Learn the History of Germany

The idea of Germany as an
individual region in Europe can be traced back to the Era the Roman
Commander, Julius Caesar. He had conquered Ghaul (France)
and referred to the unconquered area which was further east
of the Rhine as Germania. The Germanic tribes won
the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD against
the Roman Empire. After the fall of the
Roman Empire, the West Germanic Tribes were
conquered by the Franks. Later when the Frankish Empire
was divided among the heirs of Charlemagne in 843, the eastern part
came to be known as East Francia. Otto I became the first emperor
of the Holy Roman Empire in 962. During the High Middle Ages,
the emperors were the ones who gave power and titles to the
bishops, dukes and princes. In the year 1517, Martin
Luther headed the Protestant Reformation in contradiction
to the Catholic churches, converting the entire Northern
states into Protestants, while the Southern states
remained Catholic. There was a thirty years long
war between the two parts of the Holy Roman Empire
from the year 1618 – 1648. It had a catastrophic effect on the
twenty million civilians of that time. 1648 finally saw the end
of Holy Roman Empire and the rise of a modern
nation state system, with that, Germany was divided
into several independent states like Bavaria,
Saxony and Prussia. Germany saw the French Revolution and
Napoleonic Wars in the years 1803 – 1815, with time feudalism fell away, patriotism
and liberalism clashed with their response. The March Revolution in the
year 1848 was a failure. Though the industrial Revolution
rationalised the economy of Germany which led to rapid growth the cities and
emergence of the Socialist Movement. Berlin a big city, grew in power
and became the capital of Prussia. The Universities of
Germany became excellent centres for study of
humanities and Science. Music and Art flourished
with the same flair. Amalgamation of the two only happened
after the formation of the German Empire in the year 1871 lead by Otto
Von Bismarck the Prussian Chancellor. By 1900s Germany was a dominant
power on the continent with its rapidly expanding
industrial economy. In the World War I 1914-1918,
Germany had much to do in leading the central
powers against few States. The German Revolution
of 1918-1919 overthrew many kings and princes off
their titles, leading to the foundation of an unstable Parliamentary
democracy known as the Weimar Republic. The year 1930 was a depressing year for the
people of Germany, unemployment soared and people lost hope in the government,
this in turn gave way to the rise of Nazis. Adolf Hitler came to power in the year
1933 and established his dictatorship. The Aggressive Nazi polices
initiated the World War II. In 1941 the systematic
genocide known as the Holocaust killed millions
of innocent people. The United States entered
the war in 1942, Germany fought, however they finally
collapsed in May 1945. The German Territories were split,
cold war resulted in the country to divide into the Communist East Germany
and the Democratic West Germany. Millions of indigenous Germans
found it outrageous to stay in the communist areas and fled
to the West Germany instead. Rapid economic growth was
experienced by the West Germany and soon it became a dominant
economy in Western Europe. West Germany’s found its way in
the European Union through the Franco-German friendship, which
led to the political integration. The Berlin Wall was
destroyed and East Germany was reunited with West
Germany in the year 1990. Germany was one of the founding
countries of the Eurozone and till today remains the
economic powerhouse of Europe. Prehistory Human presence in Germany
atleast 600,000 years back was proved when the Mauer 1 mandible
was discovered in 1907. In 1995, 380,000 year old javelins made
of wood measuring 6 to 7.5 feet about 1.8 to 2.3 meter long were unearthed
in a coal mine in Schoningen, Germany. These weapons are considered to be the
oldest to be found anywhere in the world. The first non-modern human fossil was
unearthed in the Neander Valley, Germany in 1856 and the new species
of man was named as Neanderthal man. The fossils of the Neanderthal 1 are about
40,000 years old and evidence of modern humans of about the same age has been discovered
in the caves of Swabian Jura near Ulm. The excavations also include a 42,000
year old bird bone and flutes made out of mammoth ivory, these are the oldest musical
instruments to have been unearthed. There was a 35,000 old uncontested human
figurative art which has been discovered, this Venus of Hohle Fels is the oldest
among all figurative arts to be unearthed and then there is the oldest uncontested
figurative art known as the Lowenmensch figurine discovered which is 40,000
year old and belongs to the Ice Age. Germanic Tribes 750 BC to 768 AD Conquest and Migration The origin of the Germanic tribe
