A Country in Western Europe
Bundesrepublik Deutschland / The Federal Republic of Germany
Germany lies between the Baltic and North seas and the Alps. It is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, with over 80-million inhabitants and with the world's 4th-largest economy - the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany has social security and a universal health care system, environmental protections, and a tuition-free university education.
Its capital is Berlin, and the largest urban area is the Ruhr (Ruhrgebiet), where I lived, as well as in merged in Düsseldorf, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia, in the center of Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.
It borders Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Luxembourg - I lived in the latter two as well, Paris was 4 hours away on a high-speed train.
Important historical facts about Germany:
- Humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. Germanic tribes inhabited parts of modern Germany since antiquity.
- About 2,000 years ago till 9 CE, Roman Empire invaded its lands. By 100 CE, Germanic tribes occupied most of modern Germany.
- Around 260 - 375 CE, Germanic peoples broke into Roman-controlled lands. The Franks took Saxony and Bavaria. The areas of eastern Germany were inhabited by Slavic tribes.
- In the 10th-18th centuries, Germany was a central part of the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806), which absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy. Great Famine of 1315-17 followed by the Black Death bubonic bacterial plague of 1348–50, the most fatal pandemic in human history that killed 30-60 percent of the European population.
- In 15th century, a German inventor Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable-type printing.
- During the 16th century, northern Germany want through the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther began the standardization of German language.
- Protestant-Catholic Cologne War (1583–88) and the Thirty Years' Wars, started as a religious civil war and escalated into a contest for European dominance of Austria and Spain against France and Sweden (1618–1648) - devastated German lands: population in some areas declined in half.
- During the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), France, Russia, Prussia, and Austria competed for power in the German states. In 1815, the German Confederation was formed, a league of 39 sovereign states.
- In 1871, most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire (1871–1918). Germany claimed several colonies. The German Colonial Empire included several African countries,Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Namibia, Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria, Togo, Ghana, New Guinea, numerous West Pacific islands, and holdings in China.
- World War I (1914-18) with Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Germany, Russia, France, Britain, Italy, Ottoman Empire, and the United States involved, resulted in one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with 9,000,000 killed in combat and over 5,000,000 civilians dead. Spanish flu pandemic spread by the movement of combatants caused many millions of additional deaths worldwide.
- In the German Revolution of 1918, Germany was declared a federal republic. It accepted defeat in the war, the Empire was replaced by the semi-presidential Weimar Republic (1919-33) with the democratic constitution. For a short while, communists seized power in Bavaria, and autocratic arm forces with nationalists and monarchists attempted coup in 1920, the Kapp Putsch in Berlin. It followed by street fighting in the major cities, by the occupation of the Ruhr by Belgian and French troops, and by hyperinflation.
- The new currency of 1924 and debt restructuring allowed Golden Twenties with artistic innovation and liberal cultural life.
- The worldwide Great Depression hit Germany in 1929. Policies of fiscal austerity and deflation caused unemployment of over 30% by 1932.
- The Nazi Party won a special election in 1932 and Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of The Third Reich in 1933, with unrestricted legislative power. Basic civil rights were abandoned, a centralized totalitarian state established, concentration camps opened, the persecution of minorities (Holocaust) started. In total, about 17,000,000 people were murdered, including:
- 6,000,000 Jews,
- 130,000 Romani,
- 275,000 disabled people,
- 2,700,000 Poles,
- 1,300,000 Ukrainians,
- 1,000,000 Belarusians,
- 3,500,000 Soviet prisoners of war,
- thousands of political and religious opponents, homosexuals.
- In 1938, The Third Reich annexed Austria and Sudetenland and occupied Czech lands in 1939.
- In 1939, Hitler–Stalin pact divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence across Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Moldova. The Third Reich invaded Poland, beginning World War II (1939-45). Soviets invaded Poland after a Soviet–Japanese ceasefire.
- In 1940, Nazis invaded Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. Britain repelled German air attacks. Soviet Union took parts of Karelia and Finland, followed by annexation of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Romania and now Ukraine (Bukovina, or Chernivtsi, Bessarabia).
- In 1941, Nazis invaded Yugoslavia, Greece, and the Soviet Union.
- In 1942, The Third Reich controlled most of continental Europe and North Africa.
- In 1943, Nazis invaded Italy. After the major battle in Southern Russia, German forces suffered repeated military defeats.
- In 1944, the Soviets pushed Nazis into Eastern Europe. The Western allies entered Nazi Germany from France.
- In May 1945, The Third Reich surrendered after Hitler's suicide.
- 5,300,000 German military casualties,
- 900,000 German civilians dead.
- After Allied occupation, Germany was divided by the United Nations into
- the Federal Republic of Germany on the West;
- FRG was a founding member of the European Economic Community and the European Union, and received significant reconstruction aid.
- West Germany was a federal parliamentary republic with social capitalism, in which free-market coexisted with social policies and enough regulation to establish fair competition and a welfare state.
- the German Democratic Republic in the East.
- GDR was an Eastern Bloc state and member of the Warsaw Pact. East Germany claimed to be a democracy, power was exercised by leading members of the communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party, supported by the Stasi, one of the most repressive intelligence and secret police agencies ever existed, closely partnered with KGB, and lead by a murder.
- The Stasi used operational psychology (Zersetzung) and its extensive network of over 170,000 informal collaborators for personalized psychological attacks like gaslighting, smear campaigns, property damage, sabotage of cars, purposely incorrect medical treatment, provocation, psychological warfare, wiretapping. Its goal was defined as
the fragmentation, paralysis, disorganization, and isolation of the hostile and negative forces. In complete operational secrecy, collaborators gathered details of victims' private life and disintegrated their careers, reputations, and close relationships, and undermined their self-esteem. They damaged mental health of about 10,000 individual. They targeted artists, youth subculture groups, human rights activists, people who wanted to travel abroad...
- The Berlin Wall (1961 to 1989), a guarded concrete barrier that cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, prevented East German citizens from escaping to West Germany.
- the Federal Republic of Germany on the West;
- They reunited in 1990 and become a federal parliamentary republic. United Germany was considered the enlarged continuation of West Germany, Berlin again became the capital, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a federal city (Bundesstadt).
- German 16 States and Capitals:
- Bavaria (Munich)
- Lower Saxony (Hanover)
- Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart)
- North Rhine-Westphalia (Düsseldorf)
- Brandenburg (Potsdam)
- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Schwerin)
- Hesse (Wiesbaden)
- Saxony-Anhalt (Magdeburg)
- Rhineland-Palatinate (Mainz)
- Saxony (Dresden)
- Thuringia (Erfurt)
- Schleswig-Holstein (Kiel)
- Saarland (Saarbrücken)
- Berlin (Berlin)
- Hamburg (Hamburg)
- Bremen (Bremen)
- In 2005, Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor.