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Context of Germany

 

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second-most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south; it covers an area of 357,022 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi), with a population of around 84 million within its 16 constituent states. Germany borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the west. The nation's capital and most populous city is Berlin and its main financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.

Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before AD 100. In 962, the ...Read more

 

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second-most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between the Baltic and North seas to the north, and the Alps to the south; it covers an area of 357,022 square kilometres (137,847 sq mi), with a population of around 84 million within its 16 constituent states. Germany borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, and France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands to the west. The nation's capital and most populous city is Berlin and its main financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.

Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity. A region named Germania was documented before AD 100. In 962, the Kingdom of Germany formed the bulk of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. Following the Napoleonic Wars and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the German Confederation was formed in 1815.

Formal unification of Germany into the modern nation-state was commenced on 18 August 1866 with the North German Confederation Treaty establishing the Prussia-led North German Confederation later transformed in 1871 into the German Empire. After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the Empire was in turn transformed into the semi-presidential Weimar Republic. The Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a totalitarian dictatorship, World War II, and the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, in 1949, Germany as a whole was organized into two separate polities with limited sovereignty: the Federal Republic of Germany, generally known as West Germany, and the German Democratic Republic, East Germany, while Berlin de jure continued its Four Power status. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community and the European Union, while the German Democratic Republic was a communist Eastern Bloc state and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the fall of communist led-government in East Germany, German reunification saw the former East German states join the Federal Republic of Germany on 3 October 1990—becoming a federal parliamentary republic.

Germany is a great power with a strong economy; it has the largest economy in Europe, the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth-largest by PPP. As a global power in industrial, scientific and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer. As a highly developed country, which ranks ninth on the Human Development Index, it offers social security and a universal health care system, environmental protections, a tuition-free university education, and it is ranked as sixteenth-most peaceful country in the world. Germany is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20 and the OECD. It has the third-greatest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

More about Germany

Basic information
  • Currency Euro
  • Native name Deutschland
  • Calling code +49
  • Internet domain .de
  • Speed limit 0
  • Mains voltage 230V/50Hz
  • Democracy index 8.68
Population, Area & Driving side
  • Population 83149300
  • Area 357587
  • Driving side right
History
  •  

    Pre-human ancestors, the Danuvius guggenmosi, who were present in Germany over 11 million years ago, are theorized to be among the earliest ones to walk on two legs.[1] Ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago.[2] The first non-modern human fossil (the Neanderthal) was discovered in the Neander Valley.[3] Similarly dated evidence of modern humans has been found in the Swabian Jura, including 42,000-year-old flutes which are the oldest musical instruments ever found,[4] the 40,000-year-old Lion Man,[5] and the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels.[6] The Nebra sky disk, created during the European Bronze Age, has been attributed to a German site.[7]

    Germanic tribes and The Frankish Empire

    The Germanic peoples are thought to date from the Nordic Bronze Age, early Iron Age, or the Jastorf culture.[8][9] From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, they expanded south, east, and west, coming into contact with the Celtic, Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes.[10]

    ...Read more
     

    Pre-human ancestors, the Danuvius guggenmosi, who were present in Germany over 11 million years ago, are theorized to be among the earliest ones to walk on two legs.[1] Ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago.[2] The first non-modern human fossil (the Neanderthal) was discovered in the Neander Valley.[3] Similarly dated evidence of modern humans has been found in the Swabian Jura, including 42,000-year-old flutes which are the oldest musical instruments ever found,[4] the 40,000-year-old Lion Man,[5] and the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels.[6] The Nebra sky disk, created during the European Bronze Age, has been attributed to a German site.[7]

    Germanic tribes and The Frankish Empire

    The Germanic peoples are thought to date from the Nordic Bronze Age, early Iron Age, or the Jastorf culture.[8][9] From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, they expanded south, east, and west, coming into contact with the Celtic, Iranian, Baltic, and Slavic tribes.[10]

     
     
    Model of Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in the 4th century

    Under Augustus, the Roman Empire began to invade lands inhabited by the Germanic tribes, creating a short-lived Roman province of Germania between the Rhine and Elbe rivers. In 9 AD, three Roman legions were defeated by Arminius.[11] By 100 AD, when Tacitus wrote Germania, Germanic tribes had settled along the Rhine and the Danube (the Limes Germanicus), occupying most of modern Germany. However, Baden-Württemberg, southern Bavaria, southern Hesse and the western Rhineland had been incorporated into Roman provinces.[12][13][14] Around 260, Germanic peoples broke into Roman-controlled lands.[15] After the invasion of the Huns in 375, and with the decline of Rome from 395, Germanic tribes moved farther southwest: the Franks established the Frankish Kingdom and pushed east to subjugate Saxony and Bavaria, and areas of what is today eastern Germany were inhabited by Western Slavic tribes.[12]