is presumed to have transpired in the Nordic Bronze Age or
latest by the Pre-Roman Iron Age. Their original homes was the Southern
Scandinavia and Northern Germany, eventually the tribes began expanding to the south,
west and east during the 1st century BC. They came in contact with the Celtic tribes
who were of Ghaul, the Baltic, Iranian and Slavic tribes as well, mixing with the
cultures of the central and Eastern Europe. The researchers have
little knowledge about the early activities of
the Germanic tribes. With the help of archaeological finds and
etymological researches, researchers have been able to record few interactions
of the tribe with the Roman Empire. In the beginning of the 1st
century AD the Roman legions led movement in the east of Rhine and
upper Danube regions of Germania. The Romans did this in an effort
to expand their Empire’s frontier. Rome subdues many Germanic
tribes like the Cherusci. The tribe learnt all the
warfare tactics of the Romans. The Cherusci chieftain known as
Arminius by the Romans, defeated the Roman Army in the Battle of the
Teutoburg Forest fought in 9 AD. The victory of the tribes
marked the beginning of the German recorded history
and put a complete stop on the Romans advance
towards the Germanic territories of the
eastern parts of Rhine In the 3rd century West Germanic tribes
emerged, seven tribes moved west and witnessed the fall of the Roman Empire and the
formation of the old Western Roman Empire. By the end of the 4th century
the unoccupied areas of Germany were invaded by the Huns, thus
starting the Migration Period. Stem Duchies and Marches The stem duchies or tribal
duchies originated as the regions of the Germanic tribes
of a particular terrain. The idea of duchies like
this endured specifically in the regions which later
became a part of East Francia like Swabia, Bavaria, Thuringia,
Franconia and Saxony rather than the advance west in Middle Francia
like Lorraine and Burgundy. Germanic migrations or
‘Völkerwanderung’ in the 5th century brought many barbaric tribes into
the already dying Roman Empire. The original tribes of Saxons,
Burgundians, Alamanni, Franks, Rugii and Thuringii
had become stem duchies. Unlike the later duchies these bodies did
not have proper defined administrative confines but came close to the area where
most of the Germanic tribes had settled. In the next few hundreds of years
the tribes migrated, merged and battled and ultimately all of them
were conquered by the Franks. Nevertheless remains of
many stem duchies can be seen in Western Europe as
modern states and regions; German states like Saxony and Bavaria
and German regions like Swabia, some of the French regions are Lorraine
and Burgundy or Franche-Comte. Ruler of East Germany discovered
many border counties or marches. Towards north, the lands comprised
of Lusatia, Billung March, Prussia and the North March
which later became Brandenburg. Styria, Carniola and March
of Austria which later became Austria were among
the south marches. Frankish Empire In the 5th century the Western
Roman Empire also fell. The Franks built their own
empire under the Merovingian Kings, conquering the
neighbouring Germanic tribes. The Merovingian king conquered
the northern Ghaul in 486 AD. In 496 AD after the
Battle of Tolbiac, Swabia became a duchy under
the Frankish Empire. The Merovingian kings
conquered many Germanic kingdoms and tribes in the
5th and 6th centuries. Out of all the kings, King Chlothar
I who reigned from 558-561 AD ruled the parts of Germany
and made excursions to Saxony. Semi-autonomous dukes like
local rulers or Franks, were put in charge of various regions
of the Frankish Empire. The local Germanic tribes
were forced to embrace Christianity by the Frankish Colonists The North eastern parts of the Merovingian
Franks came under the region of Austrasia. The regions which came under
Austrasia are today’s parts of France, Belgium, Germany,
Luxembourg and Netherlands. With the death of King
Clovis I in 511, the kingdom was divided into four
among the four sons. Austrasia had a rough time being tossed
back and forth from royal subjugation to autonomy as the successive
kings subdivided and united Frankish lands
from time to time. Pippin III who was the Mayor of the
Palace in 751, self-proclaimed himself to be the king and got
himself anointed by the church. After that instance, the kings were
known to be the protectors of the Pope. Charles the great, ruler of the Franks
from 774-814 propelled a military campaign against the Saxons and Avars
who had been rivals of the Franks. The Franks overcame both the rivals
and forced the people to convert to Christianity, and seized their lands
to create the Carolingian Empire. Middle Ages Charles the Great Charles was the son the Frankish King Pepin
the short, who dies in the year 768 AD. On taking over the rule of his father,
Charles amalgamated the control over his Kingdom and came to be known
