, Germany 2020 population is estimated at 83,783,953 according to countryaah. Germany’s appearance and scope has changed throughout history. In 962, the German-Roman Empire was founded, in the 17th century Germany was divided into hundreds of feudal states, and in the 19th century the German Empire was founded. Germany’s loss in the First World War led to bitterness and revenge, which paved the way for the Nazi Party and Adolf Hitler’s takeover of power in 1933. Hitler triggered the Second World War in 1939. The six-year war cost 40-50 million people and ruined Germany. During the war, the persecution of Jews culminated in the annihilation of six million Jews.
- AbbreviationFinder.org: Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Germany, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
Throughout history, Germany has been divided into a number of more or less independent states, and the map image has varied from century to century. For Germany political system, please check computerminus.
The oldest cities (Trier, Cologne and Augsburg) were built in Roman times during the first centuries after the birth of Christ. From the 14th century the Romans were forced back by Germanic people, including the Franks. When the kingdom of France was divided in 843, the East Frankish Empire was formed. This laid the foundation for today’s Germany.
The Eastern Frankish Empire consisted of various tribal dukes. In 962, King Otto the Great crowned himself emperor of the German-Roman Empire, which included the Kingdom, the Principality, the Episcopal Diocese and free cities in much of central Europe. This included Austria and Northern Italy, among others. The various princes ruled independently, and the emperor’s power was limited. For long periods, the national unit was only a formality. A special role was played by the Kurfurstens, who from the 13th century claimed the right to choose the emperor or king of the kingdom. From 1438 until the dissolution of the empire in 1806, the imperial crown came to belong almost without interruption to the house Habsburg, which had its base in Austria.
When the German-Roman Empire was founded, the German territories extended roughly to the rivers Elbe and Saale in the east, but from the 1100s, areas further east began to colonize at the expense of Slavic people, among others. The Northern Baltic and Ostpruss, which were not part of the empire, were ruled by the knights of the German Order from the 13th century.
During the 13th century, Lübeck and other German cities became the center of trade in Northern Europe. They formed the trade union Hansan, which had its heyday during the 1300s.
The Reformation during the 16th century led to religious and social struggles. A rise against the Emperor in 1618 became the beginning of the Thirty Years War, which devastated large parts of Germany. Around a third of Germany’s population died during the war. After the Westphalian Peace in 1648, Germany was divided into nearly 400 feudal states with their own laws, coins, dimensions and units of weight. The emperor’s power was broken and Germany never developed into a nation-state like France and Britain. Political developments came to be governed by individual states such as Bavaria, Brandenburg, Saxony and Austria. Brandenburg was the core area of the Kingdom of Prussia, founded in 1701 and developed into a great power under Fredrik the Great (1740-1786).
At the end of the 18th century, the Germans were drawn into the Napoleonic Wars. France occupied Germany and the German-Roman Empire formally ceased in 1806. The Habsburg Emperor instead adopted the title Emperor of Austria. In 1815, the German Confederation was formed by 38 sovereign states, including the kingdoms of Bavaria, Hanover, Prussia, Saxony and Württemberg, and the empire of Austria.
In 1866, the Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck dissolved the German federation. Instead, in 1867 the Northern German Confederation was formed under Prussian leadership. After the German victory in the Franco-German War of 1870-1871, the German Empire was founded, and Prussian King Wilhelm I was proclaimed emperor.
Prussia remained until the dominant German state until Adolf Hitler’s takeover of power in 1933. Bismarck, who in 1871 was appointed Chancellor of the State (head of government), was Germany’s most influential politician until 1890. During the emperor Wilhelm II, at the end of the 19th century, a strong renovation took place at sea. Germany already had the strongest ground troops in the continent.
The contradictions with the European neighboring countries culminated in the First World War (1914-1918). Despite its military strength, Germany lost power measurement. Following the defeat, Germany imposed harsh conditions of peace in the form of land disputes and war damages, which created a breeding ground for bitterness and revenge in many Germans. The defeat also led the emperor to abdicate in 1918.
In August 1919, a new constitution was adopted in the city of Weimar that made Germany a parliamentary federal republic. The Weimar Republic (1919-1933) was characterized by great party fragmentation and weak government power. The political and economic crises, including the economic depression of 1929-1930, paved the way for the Nazi Party’s election success and Hitler’s Third Reich.
Hitler was appointed Chancellor of the State in January 1933. He disrupted the Weimar Constitution and banned all parties except the Nazi. State power was placed under the control of the party. The Nazis played on the wounded national pride of the Germans and cultivated the myth of the superiority of the Germanic (“Aryan”) race. Political opponents were persecuted and the Jews were subjected to hot campaigns. In 1935, the Jews were deprived of their civil rights. At the same time, general military duty was reintroduced in violation of the 1919 peace treaty. The Nazi regime invested everything on a German armament.
The attempts to create “Lebensraum” (living space) for the Germans by conquering other parts of Europe triggered the Second World War in 1939. The six-year war cost between 40 million and 50 million people life and Germany was ruined.
During the war, the persecution of Jews culminated in what is usually called the Holocaust. The Nazis wanted to eradicate all Jews for racial ideological reasons and staged a gigantic genocide using almost industrial methods. From all occupied Nazi territories, Jews were taken to large extermination camps in Poland where they were executed in gas chambers. There were also mass murders of Jews in other forms in the areas that Germany invaded. A total of six million Jews, a quarter of a million Roma, 150,000 physically and mentally handicapped and many other civilians are estimated to have been killed by the Nazi regime. Added to this are two to three million Soviet prisoners of war and up to two million ethnic Poles.