Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. Germany's capital is Berlin.
Germany was populated by various Germanic tribes since classical antiquity. It was referred by the Romans as Germania, and much of southern modern day Germany was occupied by the Roman Empire. By the 4th century, the Germanic tribes expanded southward and invaded what is left of the Roman Empire. In the year 800, Frankish king Charlemagne united much of central Europe and preceding the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire, which the German territories formed a central part of the empire.
By the 16th century, Germany became the center of the Protestant Reformation and leading to a series of religious conflicts such as the Thirty Years' War, and the German lands were ravaged. The Peace of Westphalia ended religious warfare among the German states and the German rulers were allowed to chose their own official Christian religion after 1648.
After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire and the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the German Confederation were formed in 1815. In 1871, Germany was reunited under the Prussian-dominated German Empire after defeating France in the Franco-Prussian War. Not unlike the other European powers, Germany expanded its colonial empire and forming military alliances against its rivals. Ultimately, Germany entered World War I on the side of the Central Powers and was defeated. The German Empire was then replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic and forced to pay war reparations.
After becoming economically affected by the Great Depression, and fueled by the German people's bitterness from World War I, Germany fell under the control of the Nazi Party in 1933. Thereafter, the Nazis established a centralized totalitarian state, persecuting Jewish people and other minorities, and began military rearmament. This culminated in World War II as Nazi Germany unprecedentedly conquered nearly all of mainland Europe until its defeat by the Allied powers in 1945. The former members of the Nazi regime were tried for war crimes and their roles in the Holocaust.
Following after World War II, Germany was occupied by the Allies and later divided into the democratic West Germany and communist East Germany. The division lasted into the late 1980's and eventually Germany was once again reunited in 1990 when the Cold War ended.
Points of Interest
- North Rhine-Westphalia
- Lower Saxony