as Charles the great or Charlemagne. He extended the Carolingian
empire into Northern parts of Italy and all the territories
of the west of Germany. Finally in 800 his authority
was confirmed by the Pope who crowned him emperor on
the Christmas Day in Rome. The Carolingian empire was divided into
several parts according to the treaty of Verdun in the year 843, treaty of Meerssen
in the year 870 and the treaty of Ribemont, because the Grandchildren of Charles the
Great fought for it amongst each other. Otto the Great Otto I was crowned as the king in 936 at
Aachen, in 962 the Pope crowned him emperor in Rome with which the
Holy Roman Empire was inaugurated, which is
identified with Germany. He strengthened the authority of
the royal power by re-asserting the old Carolingian rights
over church appointments. Otto grappled from the aristocrats
the power of appointment of abbots and bishops, who
controlled properties of land. Otto also invigorated the old practice of
assigning missionaries in the border areas. He continued to support celibacy
for the higher priesthood, so that the appointments
did not become hereditary. By letting the Bishops and
abbots have pieces of lands, Otto actually made them the
princes of the Empire. This way, he was able to
institute a National church. There were many battles that were all
won by Otto, this kept the rivals away. He marched on Rome and
overthrew John XII from the papal throne,
henceforth he controlled the election of the
pope, and set a strong example of the regal
control over the papacy. At time of the reign of Henry
III from 1039 – 1056, Cluniac reforms of the church were
supported by the Empire. The Cluniac reforms mainly
followed prohibition of buying clerical offices, the peace of God
and celibacy for all priests. Royal authority over the
pope had reached its peak. There rose a controversy
between Pope Gregory VII and Henry VI over the appointments
to church offices. This Investiture Controversy came to
an end with the submission of the emperor to the pope at Canossa in
the year 1077 after being removed. In the year 1122 a temporary
resolution was sought between the pope and Henry V with
the Concordot of Worms. As a result of the investiture
dispute, the Ottonian churches were weakening, and the imperial secular
princes were strengthening. Then came the Age of the
Crusades from year 1096-1291. Knightly spiritual orders
were made, which included the Knights of St. John, the Knights
Templar and Teutonic order. The Hanseatic League Under the leadership of Lubeck, Major
trading towns came together to form the Hanseatic League, and all
this happened since the long distance trade in
the Baltic increased. The league was a business alliance
among the trading cities that controlled the trade in the coastal
areas of the Northern Europe. The league included Cologne,
Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck. The league flourished during 1200-1500,
thereafter its importance lessened. Expansion towards the East The colonisation started in
Germany, with commissioning new villages and towns
in a large scale in the Salv-inhabited
territories east of the Elbe mainly Livonia, Silesia,
Bohemia and Pomerania. In the Beginning of the
year 1226 was when the Teutonic Knights started
their conquests of Prussia. The Knights conquered
the native Baltic Prussians and converted
them in to Christians. Church and State There was years of conflict between
the church and the state for power. In 1137 Hohenstaufen family choose
its successor to be Conrad III. He tried to deprive Henry the Proud
of his dukedoms Saxony and Bavaria. This led to a war in
the Southern Germany resulting in the Empire
to divide in to factions. Welfs or Guelphs were the faction
which named themselves after the family of Henry the Proud, they
were the ruling house in Bavaria. The other factions were called
by the name of waiblings. Frederick I also known as Barbarossa of the
Hohenstaufen dynasty ruled from 1086-1125. He tried to assert his
control over Italy once again, this time he
succeeded to an extent as in the year 1177 there was
an understanding drawn between the pope of
Venice and the Emperor. On the contrary, Henry the Lion
was outlawed in the year 1180. Saxony was divided,
Bavaria was taken over by Otto, the founder of
Wittelsbach dynasty. Henry the son of Barbarossa
was married to a Norman princess who was
Constance of Sicily. The Influence of the
feudal lords were weakened by the appointment of
Ministerial bureaucrats. The court life blossomed which led to the
German Culture and literature to develop. Frederick II 1212-1250 established
his administration at Sicily. He did not conflict any
further with the papacy. After his death the
Hohenstaufen dynasty came to an end, this was followed by
a period with no Emperor. Germany and almost the
entire Europe were emaciated by the Black
