History of Germany

The history of the Germanic people dates back to the Nordic Bronze Age or the Pre-Roman Iron Age. At the time, they were concentrated in the far north of modern-day Germany and Scandinavia and from there on expanded south, east and west. The period, thereafter, witnessed the emergence of many Germanic tribes.

In 800, the Frankish king Charlemagne established the Carolingian Empire. In 843, the empire was divided among Charlemagne's heirs. In 962, German Territories became a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. King Otto I of Germany became the Roman emperor.

In 1250, Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen died and the empire began to collapse. Thereafter independent territories were formed. In 1438, the Habsburg dynasty was established. From 1618 to 1648, the region witnessed the devastating Thirty-Year's War.

From 1914 to 1918, Germany played a major role in World War I, signing an armistice after their defeat in 1918, and Emperor William II was exiled. The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 forced Germany to give back its colonies and pay reparations from the war. The same year, the Weimar Republic was formed with a new constitution, and during its first years, the country struggled economically.

In 1923, Germany saw the rise of Adolf Hitler, who headed the National Socialist German Workers Party. After years of unemployment and depression in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Hitler became chancellor in 1933, soon proclaiming the Third Reich in 1934. During this time, the persecution of Jews began, sometimes depriving them of citizenship. From 1939 to 1945, Germany played a central role in World War II. The genocide of millions of people (especially targeted groups like Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, and the disabled) occurred from 1942 to 1945, now known as the Holocaust. Germany was defeated in 1945, and the Allied Nations then divided and occupied the country. The US, French, and British divided West Germany among themselves into thirds, along with West Berlin. The western half of Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany, while the Soviets controlled the east, which they turned into the communist German Democratic Republic. The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961, physically dividing the two halves of the city.

The Berlin Wall was finally torn down in 1989, and Germany began to reunify for the second time in 1990, with Berlin as the capital. The Allied and Russian forces remained in Germany until 1994.

In 2002, Germany adopted the Euro as their currency, replacing the Deutsche Mark (DM). Like much of the rest of the world, Germany faced an economic recession from around 2008 to 2010.

Last Updated on: January 12th, 2018