     
    East Francia and The Holy Roman Empire
     
     
    The kingdom of East Francia in 843

    Charlemagne founded the Carolingian Empire in 800; it was divided in 843.[16] The eastern successor kingdom of East Francia stretched from the Rhine in the west to the Elbe river in the east and from the North Sea to the Alps.[16] Subsequently, the Holy Roman Empire emerged from it. The Ottonian rulers (919–1024) consolidated several major duchies.[17] In 996, Gregory V became the first German Pope, appointed by his cousin Otto III, whom he shortly after crowned Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy Roman Empire absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy under the Salian emperors (1024–1125), although the emperors lost power through the Investiture Controversy.[18]

    Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138–1254), German princes encouraged German settlement to the south and east (Ostsiedlung).[19] Members of the Hanseatic League, mostly north German towns, prospered in the expansion of trade.[20] The population declined starting with the Great Famine in 1315, followed by the Black Death of 1348–50.[21] The Golden Bull issued in 1356 provided the constitutional structure of the Empire and codified the election of the emperor by seven prince-electors.[22]

     
     
    Martin Luther (1483–1546), Protestant Reformer

    Johannes Gutenberg introduced moveable-type printing to Europe, laying the basis for the democratization of knowledge.[23] In 1517, Martin Luther incited the Protestant Reformation and his translation of the Bible began the standardization of the language; the 1555 Peace of Augsburg tolerated the "Evangelical" faith (Lutheranism), but also decreed that the faith of the prince was to be the faith of his subjects (cuius regio, eius religio).[24] From the Cologne War through the Thirty Years' Wars (1618–1648), religious conflict devastated German lands and significantly reduced the population.[25][26]

    The Peace of Westphalia ended religious warfare among the Imperial Estates;[25] their mostly German-speaking rulers were able to choose Roman Catholicism, Lutheranism, or the Reformed faith as their official religion.[27] The legal system initiated by a series of Imperial Reforms (approximately 1495–1555) provided for considerable local autonomy and a stronger Imperial Diet.[28] The House of Habsburg held the imperial crown from 1438 until the death of Charles VI in 1740. Following the War of the Austrian Succession and the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, Charles VI's daughter Maria Theresa ruled as empress consort when her husband, Francis I, became emperor.[29][30]

    From 1740, dualism between the Austrian Habsburg monarchy and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated German history. In 1772, 1793, and 1795, Prussia and Austria, along with the Russian Empire, agreed to the Partitions of Poland.[31][32] During the period of the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic era and the subsequent final meeting of the Imperial Diet, most of the Free Imperial Cities were annexed by dynastic territories; the ecclesiastical territories were secularised and annexed. In 1806 the Imperium was dissolved; France, Russia, Prussia and the Habsburgs (Austria) competed for hegemony in the German states during the Napoleonic Wars.[33]

     
    German Confederation and Empire
     
     
    The German Confederation in 1815

    Following the fall of Napoleon, the Congress of Vienna founded the German Confederation, a loose league of 39 sovereign states. The appointment of the emperor of Austria as the permanent president reflected the Congress's rejection of Prussia's rising influence. Disagreement within restoration politics partly led to the rise of liberal movements, followed by new measures of repression by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich.[34][35] The Zollverein, a tariff union, furthered economic unity.[36] In light of revolutionary movements in Europe, intellectuals and commoners started the revolutions of 1848 in the German states, raising the German question. King Frederick William IV of Prussia was offered the title of emperor, but with a loss of power; he rejected the crown and the proposed constitution, a temporary setback for the movement.[37]

    King William I appointed Otto von Bismarck as the minister president of Prussia in 1862. Bismarck successfully concluded the war with Denmark in 1864; the subsequent decisive Prussian victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 enabled him to create the North German Confederation which excluded Austria. After the defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War, the German princes proclaimed the founding of the German Empire in 1871. Prussia was the dominant constituent state of the new empire; the King of Prussia ruled as its Kaiser, and Berlin became its capital.[38][39]

    In the Gründerzeit period following the unification of Germany, Bismarck's foreign policy as chancellor of Germany secured Germany's position as a great nation by forging alliances and avoiding war.[39] However, under Wilhelm II, Germany took an imperialistic course, leading to friction with neighbouring countries.[40] A dual alliance was created with the multinational realm of Austria-Hungary; the Triple Alliance of 1882 included Italy. Britain, France and Russia also concluded alliances to protect against Habsburg interference with Russian interests in the Balkans or German interference against France.[41] At the Berlin Conference in 1884, Germany claimed several colonies including German East Africa, German South West Africa, Togoland, and Kamerun.[42] Later, Germany further expanded its colonial empire to include holdings in the Pacific and China.[43] The colonial government in South West Africa (present-day Namibia), from 1904 to 1907, carried out the annihilation of the local Herero and Namaqua peoples as punishment for an uprising;[44][45] this was the 20th century's first genocide.[45]