Death in the year 1350. The Jews were mistreated
on economic and religious grounds, this forced
many to flee to Poland. A rough estimation of
30-60 percent of the Europe’s population was
killed in the Black Death. Change and Reformation War and Plague had its disastrous
effects on Germany on the 14th century. Slowly the changes in the
economy, religion and politics reformed the society of
Europe into a modern one. There was social discontent
amongst the peasants and knights which rose
due to money economy. Progressively a consumerist
system evolved out of Feudalism. The Fugger family increased in reputation
by means of financial and commercial activities, it became a money lender
to both church and secular leaders. Whereas the knightly class found their
domination on military and arms skills weakened by the introduction of
foot soldiers and mercenary armies. The predacious activities of the robber
knights became common very soon. Cities and Towns The population of Germany was
5-6 million, of which most were farmers who worked under
monasteries and nobles. The towns and cities had
started to emerge near the castles, monasteries
and bishop houses. The small towns began to build their
own liberties and municipal rights. Many cities like the
Cologne managed to become an imperial free city,
which meant that they were directly answerable
to the Emperor and did not take orders from the
bishops or princes. The towns were governed by merchants
and rest of it was divided into strict delineated classes, which involved the
physicians, clergy, craftsmen and peasants. The paupers were not given citizenship. Rising of political tension was
normal in the town regarding tax, market supervision, public spending
and regulations of business. As Cologne was centrally situated in the
between the major trade routes of the east and the west, it became the major
reason for the growth of the city. The archbishops built the great Cologne
Cathedral and secured sacred relics in it, this made Cologne a major tourist attraction
and sacred place for worshippers. By the year 1288 the city found its
independence from the archbishops, who had been ruling the Cologne and was
instead ruled by burghers thereafter. Women The Salic law in the early times did
not allow women to inherit property, even the widows required a male caretaker
to represent them in the court. This law clearly barred women
from royal succession. Until the 18th century when the new
Bavarian law was enforced wives were physically assaulted without
any law stopping them to do so. The Bavarian law gave a little leverage
to the women to pursue their passion and accomplish in fields like medicine,
music, politics and religion. Science and Culture In the year 1439 Johannes Gutenberg
invented the movable printing machine. It was his invention that had
started the printing evolution. Albrecht Durer established his
reputation as a mathematician, theorist, painter, engraver and printmaker across
Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. He is remembered as an important
figure of the Northern Renaissance, he had achieved all this fame
in a mere age of 20-30 years. Early Modern Germany Reformation In the 16th century there was a lot of
dissatisfaction among the people regarding the selling of easier ways to repent
for sins, and many desired to reform. Finally in the year 1517, Martin Luther
stood boldly, voicing the desire of many by pasting copies of 95 thesis in the town
square and handing them out to German nobles. The list mainly stressed on the
affirmations that Luther believed showed misguidance and corruption
within the Holy Church. Luther also disagreed with the power that
the pope and the higher clergy held and he insisted that they abused their powers by
selling easier way of repenting for sins. Though Luther was proscribed
in the year 1521, the reformation he had
started spread quickly, this was further helped
by Emperor Charles V. Luther hid in the
Wartburg Castle where he translated the Bible from Latin to German
and recognized the base of German language. An interesting fact is that the
language which Luther spoke was of less significance in Germany but after
his translated Bible was published; his dialect took over the other languages
and became of what is modern German The German peasants followed the
teachings of the reformers and revolted against the ruling authorities of
Franconia, Swabia and Thuringia in 1524. Although the rebellions were aided by
skilled nobles like Florian Geyer, Thomas Munzer and Gotz von Berlichingen the regional
princes soon suppressed the insurgence. Around 100,000 German farmers
were killed in the revolt. The protestation at the Imperial Diet of Speyer was rejected
by the Lutheran at Augsburg in 1530 and a new Lutheran
church was established. In 1545, Germany saw
‘Counter-Reformation’also known as the Catholic Reformation
or the Catholic Revival. The reformation was an answer
