History of Germany

Settled in the far north of modern-day Germany and Scandinavia, the Germanic people trace their roots to the Nordic Bronze Age or the Pre-Roman Iron Age. In 843, Germany emerged as a separate entity from the Frankish empire. German Territories became the central part of the Holy Roman Empire in 962, and King Otto I of Germany became the Roman emperor.

In 1250, Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen died and the empire began to collapse, turning into independent territories rather than one central government. Later in 1438, the Habsburg dynasty was formed. The Thirty-Year's War, a war opposing Protestant princes, began in 1618 and lasted until 1648.

In 1806, the Holy Roman Empire was abolished by Francis II, who then became emperor of Austria. Germany was reunified with the leadership of Otto von Bismarck in 1871. The government had an elected national parliament, the Reichstag, and a Kaiser, or emperor, who was very powerful. In 1888, when William II became emperor, Germany began its colonial expansion and military strengthening.

From 1914 to 1918, Germany (German: Deutschlandkarte) 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 faced economical struggle.

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 the 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, known as the Holocaust, of millions of people (especially targeted groups like Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, and the disabled) occurred between 1942 and 1945. 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 between 2008 and 2010.

Last Updated on: November 20th, 2017