    The assassination of Austria's crown prince on 28 June 1914 provided the pretext for Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia and trigger World War I. After four years of warfare, in which approximately two million German soldiers were killed,[46] a general armistice ended the fighting. In the German Revolution (November 1918), Emperor Wilhelm II and the ruling princes abdicated their positions, and Germany was declared a federal republic. Germany's new leadership signed the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, accepting defeat by the Allies. Germans perceived the treaty as humiliating, which was seen by historians as influential in the rise of Adolf Hitler.[47] Germany lost around 13% of its European territory and ceded all of its colonial possessions in Africa and the Pacific.[48]

    Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany

    On 11 August 1919, President Friedrich Ebert signed the democratic Weimar Constitution.[49] In the subsequent struggle for power, communists seized power in Bavaria, but conservative elements elsewhere attempted to overthrow the Republic in the Kapp Putsch. Street fighting in the major industrial centres, the occupation of the Ruhr by Belgian and French troops, and a period of hyperinflation followed. A debt restructuring plan and the creation of a new currency in 1924 ushered in the Golden Twenties, an era of artistic innovation and liberal cultural life.[50][51][52]

     
     
    Adolf Hitler, dictator of Nazi Germany (1933–1945)

    The worldwide Great Depression hit Germany in 1929. Chancellor Heinrich Brüning's government pursued a policy of fiscal austerity and deflation which caused unemployment of nearly 30% by 1932.[53] The Nazi Party led by Adolf Hitler became the largest party in the Reichstag after a special election in 1932 and Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933.[54] After the Reichstag fire, a decree abrogated basic civil rights and the first Nazi concentration camp opened.[55][56] On 23 March 1933, the Enabling Act gave Hitler unrestricted legislative power, overriding the constitution,[57] and marked the beginning of Nazi Germany. His government established a centralised totalitarian state, withdrew from the League of Nations, and dramatically increased the country's rearmament.[58] A government-sponsored programme for economic renewal focused on public works, the most famous of which was the Autobahn.[59]

    In 1935, the regime withdrew from the Treaty of Versailles and introduced the Nuremberg Laws which targeted Jews and other minorities.[60] Germany also reacquired control of the Saarland in 1935,[61] remilitarised the Rhineland in 1936, annexed Austria in 1938, annexed the Sudetenland in 1938 with the Munich Agreement, and in violation of the agreement occupied Czechoslovakia in March 1939.[62] Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) saw the burning of synagogues, the destruction of Jewish businesses, and mass arrests of Jewish people.[63]

     
     
    German-occupied Europe in 1942 during World War II; Germany (Reich) is shown in bold black.

    In August 1939, Hitler's government negotiated the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact that divided Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence.[64] On 1 September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, beginning World War II in Europe;[65] Britain and France declared war on Germany on 3 September.[66] In the spring of 1940, Germany conquered Denmark and Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France, forcing the French government to sign an armistice. The British repelled German air attacks in the Battle of Britain in the same year. In 1941, German troops invaded Yugoslavia, Greece and the Soviet Union. By 1942, Germany and its allies controlled most of continental Europe and North Africa, but following the Soviet victory at the Battle of Stalingrad, the Allied reconquest of North Africa and invasion of Italy in 1943, German forces suffered repeated military defeats. In 1944, the Soviets pushed into Eastern Europe; the Western allies landed in France and entered Germany despite a final German counteroffensive. Following Hitler's suicide during the Battle of Berlin, Germany signed the surrender document on 8 May 1945, ending World War II in Europe[65][67] and Nazi Germany. Following the end of the war, surviving Nazi officials were tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials.[68][69]

    In what later became known as the Holocaust, the German government persecuted minorities, including interning them in concentration and death camps across Europe. In total 17 million people were systematically murdered, including 6 million Jews, at least 130,000 Romani, 275,000 disabled people, thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses, thousands of homosexuals, and hundreds of thousands of political and religious opponents.[70] Nazi policies in German-occupied countries resulted in the deaths of an estimated 2.7 million Poles,[71] 1.3 million Ukrainians, 1 million Belarusians and 3.5 million Soviet prisoners of war.[72][68] German military casualties have been estimated at 5.3 million,[73] and around 900,000 German civilians died.[74] Around 12 million ethnic Germans were expelled from across Eastern Europe, and Germany lost roughly one-quarter of its pre-war territory.[75]

    East and West Germany
     
     
    1947 Germany with the American, Soviet, British, and French occupation zones as well as French-controlled Saarland. Territories east of the Oder-Neisse line were transferred to Poland and the Soviet Union under the terms of the Potsdam Conference.[76]

    After Nazi Germany surrendered, the Allies partitioned Berlin and Germany's remaining territory into four occupation zones. The western sectors, controlled by France, the United Kingdom, and the United States, were merged on 23 May 1949 to form the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland); on 7 October 1949, the Soviet Zone became the German Democratic Republic (GDR) (German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik; DDR). They were informally known as West Germany and East Germany.[77] East Germany selected East Berlin as its capital, while West Germany chose Bonn as a provisional capital, to emphasise its stance that the two-state solution was temporary.[78]