to the Protestant Reformation and the foundation of the Catholic
Reformation was the formation of Council of Trent from 1545 to 1563 and it ended
with the Thirty Years War in 1648. The Jesuit order instituted by Ignatius
of Loyola provided the main force. The north-eastern and central
Germany were almost Protestants and the southern and western
Germany were completely Catholics. An association of Protestant rules
known as Schmalkaldic League were subjugated by Holy Roman
Emperor Charles V in 1547. In 1555 the Lutheran faith
was recognised with the Peace of Augsburg
but the treaty also stated that the religion of the state would
be the religion which the ruler followed. The Protestant Union and
Catholic Leagues were established in 1608 and
1609 respectively. Thirty Years’ War, 1618-1648 The Empire was submerged in
war and conflicts between the Protestants and
Catholics for thirty years. Sometimes the situations
were out of control and thousands of soldiers died of
hunger, plague and murder. Heavy taxes were levied,
live-stock of the farmers and their food were taken
away without payment. There was a time of unrest
during these thirty dark years. The population dropped
immensely and the war ended with Peace of
Westphalia in 1648. Culture, Literacy and Science With the translation of Bible
literacy spread throughout Germany, there were now pamphlets and religious
books which were being distributed and by 1530 there were 10,000 publications
that printed 10 million copies. Lucas Cranach the Elder was a famous
painter and a close friend of Luther. He exemplified Luther’s
theology for a common audience. He sensationalized Luther’s
opinions on the connection between the Old and New
Testaments, while being watchful of Luther’s
cautious differences about appropriate and indecorous
uses of visual imagery. Many scientific developments
took place in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy
in the 16th and 17th centuries. ‘De revolutionibus orbium coelestium’ published
by Nicolaus Copernicus was the first complete heliocentric cosmology which moved
the Earth from the center of the universe. Johannes Kepler was known for his
laws of planetary motion and his books ‘Harmonices Mundi’ and
‘Astronomia nova’ were well-known. 1648 to 1815 Wars and Smaller States Parts of Lorraine and Alsace were captured
by Louis XIV of France, he also attacked and destroyed the Electorate of Palatinate
in the War of Palatinian Succession. Hungary was taken back from
the Turks and Habsburgs developed Austria into
a powerful kingdom. Frederick II the Great played an important
role in the expansion of Germany, he was a military genius and was famous for
the reorganization of Prussian armies. The nobility and the
citizens resisted from 1763 and ‘enlightened absolutism’
was established in Austria and Prussia
and the ruler reigned as per the best principles
of the philosophers. Many legal reforms happened,
torture of citizens was abolished and the situation
of the Jews improved. Liberation of the peasants began and
education was made compulsory for all. Prussia initiated separation from Poland
and Austria and Russia followed after a few years of resistance from Prussia
Poland finally became independent in 1918. The smaller Germans states were eclipsed
by Austria and Prussia and were frequently ignored by rulers who
were indulged in worldly pleasures, because of which they grew in
debt with no centres for growth; Bavaria was one of these states. Although Saxony was doing well financially
its administration was completely haywire. Wettin and Wurttemberg
were in no good shape as the ruler’s greed for
power and excessive spending on celebrations, hunting expeditions
and mistresses led to their downfall. No one was interested in
forming a proper government. From 1807 to 1871 Prussia took over most
of the smaller states and founded the German Empire but by 1930 it lost its
individuality and had little importance left. French Revolution 1789 to 1815 The Germans had a mixed reaction
towards the French revolt. The German intellects
rejoiced the outburst and hoped that Reason and The
Enlightenment would win. In 1793, the French
king was executed and a period of violence took
over the middle classes. The reformers said that the violence
could be ended by the Germans as they were capable to change laws and
establishments in a nonviolent way. Austria and Prussia invaded the French in
1792 but they lost in the Battle of Valmy. Prussia and Austria ended their
already lost battle with France but shared Poland with
Russia in 1793 and 1795. France subjugated Rhineland
and encouraged freedom of religion, obliterated feudalism,
emancipated the Jews, forced the nobleness to share
their powers with middle class and opened the bureaucracy to
common people with talent. Kingdom of Westphalia was
established by Napoleon and transformed and rationalized the
