German history spans more than 1000 years, yet the country itself is younger than the United States. Germany was unified as a country in 1871 under the leadership of the Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck. This unification was a pivotal moment in German history, as it marked the beginning of a new era of national identity and geopolitical power.
Following unification, Germany had to contend with surrounding imperial powers that regarded the new country as a competitor in an unjust and skeptical way. This tension led to World War I, a catastrophic conflict that saw Germany pitted against a coalition of powerful nations. The war ended with the Treaty of Versailles, a controversial agreement that imposed heavy reparations on Germany. Not a few Germans had put their hopes into National Socialism to restore the nation´s pride and to drain the supposed treasonous swamp.
In the aftermath of World War II, Germany was divided into two states: the Federal Republic of Germany in the West and the German Democratic Republic in the East. The Cold War saw the two German states become symbols of the opposing ideologies of communism and capitalism, with the Berlin Wall serving as a physical manifestation of the divide.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of Germany in 1990 were historic moments that signaled a new era of German unity.
Today, Germany is is a vibrant destination, a cultural center and an economic driving force in Europe and around the world. Germany is seen as a diverse country but moreover, it is a nation of Germans with different backgrounds who share the love for their homeland. Discover the compelling history of the German nation from the end of the Napoleonic wars to modern Germany.
Background Images / Hintergrundilder:
Anton von Werner. Die Proklamierung des Deutschen Kaiserreichs (18. Januar 1871). Zweite Fassung 1882.
Carl Röchling. The Germans to the front !. 1902
CCO: Bergfried of Wartburg Castle
CCO: Hambach Castle
CCO: Reichstag Building