    West Germany was established as a federal parliamentary republic with a "social market economy". Starting in 1948 West Germany became a major recipient of reconstruction aid under the American Marshall Plan.[79] Konrad Adenauer was elected the first federal chancellor of Germany in 1949. The country enjoyed prolonged economic growth (Wirtschaftswunder) beginning in the early 1950s.[80] West Germany joined NATO in 1955 and was a founding member of the European Economic Community.[81]

    East Germany was an Eastern Bloc state under political and military control by the Soviet Union via occupation forces and the Warsaw Pact. Although East Germany claimed to be a democracy, political power was exercised solely by leading members (Politbüro) of the communist-controlled Socialist Unity Party of Germany, supported by the Stasi, an immense secret service.[82] While East German propaganda was based on the benefits of the GDR's social programmes and the alleged threat of a West German invasion, many of its citizens looked to the West for freedom and prosperity.[83] The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, prevented East German citizens from escaping to West Germany, becoming a symbol of the Cold War.[84]

    Tensions between East and West Germany were reduced in the late 1960s by Chancellor Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik.[85] In 1989, Hungary decided to dismantle the Iron Curtain and open its border with Austria, causing the emigration of thousands of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary and Austria. This had devastating effects on the GDR, where regular mass demonstrations received increasing support. In an effort to help retain East Germany as a state, the East German authorities eased border restrictions, but this actually led to an acceleration of the Wende reform process culminating in the Two Plus Four Treaty under which Germany regained full sovereignty. This permitted German reunification on 3 October 1990, with the accession of the five re-established states of the former GDR.[86] The fall of the Wall in 1989 became a symbol of the Fall of Communism, the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, German reunification and Die Wende.[87]

    Reunified Germany and the European Union
     
     
    The Berlin Wall during its fall in 1989, with the Brandenburg Gate in the background

    United Germany was considered the enlarged continuation of West Germany so it retained its memberships in international organisations.[88] Based on the Berlin/Bonn Act (1994), Berlin again became the capital of Germany, while Bonn obtained the unique status of a Bundesstadt (federal city) retaining some federal ministries.[89] The relocation of the government was completed in 1999, and modernisation of the East German economy was scheduled to last until 2019.[90][91]

    Since reunification, Germany has taken a more active role in the European Union, signing the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2007,[92] and co-founding the Eurozone.[93] Germany sent a peacekeeping force to secure stability in the Balkans and sent German troops to Afghanistan as part of a NATO effort to provide security in that country after the ousting of the Taliban.[94][95]

    In the 2005 elections, Angela Merkel became the first female chancellor. In 2009 the German government approved a €50 billion stimulus plan.[96] Among the major German political projects of the early 21st century are the advancement of European integration, the energy transition (Energiewende) for a sustainable energy supply, the debt brake for balanced budgets, measures to increase the fertility rate (pronatalism), and high-tech strategies for the transition of the German economy, summarised as Industry 4.0.[97] During the 2015 European migrant crisis, the country took in over a million refugees and migrants.[98]