western regions of Germany. Napoleon controlled
most of Western Europe, all German states except
Austria and Prussia. There was nothing left of
the Holy Roman Empire and Napoleon removed it when he
formed new countries in 1806. After the Battle of Leipzig,
Napoleon’s empire started to fall and was finally defeated in Waterloo
by German and British armies. Prussia gained huge territories
at the Vienna peace conference. German Confederation, 1815 to 1867 A loose association of 39 states made up
the German Confederation in 1815, the idea was to organize the frugalities
of detached German speaking countries. It was a shield against the enormous
powers of Austria and Prussia. The Confederation fell because of
the enmity between Austria and Prussia and in 1866 it was substituted
by North German Confederation. Society and Economy The population between this period grew
and the country became efficient in agriculture and sustained a fast-growing
industrial urban financial system. Although Germany lagged behind France, Britain
and Belgium in industrial development by 1900 it took pace and was one of the
leaders in the world of industrialization. The Germans started working
in mines, factories and railways as a result
of industrialization. Most of the population had become
rural and lived in cities. Rail roads helped in much
economic development of Germany and opened up new prospects
for the local products. Engineers, architects, managers
and machinists were in demand and all this led to
investment in iron and coal. Earlier the Germans bought their
hardware and engineering from the British but soon learnt the skills and
became self-sufficient by 1850’s. By 1880 there were 9,400
locomotives in Germany who carried 43,000 passengers and 30,000
tons of products everyday. The German intellects and artists
were swayed by the French Revolution and by the famous German writer and
poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Germany saw much growth in music,
literature, intellectual movement and art. The period is also known as Romanticism. The famous Brothers Grimm
gathered famous folk stories into one book known
as Grimm’s Fairy Tales. There were many
professors who gained international recognition
in various fields; some of them were Leopold von Ranke,
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Alexander von
Humboldt and Carl Friedrich Gauss. Politics of Restoration and Revolution The leadership of Germany
fell into the hands of Austrian Prince
Metternich, after Napoleon. There was chaos and
discontentment socially and politically which led to
the revolutions of 1848. The parliament of Frankfurt
was dissolved and the princes were suppressed
by the military forces. German Confederation was formed
once again in 1850, many political leaders left for United States
and some went into exile. In 1861, King William I reined over
the country and his most important accomplishment was to appoint
Otto von Bismarck as chancellor. Field Marshal Helmut von Moltke, Defense
Minister Albrecht von Roon along with Otto von Bismarck won over Austria,
France and Denmark and united Germany. German Confederation was dissolved
in 1886 and was replaced by North German Federation
under the headship of Prussia. Austria was not included in
the Confederation and the long Austrian influence
on Germany finally ended. The North German Federation was
a provisional organisation and lasted from 1867 to 1871 after which
the German Empire was founded. German Empire, 1871 to 1918 Otto von Bismarck unified
Germany into ‘German Reich’ and determined
political affairs till 1890. He tried to raise coalitions
in Europe so he could control France and amalgamate
Germany’s effect on Europe. He tried to curtail socialism
by anti-socialist laws which were joined with social
security and health care. Bismarck also tried to lessen the
administrative influence of the overly grown power of Catholic
minority in the culture struggle but the Catholics became more powerful
and formed a Centre or Zentrum Party. The Germans were now matching
shoulders with Britain in terms of industrial and
economic power by 1900 and their professional army was the
best across the globe, however their naval forces were no match
against the British Royal Navy. Kaiser Wilhelm II came into power in 1888
he was young and aspiring and disliked taking advice specifically from proficient
statesmen and envoys, he fired Bismarck. Unlike Bismarck, Kaiser wanted Germany
to follow colonialism like France and Britain and create a navy which would
be equal to the British naval forces. He promoted colonialism of
Asian and African countries in areas where the Europeans
had not colonialized. His ways were inhumane which also
led to murder of many Germans. His individual approach led to a
situation where the Austrian-Hungarian crown prince was murdered which
could have sparked World War I. Weimar Republic, 1919 to 1933 The crushing terms of peace
in the Treaty of Versailles (it required Germany to take
responsibility of Germany and her allies to have caused
loss and damages in the war) incited unpleasant resentment
all over Germany and completely weakened the new
democratic government. The Communist Party of Germany(KDP) was
founded in December, 1918 and in the following year it made an unsuccessful
attempt in overpowering the new republic. Adolf Hitler took control of
National Socialist German Workers Party(NSDAP) in 1919 which botched
in an overthrow in Munich in 1923. Both the parties and the parties
who supported the republic built aggressive armies which
engaged in street battles. Democratic support for
both parties grew after 1929 when Great Depression
hit the country and there were many men who were unemployed
and could be used for military units. The Nazi’s were mostly rural and
belonged to middle-class families; they defeated Weimar command and took
control of Germany from 1933 to 1945. The Communist Party of Germany
came to power from 1949 to 1989. Nazi Germany, 1933 to 1945 Much of Germany’s lost economic standards
was restored by the Nazi government. They brought an end to
employment by spending heavily on military and supressed
strikes and labour unions. People were happy with the Nazi
rule as Germany was prospering; it faced little resistance from the German
population in their rule of twelve years. Any political upsurge was crushed
by the Gestapo or secret police that operated under the
command of Heinrich Himmler. The Jews faced a tough
time as they were forced into exile and their
property was confiscated. The Nazi Party tool all controls
of local government, public administrations, and the courts except
for Catholic and Protestant Churches. Joseph Goebbels, who was
the publicity minister of Hitler controlled all
expressions of public view. He made good use of movies, rallies
and mesmerizing speeches of Hitler. The Nazi’s worshipped
Hitler as their leader or Fuhrer and put all
powers in his hands. Hitler had a constricted variety
of interests and decision making was dispersed among
intersecting, clashing power centres; on some matters he was
inert, simply agreeing to compressions from
whoever had his ear. All top representatives reported
to Hitler and followed his basic rules, but they had substantial
independence on daily basis. Antisemitism and the Holocaust The Nazis were inimical towards the Jews
and were always targeted for attacks. They persuaded the Jews to look upon the
Jews as ‘subhumans’ and even succeeded in getting 44% votes in the parliament
to boycott the business of the Jews. The first Nazi concentration camp
was set up on 20 March, 1935 which banned Jews from all academic
positions and civil services. The Jews were stripped of
German citizenship and by 1939 around 500,000
Jews left the country; escape after that was
impossible and in 1941 the Nazis set up Holocaust
which exterminated all Jews, Slavs, homosexuals, Gypsies, mentally
and physically disabled and communists. Around 11 million people
were killed in the Holocaust out of which 1.1
million were children. Federal Republic of Germany, 1990 Onwards Five re-established states in the
earlier German Democratic Republic which assented to the Federal Republic
of Germany with 10 states upon German reunion on 3 October, 1990, is
the new federal states of Germany. The East German had obliterated
the new states in 1952 had been re-established in
1990 and the states were; Saxony, Brandenburg, Thuringia,
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Saxony-Anhalt. Although most of the residents of
Berlin are residents of former East Germany, Berlin has not been
taken as one of the new states. Since then Germany has sixteen states
all with same lawful statuses. There have been many leaders
since re reunification who have helped in the growth
and advancement of Germany; Gerhard Schroder and Angela Merkel
being some of the noted ones. Helmut Kohl played an important
role in the European Union. When recession hit the
globe in 2008 Germany faired pretty well but
the financial volatility of Greece and other European nations forced
Germany to underwrite a financial rescue. Today Germany is led by Joachim
Gauck who is the head of state of Germany and the official President
of the Federal Republic of Germany. The country is the biggest
national economy in Europe and also the fourth largest by
nominal GDP across the globe. They were one of the biggest
capital exporters which recorded $285 billion
worth trade in the world. The nation is rich in natural resources and
has been advancing in leaps and bounds. Most of the German companies
are owned by families and it is also one of the top
places for trade fairs. There was a time when the Germans
lacked speed in terms of growth and progress but today speed sees
no limits for Germany’s progress.

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