Germany History

by | August 17, 2021

The area of ​​today’s Germany has been populated since the Stone Age (Central Europe). During the Iron Age, the south was a core area of ​​the Celts, who were displaced from the north by Germanic peoples until the turn of the century. From 50 BC The Roman Empire ruled the area to the left of the Rhine and south of the Danube. The cities founded by the Romans are the oldest in Germany. In the course of the migration of peoples from the 4th century AD, the Franks created a territory (Franconian Empire) that was Christianized under Clovis I and under Charlemagne reached its greatest extent. After the Carolingian divisions of the empire in different ways, the foundation for what would later become Germany was laid in the East Franconian Empire at the beginning of the 10th century, which was renewed under Otto the Great in the Roman-Franconian tradition (Holy Roman Empire). The Salian and Staufer dynasties secured the empire supremacy in Europe in a dispute with the Pope (investiture dispute). The electors, who elected the Roman-German king (Golden Bull 1356), achieved priority within the empire.

The late Middle Ages were characterized by the flourishing of cities and villages as well as revolutionary changes in trade (Hanseatic League, stock exchange), technology (ore mining, invention of printing) and science (humanism, founding of universities), but also by devastating epidemics such as the Great Plague in 1348 -50. Politically, the rise of the Habsburgs began, with the spread of Europe overseas (history of discovery) under Charles V. (Roman-German King 1519–56) finally ruled an empire in which “the sun never sets”. At the same time, the contrast to the up-and-coming France, which led to numerous wars and conflicts until the 18th century, intensified.

The Reformation, whose starting point was the 95 theses against ecclesiastical abuses (indulgences) published by Martin Luther in Wittenberg in 1517, was formative for modern Germany. Protestantism spread against the resistance of the emperor, supported by some imperial princes. The Augsburg Religious Peace (1555) finally allowed the sovereigns to choose their creed freely. With the Catholic Counter-Reformation, denominational differences intensified. They culminated in the Thirty Years War (1618–48), in which foreign powers (Denmark, Sweden, France) also intervened. the Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended the religious wars in Central Europe. He also created a political balance of forces and the prerequisites for the development of international law, but left behind a fragmented empire in which the great territorial rulers, allied with states outside Germany, determined politics. At this time the rise of Brandenburg- Prussia (1675 victory over Sweden) began. Frederick the Great made Prussia a great power in the Silesian Wars against Austria.

The French Revolution (1789) and in its wake the Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars brought about the collapse of the traditional constitutional order of the empire in 1806 (Reichsdeputationshauptschluss). Internal reorganization (secularization) and far-reaching reforms, for example in Prussia (Prussian reforms), modernized the German states. In the Wars of Liberation (1813–15) against Napoleon, a German national movement was articulated for the first time.

The reorganization of Europe after the Congress of Vienna (1814/15) under the guiding principle of restoration and the creation of the German Confederation, however, left the German question unsolved. Liberal-national efforts could not prevail in the March Revolution (1848/49) despite successes in the meantime (Frankfurt National Assembly). It was not until Otto von Bismarck’s policy (blood and iron) enforced several ” wars of unification” – the German-Danish War (1864), the German War (1866) and the Franco-German War (1870/71) – a German nation-state without Austria with the King of Prussia at the head.

The high industrialization (industrial revolution) made Germany an economic great power, but also intensified the social contradictions (labor movement). The competition between the great powers in the age of imperialism led to the First World War (1914-18). It ended in defeat for Germany and its allies (Central Powers) and left a bled-out country. The November Revolution eliminated the monarchy; the Weimar Republic came into being (from 1919). After hyperinflation (1923) and civil war-like conditions (until 1924), the first German democracy overcame its inner turmoil for a short time, but political stability was not permanent. The world economic crisis (from 1929) favored the rise of National Socialism, which established a totalitarian state after Adolf Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor (January 30, 1933). Hitler’s policy of violence led to World War II (1939–45) and the destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust. The Second World War ended militarily for Germany with unconditional surrender.

The main victorious powers USA, Soviet Union, Great Britain and France divided Germany into four zones of occupation, Berlin into four sectors; the areas east of the Oder-Neisse line were separated. The worsening East-West conflict prevented a peace treaty and led to the division of the country (German unity). The German Democratic Republic (GDR), a socialist state, emerged from the Soviet occupation zone, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), a parliamentary democracy with a market economy system (social market economy), emerged from the three western zones. Fixed in the West (NATO) by theAnchored in the Germany Treaty (1952) and the Paris Treaty (1954), it became, together with France, the engine of European integration.

A new Ostpolitik (1969) relaxed the relationship between the FRG and the Warsaw Pact states and the GDR (Basic Treaty 1973). The Soviet reform policy in the second half of the 1980s (perestroika) and an armaments policy agreement between the USA and the Soviet Union (disarmament) created the conditions for the peaceful revolution in the GDR (1989) and German reunification (1991). Domestically challenged with the overcoming of the division, as one of countries beginning with G listed on COUNTRYAAH, Germany gained greater weight in foreign policy, among other things with the EU enlargement and in dealing with the euro crisis (2010) became visible.

Germany History