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Retrieved 18 March 2020. ^ Mommsen, Wolfgang J. (1990). "Kaiser Wilhelm II and German Politics". Journal of Contemporary History. 25 (2/3): 289–316. doi:10.1177/002200949002500207. JSTOR 260734. S2CID 154177053. ^ Fulbrook 1991, pp. 135, 149. ^ Black, John, ed. (2005). 100 maps. Sterling Publishing. p. 202. ISBN 978-1-4027-2885-3. ^ Farley, Robert (17 October 2014). "How Imperial Germany Lost Asia". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. ^ Olusoga, David; Erichsen, Casper (2010). The Kaiser's Holocaust: Germany's Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism. Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-23141-6. ^ a b Michael Bazyler (2016). Holocaust, Genocide, and the Law: A Quest for Justice in a Post-Holocaust World. Oxford University Press. pp. 169–70. ^ Crossland, David (22 January 2008). "Last German World War I veteran believed to have died". Spiegel Online. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. ^ Boemeke, Manfred F.; Feldman, Gerald D.; Glaser, Elisabeth (1998). Versailles: A Reassessment after 75 Years. Publications of the German Historical Institute. Cambridge University Press. pp. 1–20, 203–220, 469–505. ISBN 978-0-521-62132-8. ^ "GERMAN TERRITORIAL LOSSES, TREATY OF VERSAILLES, 1919". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Archived from the original on 4 July 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016. ^ Fulbrook 1991, pp. 156–160. ^ Nicholls, AJ (2016). "1919–1922: Years of Crisis and Uncertainty". Weimar and the Rise of Hitler. Macmillan. pp. 56–70. ISBN 978-1-349-21337-5. ^ Costigliola, Frank (1976). "The United States and the Reconstruction of Germany in the 1920s". The Business History Review. 50 (4): 477–502. doi:10.2307/3113137. JSTOR 3113137. S2CID 155602870. ^ Kolb, Eberhard (2005). The Weimar Republic. Translated by P. S. Falla; R. J. Park (2nd ed.). Psychology Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-415-34441-8. ^ "PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust". The Holocaust Chronicle. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2014. ^ Fulbrook 1991, pp. 155–158, 172–177. ^ Evans, Richard (2003). The Coming of the Third Reich. Penguin. p. 344. ISBN 978-0-14-303469-8. ^ "Ein Konzentrationslager für politische Gefangene in der Nähe von Dachau". Münchner Neueste Nachrichten (in German). 21 March 1933. Archived from the original on 10 May 2000. ^ von Lüpke-Schwarz, Marc (23 March 2013). "The law that 'enabled' Hitler's dictatorship". Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 27 April 2020. ^ "Industrie und Wirtschaft" (in German). Deutsches Historisches Museum. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2011. ^ Evans, Richard (2005). The Third Reich in Power. Penguin. pp. 322–326, 329. ISBN 978-0-14-303790-3. ^ Bradsher, Greg (2010). "The Nuremberg Laws". Prologue. Archived from the original on 25 April 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020. ^ Fulbrook 1991, pp. 188–189. ^ "Descent into War". National Archives. Archived from the original on 20 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020. ^ "The "Night of Broken Glass"". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Archived from the original on 11 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017. ^ "German-Soviet Pact". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Archived from the original on 11 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020. ^ a b Fulbrook 1991, pp. 190–195. ^ Hiden, John; Lane, Thomas (200). The Baltic and the Outbreak of the Second World War. Cambridge University Press. pp. 143–144. ISBN 978-0-521-53120-7. ^ "World War II: Key Dates". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Archived from the original on 11 March 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2020. ^ a b Kershaw, Ian (1997). Stalinism and Nazism: dictatorships in comparison. Cambridge University Press. p. 150. ISBN 978-0-521-56521-9. ^ Overy, Richard (17 February 2011). "Nuremberg: Nazis on Trial". BBC. Archived from the original on 16 March 2011. ^ Niewyk, Donald L.; Nicosia, Francis R. (2000). The Columbia Guide to the Holocaust. Columbia University Press. pp. 45–52. ISBN 978-0-231-11200-0. ^ Polska 1939–1945: Straty osobowe i ofiary represji pod dwiema okupacjami. Institute of National Remembrance. 2009. p. 9. ^ Maksudov, S (1994). "Soviet Deaths in the Great Patriotic War: A Note". Europe-Asia Studies. 46 (4): 671–680. doi:10.1080/09668139408412190. PMID 12288331. ^ Overmans, Rüdiger (2000). Deutsche militärische Verluste im Zweiten Weltkrieg. Oldenbourg. ISBN 978-3-486-56531-7. ^ Kershaw, Ian (2011). The End; Germany 1944–45. Allen Lane. p. 279. ^ Demshuk, Andrew (2012). The Lost German East. Cambridge University Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-107-02073-3. Archived from the original on 1 December 2016. ^ Hughes, R. Gerald (2005). "Unfinished Business from Potsdam: Britain, West Germany, and the Oder-Neisse Line, 1945–1962". The International History Review. 27 (2): 259–294. doi:10.1080/07075332.2005.9641060. JSTOR 40109536. S2CID 162858499. ^ "Trabant and Beetle: the Two Germanies, 1949–89". History Workshop Journal. 68: 1–2. 2009. doi:10.1093/hwj/dbp009. ^ Wise, Michael Z. (1998). Capital dilemma: Germany's search for a new architecture of democracy. Princeton Architectural Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-1-56898-134-5. ^ Carlin, Wendy (1996). "West German growth and institutions (1945–90)". In Crafts, Nicholas; Toniolo, Gianni (eds.). Economic Growth in Europe Since 1945. Cambridge University Press. p. 464. ISBN 978-0-521-49964-4. ^ Bührer, Werner (24 December 2002). "Deutschland in den 50er Jahren: Wirtschaft in beiden deutschen Staaten" [Economy in both German states]. Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. ^ Fulbrook, Mary (2014). A History of Germany 1918–2014: The Divided Nation. Wiley. p. 149. ISBN 978-1-118-77613-1. ^ Major, Patrick; Osmond, Jonathan (2002). The Workers' and Peasants' State: Communism and Society in East Germany Under Ulbricht 1945–71. Manchester University Press. pp. 22, 41. ISBN 978-0-7190-6289-6. ^ Protzman, Ferdinand (22 August 1989). "Westward Tide of East Germans Is a Popular No-Confidence Vote". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012. ^ "The Berlin Wall". BBC. Archived from the original on 26 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017. ^ Williams, Geoffrey (1986). The European Defence Initiative: Europe's Bid for Equality. Springer. pp. 122–123. ISBN 978-1-349-07825-7. ^ Deshmukh, Marion. "Iconoclash! Political Imagery from the Berlin Wall to German Unification" (PDF). Wende Museum. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 June 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2020. ^ "What the Berlin Wall still stands for". CNN Interactive. 8 November 1999. Archived from the original on 6 February 2008. ^ "Vertrag zwischen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik über die Herstellung der Einheit Deutschlands (Einigungsvertrag) Art 11 Verträge der Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (in German). Bundesministerium für Justiz und Verbraucherschutz. Archived from the original on 25 February 2015. Retrieved 15 May 2015. ^ "Gesetz zur Umsetzung des Beschlusses des Deutschen Bundestages vom 20. Juni 1991 zur Vollendung der Einheit Deutschlands" [Law on the Implementation of the Beschlusses des Deutschen Bundestages vom 20. Juni 1991 zur Vollendung der Einheit Deutschlands] (PDF) (in German). Bundesministerium der Justiz. 26 April 1994. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 July 2016. ^ "Brennpunkt: Hauptstadt-Umzug". Focus (in German). 12 April 1999. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (19 June 2009). "In East Germany, a Decline as Stark as a Wall". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 April 2011. ^ Lemke, Christiane (2010). "Germany's EU Policy: The Domestic Discourse". German Studies Review. 33 (3): 503–516. JSTOR 20787989. ^ "Eurozone Fast Facts". CNN. 21 January 2020. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. ^ Dempsey, Judy (31 October 2006). "Germany is planning a Bosnia withdrawal". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. ^ "Germany to extend Afghanistan military mission". DW. Archived from the original on 4 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020. ^ "Germany agrees on 50-billion-euro stimulus plan". France 24. 6 January 2009. Archived from the original on 13 May 2011. ^ "Government declaration by Angela Merkel" (in German). ARD Tagesschau. 29 January 2014. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. ^ "Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts". BBC. 28 January 2016. Archived from the original on 31 January 2016.
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Stay safe
  •  
    Stay safe

    Germany is a very safe country. Crime rates are low and the rule of law is strictly enforced.

    Violent crimes (murders, robberies, rapes, assaults) are very rare compared to most countries. For instance, 2010 murder rates were 0.86 cases per 100,000 inhabitants — significantly lower than in the UK (1.17), Australia (1.20), France (1.31), Canada (1.81) and the US (5.0) – and they continue to decline. Pickpockets may sometimes be an issue in large cities or at events with large crowds. Begging is not uncommon in some larger cities, but to no greater extent than in most other major cities and you will rarely encounter aggressive beggars.

    If you're staying in certain parts of Berlin or Hamburg around 1 May (Labour Day) expect demonstrations that frequently degenerate into clashes between the police and a minority of the demonstrators.

    Take the usual precautions and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all while staying in Germany.

    Emergencies

    The nationwide emergency number for the police, fire and rescue services is 112 (same as in all EU countries) or 110 for police only. These numbers can be dialled toll-free from any phone, including phone booths and mobile phones (SIM-card required). If you are reporting an emergency, the usual guidelines apply: stay calm and state your exact location, the type of emergency and the number of persons involved. Do not hang up until the operator has received all required information and ends the call.

    There are orange emergency telephones interspersed along the main motorways. You can find the closest SOS-phone by following arrows on the reflection posts at the side of the road.

    ...Read more
     
    Stay safe

    Germany is a very safe country. Crime rates are low and the rule of law is strictly enforced.

    Violent crimes (murders, robberies, rapes, assaults) are very rare compared to most countries. For instance, 2010 murder rates were 0.86 cases per 100,000 inhabitants — significantly lower than in the UK (1.17), Australia (1.20), France (1.31), Canada (1.81) and the US (5.0) – and they continue to decline. Pickpockets may sometimes be an issue in large cities or at events with large crowds. Begging is not uncommon in some larger cities, but to no greater extent than in most other major cities and you will rarely encounter aggressive beggars.

    If you're staying in certain parts of Berlin or Hamburg around 1 May (Labour Day) expect demonstrations that frequently degenerate into clashes between the police and a minority of the demonstrators.

    Take the usual precautions and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all while staying in Germany.

    Emergencies

    The nationwide emergency number for the police, fire and rescue services is 112 (same as in all EU countries) or 110 for police only. These numbers can be dialled toll-free from any phone, including phone booths and mobile phones (SIM-card required). If you are reporting an emergency, the usual guidelines apply: stay calm and state your exact location, the type of emergency and the number of persons involved. Do not hang up until the operator has received all required information and ends the call.

    There are orange emergency telephones interspersed along the main motorways. You can find the closest SOS-phone by following arrows on the reflection posts at the side of the road.

    Ambulances (Rettungswagen) can be summoned via the national toll-free emergency number 112 and will help you regardless of insurance issues. All hospitals (Krankenhäuser) except for the smallest private ones have 24-hour emergency rooms able to cope with all kinds of medical problems.

    Racism

    The overwhelming majority of foreign visitors will never deal with issues of open racial discrimination or racism in Germany. Virtually all cities in Germany are some of the most cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic in the world, with large communities of people from all continents and religions. Public displays of overt anti-Semitism are strictly forbidden by laws that are very much enforced. Most Germans are also very aware and ashamed of the historical burden of the Nazi era and are usually open-minded and tolerant in contacts with foreigners. Non-white visitors may get an occasional wary look in rural areas, but not to a greater extent than in other countries with a predominantly white population.

    This general situation may be different in some predominantly rural parts of East Germany, including the outskirts of some cities with higher unemployment levels and high rise neighbourhoods, e.g., "Plattenbau". Incidences of racist behaviour can occur with a few incidents of violence. Most of these happen at night when groups of drunken "neo-Nazis" or some migrant groups might look for trouble (and solitary victims) downtown or near public transport. This might also affect foreign visitors, homeless persons, West Germans and people with alternative looks such as Punks, and Goths.

    Police
     
     
    Officer from the Hamburg state police

    German Police (German: Polizei) officers are always helpful, professional and trustworthy, but tend to be rather strict in enforcing the law, which means that one should not expect that exceptions are made for tourists. When dealing with police you should remain calm, courteous and avoid getting into confrontations. Most police officers should understand at least basic English or have colleagues who do.

    Police uniforms and cars are green or blue. Green used to be the standard, but most states and the federal police have transitioned to blue uniforms and cars to comply with the EU standard.

    Police officers are employed by the states except in airports, train stations, and border crossings, which are controlled by the federal police (Bundespolizei). In mid-sized towns and big cities, local police (called Stadtpolizei, kommunale Polizeibehörde or Ordnungsamt) have some limited law enforcement rights and are in general responsible for traffic issues. States have a pretty big leeway when it comes to police and their tactics and as most police are state police, there is a marked difference between left-wing city states like Berlin and conservative southern states like Bavaria. As a broad generalisation, police in the north tend to be more hands-off and tolerant of minor misbehaviour while police in the south show more presence and are stricter about the rules, but you may get fined for jaywalking in Berlin just as well. The only major cases of police using violence on citizens (or vice versa) happen during demonstrations and soccer games, but you will notice that by the riot gear and mounted police patrolling in seemingly vastly excessive numbers. It's not advisable to talk to police during political demonstrations or soccer matches as they might construct a case of "Landfriedensbruch" (disturbing the peace) during such events on pretty flimsy grounds, sometimes misrepresenting what you said. Police are armed but will hardly ever use their weapons and never on unarmed people. As firearms are hard to get and a permit to carry one in public is virtually unheard of, police usually do not think anybody is armed unless the suspect brandishes a weapon and are thus unlikely to shoot somebody reaching in their pocket or the likes.

    If you get arrested, you have the right to have an attorney. Foreign nationals also have the right to contact their respective embassy for assistance. You are never obliged to make a statement that would incriminate yourself (or someone related to you by blood or marriage) and you have the right to remain silent. Wait until your lawyer arrives and talk to your lawyer first. If you do not have a lawyer then you can call your embassy or else the local justice official will appoint a lawyer for you (if the alleged crime is serious enough).

    If you are a victim of a crime (for example robbery, assault or theft in public) and wave an oncoming patrol car or officer, it is not uncommon that the officers will (sometimes very harshly: "Einsteigen") command you to enter the back seat of the police cruiser. This is an action to start an instant manhunt to identify and arrest the suspect. In this case remember that you are not under arrest but to help the officers to enforce the law and maybe get back your property.

    German police do have ranks but are not that keen about them; many Germans won't know the proper terms. Do not try to determine seniority by counting the stars on the officers shoulders in order to choose the officer you will address, since such behaviour can be considered disrespectful. Talk to any officer and they will answer your questions or redirect you to the officer in charge.

    Prostitution

    Prostitution is legal and regulated in Germany.

    All larger cities have a red light district with licensed bars, go-gos and escort services. Tabloids are full of ads and the internet is the main contact base. Brothels are not necessarily easily spotted from the streets (outside of red light districts) to avoid legal action by neighbours. Places best known for their redlight activities are Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne.

    Recreational vehicles parked by the roadside in forests along Bundesstraßen (German for "federal highway"), with a red light in the front window and perhaps a lightly dressed woman on the passenger's seat, are most likely prostitutes soliciting customers.

    Due to Germany's proximity to Eastern Europe, several cases of human trafficking and illegal immigration have taken place. Police regularly raid brothels to keep this business within its legal boundaries, and check the identity documents of workers and patrons alike.

    Drugs

    Alcohol may be purchased by persons 16 years and older. However, distilled beverages and mixed drinks with those (including the popular 'Alcopops') are available only at 18. It is not illegal for younger people to drink, but it is illegal to allow them to drink on premises. Youth 14 years and older are allowed to drink fermented beverages in the presence and with the allowance of their legal guardian. If the police notices underage drinking, they may pick the person up, confiscate the drinks and send the person home in the presence of an officer.

    Smoking in public is allowed starting at age 18. Vending machines for cigarettes require a valid "proof of age", which in practice means that you need a German bank card or a (European) driving licence to use them.

    The situation on marijuana can be confusing. The Constitutional Court ruled that possession for "personal use", though still illegal, should not be prosecuted. Germany is a federal state; therefore the interpretation of this ruling is up to the state authorities. In fact charges are sometimes pressed even for tiny amounts, which will cause you a lot of trouble regardless of the outcome. As a general rule the northern states tend to be more liberal while in the south (especially Bavaria), even negligible amounts are considered illegal. The customs officials are also aware of the fact that you can legally buy marijuana in the Netherlands and therefore set up regular border controls (also inside trains), as importation of marijuana is strictly prohibited.

    Even if you get off the charges, the authorities may cause different problems, like revoking your driving licence and if you have more than a few grams, you will be prosecuted in any case. Drugs will be confiscated in all cases.

    All other recreational drugs (like ecstasy) are illegal and possession will lead to prosecution and at least a police record.

    Crimes with date-rape drugs have been committed, so as anywhere else in the world be careful with open drinks.

    Weapons

    Some types of knives are illegal in Germany: this concerns mostly some types of spring knives, "butterfly" knives, knuckle knives and the like — possessing such knives is an offence. Knives that are intended as weapons are restricted to persons over 18. Furthermore, nunchakus, even soft-nunchakus, are illegal in Germany.

    It is illegal to carry any type of "dangerous knife" on your person in public unless you have a valid reason to do so. For example, if you are out fishing you are still entitled to carry a fishing knife. "Dangerous" knives are generally those with a blade length exceeding 12 cm and locking "one-handed" folding knives.

    Carrying any knife beyond a pocket knife (typically Swiss army knives) without any professional reasons (carpenter, etc.) is seen as very rude and unacceptable in Germany. Germans consider knives used outside of professional situations as signs of aggression and do not accept this behaviour. Flashing a knife (even folded) may cause bystanders to call the police, who will be very serious in handling the upcoming situation.

    Firearms are strictly controlled. It is practically impossible to legally carry a gun in public unless you are a law enforcement officer. "Fake" firearms may not be carried in public if they resemble real guns. CO2 and air guns are relatively easy to acquire. If the police find any kind of weapon or firearm on you, you will appear highly suspicious.

    Bows and arrows do not legally count as weapons while crossbows do, but you're certain to get stopped by police openly carrying either. Hunting is only legal with firearms or employing birds of prey and requires a licence with rather strict requirements for environmental and animal welfare reasons.

    Fireworks

    Avoid bringing any fireworks into Germany, especially from outside the EU. Even bringing those can be an offence. Fireworks are traditionally used on New Year's Eve. Most "proper" fireworks (marked as "Klasse II") will be available at only the end of the year; they may be used by persons only over 18 on December 31 and January 1. Really small items (marked as "Klasse I") may be used around the year by anyone.

    Fishing

    Fishing laws differ a lot from state to state. Obtaining a fishing license for Germans and foreigners has become a highly bureaucratic process due to animal protection laws.

    Gay and lesbian travellers

    Germany is in general very tolerant of homosexuality. Nevertheless, like in every country some individuals still may disapprove and some areas are more accepting than others, so use common sense and be geared to the behaviour of the locals around you. In small towns and in the countryside, open displays of homosexuality should be limited.

    The attitude towards gays and lesbians is rather tolerant, with openly gay politicians and celebrities being considered increasingly normal. While some, especially the elderly, Germans inwardly still don't approve of homosexuality or bisexuality, they usually suppress open utterances of homophobia. Therefore, in most cases, display of homosexuality (holding hands or kissing) will at most provoke stares or sometimes comments by children or elderly people.

    Wild animals
     
     
    Wild boar sow foraging with young

    Today, wild animals, although they abound, are mostly very shy, so you might not get to see many. A few wolves in Saxony and Pomerania and a bear in Bavaria have been sighted.

    The most dangerous animal in Germany's forests is by far the wild boar; in particular, sows leading young are nothing to joke about. Wild boar are used to humans, since they often plunder trash cans in villages and suburbs, and their teeth can rip big wounds. Boars are even found on the outskirts of cities like Berlin where they can be found scavenging for food at night. If a boar, particularly a mother with young children, thinks you are a threat to it or its family, it will charge you and it can seriously harm or even kill an adult human by charging. Do not try to outrun a charging boar, but slowly walk into the opposite direction while still facing the animal. Try to climb up a tree if possible.

    The poisonous crossed viper can pose a threat (in the Alpine region and natural reserves), though they are rare. Don't provoke them.

    Rabies is a remote possibility, particularly with foxes and some bats, even though it has been suppressed mostly successfully.

    The most underrated dangerous animals in German woods are ticks, because they can cause several diseases. So you should wear long clothing on outdoor activities in the woods like hiking, in particular offroad, and check yourself for ticks afterwards and carefully remove them. Consult a doctor if you get redness or swelling.

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