|Official Name||(Federal Republic of Germany) Bundersrepublik Deutschland||Capital||Berlin||Population||82 million||Area||357, 020 sq km or 137, 846 sq mi||Currency||Euro ($1=1.08)||Religion||Christianity||Literacy||100%||Languages||German||Major Cities||Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Colonge, Frankfurt, Leipzig||Climate||Mainly moderate climate|
Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Kiel, Cologne, Magdeburg, Munich, Stuttgart are largest among the 82 cities in Germany. The adjoining map of Germany shows that the country is bound by the Baltic Sea, North Sea, and Denmark in the north, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France to the west, Switzerland and Austria to the south, and the Czech Republic and Poland to the east. The culture of Germany is classic, rich, and evolving. Tourists are awed by the multifaceted life here.
Germany is a federation of the 16 states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia. The country has grown to be Europe's largest economy and a key player in international politics. Germany has survived and thrived despite a long history of political unrest and the two World Wars. In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were formed. In 1990, the two states united with the 'Fall of the Wall' and ever since the consolidated state has strengthened its trade and defenses.
Germany adopted the Euro as its currency in 1999. As a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council, a founding member of the EU, the G8, and NATO, Germany's claim to being a major power is substantiated by the country's advances in the fields of science, technology, and biotech and automobile engineering. The high standard of living and a high level of social security have made Germany a favorite with immigrants. German is the official language and is commonly spoken; however, the presence of a high ratio of immigrant population also makes English, Polish, and Turkish other languages commonly spoken in the cities. German brands such as Adidas have redefined the 'hip and happening' across the globe.
The country's multinational enterprises have taken the world by storm. 500 of the world's largest corporations are German. The government spends a substantial amount of the budget on military and developmental research. Berlin, the capital city, houses the Federal Foreign Office. Germany has diplomatic missions in over 191 countries of the world. With a GDP of over 2, 400 billion Euros and a per capita GNP of over 29, 000 Euros, Germany is the world's largest exporter.
History – surviving the World Wars: The earliest recorded history of Germany is of the Germanic tribes who were the early settlers of the land. The rule of Augustus Caesar in the 2nd century BC saw the beginnings of a power struggle with the Germanic tribes and the Roman monarchy. The tribes had occupied central and southern Germany by 100 BC. The Rhine defined the boundaries of the Roman expansion for over 100 years. The Romans then made an attempt to conquer the Rhine valley but were halted by the victory of the German general Arminius in the Battle of Teutoburg.Holy Roman Empire: In the first century AD, the Romans recaptured German towns and villages on the banks of the Rhine. The Germanic tribes started to move to various parts of Europe in the 5th century. Charlemagne succeeded in uniting large areas of Germany and France in the 8th century. Charlemagne fought long battles with the native Saxons and succeeded in converting them to Christianity and in annexing the territory. He established the Holy Roman Empire in the 9th century. Charlemagne was known for his effective administration but the Germanic tribes never ceased to trouble him. After Charlemagne's death his kingdom saw a period of bitter power struggle. Feuding dukes ruled fiefdoms that broke away from what was Charlemagne's empire.
Power Struggles: The Holy Roman Empire was re-established by Otto I in the 10th century. The united nation did not survive Otto's death. The country again dissolved into small feudal states. Through the 11th to the 14th century, Germany saw a period of dissent, power struggles, and supremacy of the Pope and Roman Church.
Protestant Reformation Movement: The Renaissance movement that swept across Europe in the 14th and 15th century, translated into Martin Luther King's Protestant Reformation Movement in Germany. At the end of the Thirty Years' War in 1648, a number of independent nation-states replaced the Holy Roman Empire.
World War I: Germany saw a quick growth in the economy and culture with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Otto von Bismarck took advantage of Berlin's emergence and made a successful bid at unifying these states into the German Empire in the year 1871.By early 1900s Germany had entered into a Triple Alliance with Hungary and Italy and led them against Great Britain, France, Russia and USA in the World War I. Losing the war cost the country its political and economic strength. A period of uncertainty and political instability ensued in the Weimar Republic as it was then called.
The Great Depression: The Treaty of Versailles in 1919 greatly weakened the country's economic prowess and poverty and unemployment was rampant. The subsequent years saw the rise of the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, DAP, a political party with a radical totalitarian ideology. By 1929, Germany was steeped in the throes of the economic dejection. Economic conditions hit rock bottom very soon as the Great Depression ravaged the country.
The Rise of Hitler: It is at such a time that the DAP, as the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party) came to be known through its leader, Adolf Hitler. Hitler was a determined man, an excellent orator, and an exceptionally ambitious leader. Hitler was appointed the Chancellor of Germany in the year 1933. Hitler popularized his socio-political ideology by advocating racial purity and declaring the German Aryans a superior race. Jews, Roma gypsy tribes, physically challenged individuals, communist, and people from the gay and lesbian community were deemed 'unfit to live' by Hitler and the Nazi Party. The ensuing Holocaust saw the extermination of over 6 million Jews and over 1 million people from the other groups. The Third Reich, as the rule was called, was an era of expansion and anti-Semitism. Hitler styled himself Führer, leader, of Germany, organized the country's social, economic, and military forces in keeping with the party's visions. He seized all legislative and administrative powers of Germany; Hitler had become a force unto himself. The SA and the SS were established to organize Germany into a Nazi state.
World War II: By 1939, Hitler's conquest of Poland led to a conflict with France and Britain. In 1940, Germany had entered into an agreement with Italy and Japan and the World War II raged between the Axis powers as they were called, and the Allied nations including the Britain, USSR and USA. By 1945, Hitler had committed suicide and Germany had been ravaged by a complete defeat. German borders were redrawn.
Independent and united Germany: In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) emerged as separate states with an emergence of great disparity in the socioeconomic conditions. A wall was built in Berlin between the two and the borders were sealed. Economic conditions worsened in the GDR necessitating a break down of the strict sanctions and barriers and the Berlin Wall was demolished in 1990. The country slowly worked its way through economic and social reforms, providing healthcare and welfare to erstwhile GDR. Germany as a country revived and flourished with greater enterprise.