Germans (German: Deutsche) are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe, who share a common German ancestry, culture and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.
The English term Germans has historically referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages.[note 3] Ever since the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation within the Holy Roman Empire, German society has been characterized by a Catholic-Protestant divide.
Of approximately 100 million native speakers of German in the world, roughly 80 million consider themselves Germans. There are an additional 80 million people of German ancestry mainly in the United States, Brazil (mainly in the South Region of the country), Argentina, Canada, South Africa, the post-Soviet states (mainly in Russia and Kazakhstan), and France, each accounting for at least 1 million.[note 4] Thus, the total number of Germans lies somewhere between 100 and more than 150 million, depending on the criteria applied (native speakers, single-ancestry ethnic Germans, partial German ancestry, etc.).
Today, people from countries with German-speaking majorities (such as Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and other historically-tied countries like Luxembourg) most often subscribe to their own national identities and may or may not also self-identify as ethnically German.
|c. 100 – c. 150 million worldwide|
|Regions with significant populations|
|United States||46,047,114 (descent)|
|German: High German (Upper German, Central German), Low German (see German dialects)|
2/3rds Protestant[note 1]
1/3rd Roman Catholic
1/3rd Protestant[note 2]
1/3rd Roman Catholic
|Related ethnic groups|
|other Germanic peoples|
The German term Deutsche originates from the Old High German word diutisc (from diot "people"), referring to the Germanic "language of the people". It is not clear how commonly, if at all, the word was used as an ethnonym in Old High German.
The Old French term alemans is taken from the name of the Alamanni. It was loaned into Middle English as almains in the early 14th century. The word Dutch is attested in English from the 14th century, denoting continental West Germanic ("Dutch" and "German") dialects and their speakers.
While in most Romance languages the Germans have been named from the Alamanni (in what became Swabia) (some, like standard Italian tedeschi, retain an older borrowing of the endonym, while the Romanian 'germani' stems from the historical correlation with the ancient region of Germania), the Old Norse, Finnish, and Estonian names for the Germans were taken from that of the Saxons. In Slavic languages, the Germans were given the name of němьci (singular němьcь), originally with a meaning "foreigner, one who does not speak [Slavic]".
The English term Germans is only attested from the mid-16th century, based on the classical Latin term Germani used by Julius Caesar and later Tacitus. It gradually replaced Dutch and Almains, the latter becoming mostly obsolete by the early 18th century.
The Germans are a Germanic people, who as an ethnicity emerged during the Middle Ages. Originally part of the Holy Roman Empire, around 300 independent German states emerged during its decline after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ending the Thirty Years War. These states eventually formed into modern Germany in the 19th century.
The concept of a German ethnicity is linked to Germanic tribes of antiquity in central Europe. The early Germans originated on the North German Plain as well as southern Scandinavia. By the 2nd century BC, the number of Germans was significantly increasing and they began expanding into eastern Europe and southward into Celtic territory. During antiquity these Germanic tribes remained separate from each other and did not have writing systems at that time.
In the European Iron Age the area that is now Germany was divided into the (Celtic) La Tène horizon in Southern Germany and the (Germanic) Jastorf culture in Northern Germany. By 55 BC, the Germans had reached the Danube river and had either assimilated or otherwise driven out the Celts who had lived there, and had spread west into what is now Belgium and France.
Conflict between the Germanic tribes and the forces of Rome under Julius Caesar forced major Germanic tribes to retreat to the east bank of the Rhine. Roman emperor Augustus in 12 BC ordered the conquest of the Germans, but the catastrophic Roman defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest resulted in the Roman Empire abandoning its plans to completely conquer Germania. Germanic peoples in Roman territory were culturally Romanized, and although much of Germania remained free of direct Roman rule, Rome deeply influenced the development of German society, especially the adoption of Christianity by the Germans who obtained it from the Romans. In Roman-held territories with Germanic populations, the Germanic and Roman peoples intermarried, and Roman, Germanic, and Christian traditions intermingled. The adoption of Christianity would later become a major influence in the development of a common German identity.
The first major public figure to speak of a German people in general, was the Roman figure Tacitus in his work Germania around 100 AD. However an actual united German identity and ethnicity did not exist then, and it would take centuries of development of German culture until the concept of a German ethnicity began to become a popular identity.
The Germanic peoples during the Migrations Period came into contact with other peoples; in the case of the populations settling in the territory of modern Germany, they encountered Celts to the south, and Balts and Slavs towards the east. The Limes Germanicus was breached in AD 260. Migrating Germanic tribes commingled with the local Gallo-Roman populations in what is now Swabia and Bavaria. The arrival of the Huns in Europe resulted in Hun conquest of large parts of Eastern Europe, the Huns initially were allies of the Roman Empire who fought against Germanic tribes, but later the Huns cooperated with the Germanic tribe of the Ostrogoths, and large numbers of Germans lived within the lands of the Hunnic Empire of Attila. Attila had both Hunnic and Germanic families and prominent Germanic chiefs amongst his close entourage in Europe. The Huns living in Germanic territories in Eastern Europe adopted an East Germanic language as their lingua franca. A major part of Attila's army were Germans, during the Huns' campaign against the Roman Empire. After Attila's unexpected death the Hunnic Empire collapsed with the Huns disappearing as a people in Europe–who either escaped into Asia or otherwise blended in amongst Europeans.
The migration-period peoples who later coalesced into a "German" ethnicity were the Germanic tribes of the Saxons, Franci, Thuringii, Alamanni and Bavarii. These five tribes, sometimes with inclusion of the Frisians, are considered as the major groups to take part in the formation of the Germans. By the 9th century, the large tribes which lived on the territory of modern Germany had been united under the rule of the Frankish king Charlemagne, known in German as Karl der Große. Much of what is now Eastern Germany became Slavonic-speaking (Sorbs and Veleti), after these areas were vacated by Germanic tribes (Vandals, Lombards, Burgundians and Suebi amongst others) which had migrated into the former areas of the Roman Empire.
A German ethnicity emerged in the course of the Middle Ages, ultimately as a result of the formation of the Kingdom of Germany within East Francia and later the Holy Roman Empire, beginning in the 9th century. The process was gradual and lacked any clear definition, and the use of exonyms designating "the Germans" develops only during the High Middle Ages. The title of rex teutonicum "King of the Germans" is first used in the late 11th century, by the chancery of Pope Gregory VII, to describe the future Holy Roman Emperor of the German nation Henry IV. Natively, the term diutscher (German) was used for the people of Germany beginning in the 12th century.
After Christianization, the Roman Catholic Church and local rulers led German expansion and settlement in areas inhabited by Slavs and Balts, known as Ostsiedlung. During the wars waged in the Baltic by the Catholic German Teutonic Knights; the lands inhabited by the ethnic group of the Old Prussians (the current reference to the people known then simply as the "Prussians"), were conquered by the Germans. The Old Prussians were an ethnic group related to the Latvian and Lithuanian Baltic peoples. The former German state of Prussia took its name from the Baltic Prussians, although it was led by Germans who had assimilated the Old Prussians; the old Prussian language was extinct by the 17th or early 18th century. The Slavic people of the Teutonic-controlled Baltic were assimilated into German culture and eventually there were many intermarriages of Slavic and German families, including into Prussia's aristocracy known as the Junkers. Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz is a famous German whose surname is of Slavic origin. Massive German settlement led to the assimilation of Baltic (Old Prussians) and Slavic (Wends) populations, who were exhausted by previous warfare.
At the same time, naval innovations led to a German domination of trade in the Baltic Sea and parts of Eastern Europe through the Hanseatic League. Along the trade routes, Hanseatic trade stations became centers of the German culture. German town law (Stadtrecht) was promoted by the presence of large, relatively wealthy German populations, their influence and political power. Thus people who would be considered "Germans", with a common culture, language, and worldview different from that of the surrounding rural peoples, colonized trading towns as far north of present-day Germany as Bergen (in Norway), Stockholm (in Sweden), and Vyborg (now in Russia). The Hanseatic League was not exclusively German in any ethnic sense: many towns who joined the league were outside the Holy Roman Empire and a number of them may only loosely be characterized as German. The Empire itself was not entirely German either. It had a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual structure, some of the smaller ethnicities and languages used at different times were Dutch, Italian, French, Czech and Polish.
By the Middle Ages, large numbers of Jews lived in the Holy Roman Empire and had assimilated into German culture, including many Jews who had previously assimilated into French culture and had spoken a mixed Judeo-French language. Upon assimilating into German culture, the Jewish German peoples incorporated major parts of the German language and elements of other European languages into a mixed language known as Yiddish. However tolerance and assimilation of Jews in German society suddenly ended during the Crusades with many Jews being forcefully expelled from Germany and Western Yiddish disappeared as a language in Germany over the centuries, with German Jewish people fully adopting the German language.
From the late 15th century, the Holy Roman Empire came to be known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. The Thirty Years' War, a series of conflicts fought mainly in the territory of modern Germany, weakened the coherence of the Holy Roman Empire, leading to the emergence of different, smaller German states known as Kleinstaaterei in 18th-century Germany.
The Napoleonic Wars were the cause of the final dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and ultimately the cause for the quest for a German nation state in 19th-century German nationalism. After the Congress of Vienna, Austria and Prussia emerged as two competitors. Austria, trying to remain the dominant power in Central Europe, led the way in the terms of the Congress of Vienna. The Congress of Vienna was essentially conservative, assuring that little would change in Europe and preventing Germany from uniting. These terms came to a sudden halt following the Revolutions of 1848 and the Crimean War in 1856, paving the way for German unification in the 1860s. By the 1820s, large numbers of Jewish German women had intermarried with Christian German men and had converted to Christianity. Jewish German Eduard Lasker was a prominent German nationalist figure who promoted the unification of Germany in the mid-19th century.
German nationalism became the sole focus of the German Question which was the question of how Germany was going to be best unified into a nation-state. The idea of unifying all German-speakers into one state was known as the Großdeutsche Lösung ("Greater German solution") which was propagated mostly by the Austrian Empire and the German Austrians. The other option, the Kleindeutsche Lösung ("Lesser German solution") only advocated unifying the northern German states without Austria and the German Austrians was supported predominantly in the Kingdom of Prussia. The idea of including the Austrian Empire into a German nation-state was a problem because it included many non-German ethnic groups, as well as many of the areas it ruled had never been part of Germany and did not want to become part of a German nation-state. In 1866, the feud between Austria and Prussia finally came to a head. In the final battle of the German war (Battle of Königgrätz) the Prussians successfully defeated the Austrians and succeeded in creating the North German Confederation.
In 1870, after France attacked Prussia, Prussia and its new allies in Southern Germany (among them Bavaria) were victorious in the Franco-Prussian War. It created the German Empire in 1871 as a German nation-state, effectively excluding the multi-ethnic Austrian Habsburg monarchy and Liechtenstein. Integrating the Austrian Germans nevertheless remained a strong desire for many people of Germany and Austria, especially among the liberals, the social democrats and also the Catholics who were a minority within the Protestant Germany.
During the 19th century in the German territories, rapid population growth due to lower death rates, combined with poverty, spurred millions of Germans to emigrate, chiefly to the United States. Today, roughly 17% of the United States' population (23% of the white population) is of mainly German ancestry.
The dissolution of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire after World War I led to a strong desire of the population of the new Republic of German Austria to be integrated into Germany or Switzerland. This was, however, prevented by the Treaty of Saint Germain and the Treaty of Versailles. In 1930, three years before the Nazi era, there were roughly 94 million people all over the world claiming German ancestry, or about 4,5% of the world population at the time.[note 5]
During the Third Reich, the Nazis, led by Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, attempted to unite all the people they claimed were "Germans" (Volksdeutsche) under the slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer ("One People, One Empire, One Leader"). This policy began in 1938 with Hitler's foreign policy Heim ins Reich ("back home to the Reich") which aimed to persuade all Germans living outside of the Reich to return "home" either as individuals or regions to a Greater Germany. During the war, Heinrich Himmler who was issued with the policy of "strengthening of ethnic Germandom" created a Volksliste ("German People's List") which was used to classify all those living in the German occupied territories into different categories according to criteria by Himmler. The policy of uniting all Germans included ethnic Germans in eastern Europe, many of whom had emigrated more than one hundred fifty years before and developed separate cultures in their new lands. This idea was initially welcomed by many ethnic Germans in Sudetenland, Austria, Poland, Danzig and western Lithuania, particularly the Germans from Klaipeda (Memel). The Swiss resisted the idea. They had viewed themselves as a distinctly separate nation since the Peace of Westphalia of 1648.
After World War II, eastern European countries such as the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia expelled the Germans from their territories. Many of those had inhabited these lands for centuries, developing a unique culture. Germans were also forced to leave the former eastern territories of Germany, which were annexed by Poland (Silesia, Pomerania, parts of Brandenburg and southern part of East Prussia) and the Soviet Union (northern part of East Prussia). Between 12 and 16,5 million ethnic Germans and German citizens were expelled westwards to allied-occupied Germany.
After World War II, Austrians increasingly saw themselves as a separate nation from the German nation. In 1966, 47% people in Austria viewed themselves as Austrians. In 1990, the number increased to 79%. Recent polls show that no more than 6% of the German-speaking Austrians consider themselves as "Germans". An Austrian identity was vastly emphasized along with the "first-victim of Nazism theory." Today over 80 percent of the Austrians see themselves as an independent nation.
Before the collapse of communism and the reunification of Germany in 1990, Germans constituted the largest divided nation in Europe by far.[note 6] Between 1950 and 1987, about 1.4 million ethnic Germans and their dependents, mostly from Poland and Romania, arrived in Germany under special provisions of right of return. With the collapse of the Iron Curtain since 1987, 3 million "Aussiedler" – ethnic Germans, mainly from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union – took advantage of Germany's law of return to leave the "land of their birth" for Germany.
Approximately 2 million, just from the territories of the former Soviet Union, have resettled in Germany since the late 1980s. On the other hand, significant numbers of ethnic Germans have moved from Germany to other European countries, especially Switzerland, the Netherlands, Britain, Spain and Portugal.
In its State of World Population 2006 report, the United Nations Population Fund lists Germany with hosting the third-highest percentage of the main international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 10 million of all 191 million migrants.
The native language of Germans is German, a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch, and sharing many similarities with the North Germanic and Scandinavian languages. Spoken by approximately 100 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and the most widely spoken first language in the European Union. German has been replaced by English as the dominant language of science-related Nobel Prize laureates during the second half of the 20th century. It was a lingua franca in the Holy Roman Empire.
Global distribution of native speakers of the German language:
|Country||German-speaking population (outside German-speaking countries)|
|Canada||450,000 – 620,000|
|South Africa||75,000 (German expatriate citizens)|
|Namibia||30,000 (German expatriate citizens)|
People of German origin are found in various places around the globe. United States is home to approximately 50 million German Americans or one third of the German diaspora, making it the largest centre of German-descended people outside Germany. Brazil is the second largest with 5 million people claiming German ancestry. Other significant centres are Canada, Argentina, South Africa and France each accounting for at least 1 million. While the exact number of German-descended people is difficult to calculate, the available data makes it safe to claim the number is exceeding 100 million people.
German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages, with the most notable authors of the period being Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Nibelungenlied, whose author remains unknown, is also an important work of the epoch, as is the Thidrekssaga. The fairy tales collections collected and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century became famous throughout the world.
Theologian Luther, who translated the Bible into German, is widely credited for having set the basis for the modern "High German" language. Among the most admired German poets and authors are Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Hoffmann, Brecht, Heine and Schmidt. Nine Germans have won the Nobel Prize in literature: Theodor Mommsen, Paul von Heyse, Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Nelly Sachs, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, and Herta Müller.
Germany's influence on philosophy is historically significant and many notable German philosophers have helped shape Western philosophy since the Middle Ages. The rise of the modern natural sciences and the related decline of religion raised a series of questions, which recur throughout German philosophy, concerning the relationships between knowledge and faith, reason and emotion, and scientific, ethical, and artistic ways of seeing the world.
German philosophers have helped shape western philosophy from as early as the Middle Ages (Albertus Magnus). Later, Leibniz (17th century) and most importantly Kant played central roles in the history of philosophy. Kantianism inspired the work of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as well as German idealism defended by Fichte and Hegel. Engels helped develop communist theory in the second half of the 19th century while Heidegger and Gadamer pursued the tradition of German philosophy in the 20th century. A number of German intellectuals were also influential in sociology, most notably Adorno, Habermas, Horkheimer, Luhmann, Simmel, Tönnies, and Weber. The University of Berlin founded in 1810 by linguist and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt served as an influential model for a number of modern western universities.
In the 21st century, Germany has been an important country for the development of contemporary analytic philosophy in continental Europe, along with France, Austria, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries.
Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg, who is credited with the invention of movable type printing in Europe; Hans Geiger, the creator of the Geiger counter; and Konrad Zuse, who built the first electronic computer. German inventors, engineers and industrialists such as Zeppelin, Daimler, Diesel, Otto, Wankel, Von Braun and Benz helped shape modern automotive and air transportation technology including the beginnings of space travel.
The work of David Hilbert, Max Planck and Albert Einstein was crucial to the foundation of modern physics, which Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger developed further. They were preceded by such key physicists as Hermann von Helmholtz, Joseph von Fraunhofer, and Gabriel Daniel Fahrenheit, among others. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays, an accomplishment that made him the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. The Walhalla temple for "laudable and distinguished Germans", features a number of scientists, and is located east of Regensburg, in Bavaria.
In the field of music, Germany claims some of the most renowned classical composers of the world including Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, who marked the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. Other composers of the Austro-German tradition who achieved international fame include Brahms, Wagner, Haydn, Schubert, Händel, Schumann, Liszt, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Johann Strauss II, Bruckner, Mahler, Telemann, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Orff, and most recently, Henze, Lachenmann, and Stockhausen.
As of 2008, Germany is the fourth largest music market in the world and has exerted a strong influence on Dance and Rock music, and pioneered trance music. Artists such as Herbert Grönemeyer, Scorpions, Rammstein, Nena, Dieter Bohlen, Tokio Hotel and Modern Talking have enjoyed international fame. German musicians and, particularly, the pioneering bands Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk have also contributed to the development of electronic music. Germany hosts many large rock music festivals annually. The Rock am Ring festival is the largest music festival in Germany, and among the largest in the world. German artists also make up a large percentage of Industrial music acts, which is called Neue Deutsche Härte. Germany hosts some of the largest Goth scenes and festivals in the entire world, with events like Wave-Gothic-Treffen and M'era Luna Festival easily attracting up to 30,000 people. Amongst Germany's famous artists there are various Dutch entertainers, such as Johannes Heesters.
German cinema dates back to the very early years of the medium with the work of Max Skladanowsky. It was particularly influential during the years of the Weimar Republic with German expressionists such as Robert Wiene and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. The Nazi era produced mostly propaganda films although the work of Leni Riefenstahl still introduced new aesthetics in film. From the 1960s, New German Cinema directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder placed West-German cinema back onto the international stage with their often provocative films, while the DEFA film studio controlled film production in the GDR.
More recently, films such as Das Boot (1981), The Never Ending Story (1984) Run Lola Run (1998), Das Experiment (2001), Good Bye Lenin! (2003), Gegen die Wand (Head-on) (2004) and Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004) have enjoyed international success. In 2002 the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film went to Caroline Link's Nowhere in Africa, in 2007 to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others. The Berlin International Film Festival, held yearly since 1951, is one of the world's foremost film and cinema festivals.
Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles, important precursors of Romanesque. The region then produced significant works in styles such as the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque.
The nation was particularly important in the early modern movement through the Deutscher Werkbund and the Bauhaus movement identified with Walter Gropius. The Nazis closed these movements and favoured a type of neo-classicism. Since World War II, further important modern and post-modern structures have been built, particularly since the reunification of Berlin.
Roman Catholicism was the sole established religion in the Holy Roman Empire until the Reformation changed this drastically. In 1517, Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church as he saw it as a corruption of Christian faith. Through this, he altered the course of European and world history and established Protestantism. The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. The war was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most of the countries of Europe. The war was fought largely as a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire.
According to the latest nationwide census, Roman Catholics constituted 29.5% of the total population of Germany, followed by the Evangelical Protestants at 27.9%. Other Christian denominations, other religions, atheists or not specified constituted 42.6% of the population at the time. Among "others" are Protestants not included in Evangelical Church of Germany, and other Christians such as the Restorationist New Apostolic Church. Protestantism was more common among the citizens of Germany. The North and East Germany is predominantly Protestant, the South and West rather Catholic. Nowadays there is a non-religious majority in Hamburg and the East German states.
Historically, Germany had a substantial Jewish minority. Only a few thousand people of Jewish origin remained in Germany after the Holocaust, but the German Jewish community now has approximately 100,000 members, many from the former Soviet Union. Germany also has a substantial Muslim minority, most of whom are immigrants from Turkey.
German theologians include Luther, Melanchthon, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, and Rudolf Otto. Also Germany brought up many mystics including Meister Eckhart, Rudolf Steiner, Jakob Boehme, and some popes (e.g. Benedict XVI).
Sport forms an integral part of German life, as demonstrated by the fact that 27 million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue such an activity individually. Football is by far the most popular sport, and the German Football Federation (Deutscher Fußballbund) with more than 6.3 million members is the largest athletic organisation in the country. It also attracts the greatest audience, with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending Bundesliga matches and millions more watching on television.
Other popular sports include handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, and Winter sports. Historically, German sportsmen have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games, ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count, combining East and West German medals. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Germany finished sixth overall, whereas in the 2010 Winter Olympics Germany finished second.
There are also many Germans in the American NBA. In 2011, Dirk Nowitzki won his first NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks by upsetting the Miami Heat. He was also named that year's NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.
Germany is a modern, advanced society, shaped by a plurality of lifestyles and regional identities. The country has established a high level of gender equality, promotes disability rights, and is legally and socially tolerant towards homosexuals. Gays and lesbians can legally adopt their partner's biological children, and civil unions have been permitted since 2001. Former Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and the former mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, are openly gay.
During the last decade of the 20th century, Germany changed its attitude towards immigrants. Until the mid-1990s the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration, even though about 20% of the population were of non-German origin. Today the government and a majority of the German society are acknowledging that immigrants from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds are part of the German society and that controlled immigration should be initiated based on qualification standards.
Since the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the internal and external evaluation of Germany's national image has changed. In the annual Nation Brands Index global survey, Germany became significantly and repeatedly more highly ranked after the tournament. People in 20 different states assessed the country's reputation in terms of culture, politics, exports, its people and its attractiveness to tourists, immigrants and investments. Germany has been named the world's second most valued nation among 50 countries in 2010. Another global opinion poll, for the BBC, revealed that Germany is recognised for the most positive influence in the world in 2010. A majority of 59% have a positive view of the country, while 14% have a negative view.
With an expenditure of €67 billion on international travel in 2008, Germans spent more money on travel than any other country. The most visited destinations were Spain, Italy and Austria.
The event of the Protestant Reformation and the politics that ensued has been cited as the origins of German identity that arose in response to the spread of a common German language and literature. Early German national culture was developed through literary and religious figures including Martin Luther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. The concept of a German nation was developed by German philosopher Johann Gottfried Herder. The popularity of German identity arose in the aftermath of the French Revolution.
Persons who speak German as their first language, look German and whose families have lived in Germany for generations are considered "most German", followed by categories of diminishing Germanness such as Aussiedler (people of German ancestry whose families have lived in Eastern Europe but who have returned to Germany), Restdeutsche (people living in lands that have historically belonged to Germany but which is currently outside of Germany), Auswanderer (people whose families have emigrated from Germany and who still speak German), German speakers in German-speaking nations such as Austrians, and finally people of German emigrant background who no longer speak German.
Pan-Germanism's origins began in the early 19th century following the Napoleonic Wars. The wars launched a new movement that was born in France itself during the French Revolution. Nationalism during the 19th century threatened the old aristocratic regimes. Many ethnic groups of Central and Eastern Europe had been divided for centuries, ruled over by the old Monarchies of the Romanovs and the Habsburgs. Germans, for the most part, had been a loose and disunited people since the Reformation when the Holy Roman Empire was shattered into a patchwork of states. The new German nationalists, mostly young reformers such as Johann Tillmann of East Prussia, sought to unite all the German-speaking and ethnic-German (Volksdeutsche) people.
By the 1860s the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire were the two most powerful nations dominated by German-speaking elites. Both sought to expand their influence and territory. The Austrian Empire – like the Holy Roman Empire – was a multi-ethnic state, but German-speaking people there did not have an absolute numerical majority; the creation of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was one result of the growing nationalism of other ethnicities especially the Hungarians in Austrian territory. Prussia under Otto von Bismarck would eventually ride on the coat-tails of nationalism to unite all of modern-day Germany. Following several wars, most notably the German war in 1866 between the two most powerful German states, Austria and Prussia, with the latter being victorious, the German Empire ("Second Reich") was created in 1871 as "Little Germany" without Austria following the proclamation of Wilhelm I as head of a union of German-speaking states, while disregarding millions of its non-German subjects who desired self-determination from German rule.
The creation of the multi-ethnic Austria-Hungary empire created strong ethnic conflict between the different ethnicities of the empire. German nationalism in Austria grew among all social circles of the empire, many wanted to be unified with the German Reich to form a Greater Germany and wanted policies to be carried out to enforce their German ethnic identity rejecting any Austrian pan-ethnic identity. Many German Austrians felt annoyed that they were excluded from the German Empire since it included various non-German ethnic groups. Prominent Austrian pan-Germans such as Georg Ritter von Schönerer created pan-German movements which demanded the annexation of all ethnic German territories. Members of such movements often wore blue cornflowers, known to be the favourite flower of German Emperor William I, in their buttonholes, along with cockades in the German national colours (black, red, and yellow). Both symbols were temporarily banned in Austrian schools. Populists such as the Viennese major Karl Lueger used anti-semitism and pan-Germanism for their own political purposes. Despite Bismarck's victory over Austria in 1866 which ultimately excluded Austria and the German Austrians from the Reich, many Austrian pan-Germans idolized him.
Following the defeat in World War I, influence of German-speaking elites over Central and Eastern Europe was greatly limited. At the Treaty of Versailles Germany was substantially reduced in size. Austria-Hungary was split up. The former German-speaking areas of Austria-Hungary was reduced to a rump state called the "Republic of German-Austria" (German: Deutschösterreich). On November 12, the National Assembly declared the rump state a republic and Social Democrat Karl Renner as provisional chancellor. On the same day, it drafted a provisional constitution which stated that "German-Austria is a democratic republic" (Article 1) and "German-Austria is an integral part of the German reich" (Article 2) with the hope of joining Germany. The name "German-Austria" and union with Germany were forbidden by the Treaty of Saint-Germain and the Treaty of Versailles. German-Austria lost the territories of the Sudetenland and German Bohemia to Czechoslovakia, South Tyrol to Italy, and southern Carinthia and Styria to Yugoslavia and the rump state was renamed "Republic of Austria". With these changes, the era of the First Austrian Republic began. These events are sometimes considered to be a pre-Anschluss attempt.
During the 1920s, the constitutions of both the First Austrian Republic and the Weimar Republic included the goal of union between the two countries which was supported by all different political parties. In the early 1930s, before the Nazis seized power, popularity for union between Austria and Germany remained strong and the Austrian government looked at the possibility of a customs union with Germany in 1931 but this was stopped by French opposition. In 1933, after Austrian-born Hitler came to power, support for an Anschluss grew. The Austrofascism era of Dollfuss/Schuschnigg between 1934-1938 accepted that Austrians were Germans and that Austria was a "German state" but was strongly opposed to Hitler's desire to annex Austria to the Third Reich and wished for Austria to remain independent.
The Heim ins Reich initiative (German: literally Home into the Reich, meaning Back to Reich, see Reich) was a policy pursued by Nazi Germany which attempted to convince people of German descent living outside of Germany (such as Sudetenland) that they should strive to bring these regions "home" into a greater Germany. This policy began in 1938 on 12 March when Hitler annexed Austria to the Third Reich.
World War II brought about the decline of Pan-Germanism, much as World War I had led to the demise of Pan-Slavism. The Germans in Central and Eastern Europe fled and were expelled, parts of Germany itself were devastated, and the country was divided, firstly into Russian, French, American, and British zones and then into West Germany and East Germany.
Germany suffered even larger territorial losses than it did in the First World War, with huge portions of eastern Germany directly annexed by the Soviet Union and Poland. The scale of the Germans' defeat was unprecedented. Nationalism and Pan-Germanism became almost taboo because they had been used so destructively by the Nazis. Indeed, the word "Volksdeutscher" in reference to ethnic Germans naturalized during WWII later developed into a mild epithet.
From the 1960s, Germany also saw increasing immigration, especially from Turkey, under an official programme aimed at encouraging "Gastarbeiter" or guestworkers to the country to provide labour during the post-war economic boom years. Although it had been expected that such workers would return home, many settled in Germany, with their descendants becoming German citizens.
However, German reunification in 1990 revived the old debates. The fear of nationalistic misuse of Pan-Germanism nevertheless remains strong. But the overwhelming majority of Germans today are not chauvinistic in nationalism, but in 2006 and again in 2010, the German National Football Team won third place in the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups, ignited a positive scene of German pride, enhanced by success in sport.
For decades after the Second World War, any national symbol or expression was a taboo. However, the Germans are becoming increasingly patriotic. During a study in 2009, in which some 2,000 German citizens age 14 and upwards filled out a questionnaire, nearly 60% of those surveyed agreed with the sentiment "I'm proud to be German." And 78%, if free to choose their nation, would opt for German nationality with "near or absolute certainty". Another study in 2009, carried out by the Identity Foundation in Düsseldorf, showed that 73% of the Germans were proud of their country, twice more than 8 years earlier. According to Eugen Buss, a sociology professor at the University of Hohenheim, there's an ongoing normalisation and more and more Germans are becoming openly proud of their country.
In the midst of the European sovereign-debt crisis, Radek Sikorski, Poland's Foreign Minister, stated in November 2011, "I will probably be the first Polish foreign minister in history to say so, but here it is: I fear German power less than I am beginning to fear German inactivity. You have become Europe's indispensable nation." According to Jacob Heilbrunn, a senior editor at The National Interest, such a statement is unprecedented when taking into consideration Germany's history. "This was an extraordinary statement from a top official of a nation that was ravaged by Germany during World War II. And it reflects a profound shift taking place throughout Germany and Europe about Berlin's position at the center of the Continent." Heilbrunn believes that the adage, "what was good for Germany was bad for the European Union" has been supplanted by a new mentality—what is in the interest of Germany is also in the interest of its neighbors. The evolution in Germany's national identity stems from focusing less on its Nazi past and more on its Prussian history, which many Germans believe was betrayed—and not represented—by Nazism. The evolution is further precipitated by Germany's conspicuous position as Europe's strongest economy. Indeed, this German sphere of influence has been welcomed by the countries that border it, as demonstrated by Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski's effusive praise for his country's western neighbor. This shift in thinking is boosted by a newer generation of Germans who see World War II as a distant memory.
Argentina has an estimated 2017 population of 44.27 million ... about 8% are descended from German immigrants
Spanish: Hoy, el perfil de los alemanes residentes aquí es distinto y ya no tienen el peso numérico que alguna vez alcanzaron. En los años 40 y 50 eran en Chile el segundo mayor grupo de extranjeros, representando el 13% (13.000 alemanes). Según el último censo de 2002, en cambio, están en el octavo lugar: son sólo 5.500 personas, lo que equivale al 5% de los foráneos. Sin embargo, la colonia formada por familias de origen alemán es activa y numerosa. Según explica Karla Berndt, gerente de comunicaciones de la Cámara Chileno-Alemana de Comercio (Camchal), los descendientes suman 500.000. Concentrados en el sur y centro del país, donde encuentran un clima más afín, su red de instituciones es amplia. 'Hay clínicas, clubes, una Liga Chileno-Alemana, compañías de bomberos y un periódico semanal en alemán llamado Cóndor. Chile es el lugar en el que se concentra el mayor número de colegios alemanes, 24, lo que es mucho para un país tan chico de sólo 16 millones de habitantes', relata Berndt.
English: Today, the profile of the Germans living here is different and no longer have the numerical weight they once reached. In the 1940s and 1950s they were in Chile's second largest foreign group, accounting for 13% (13,000 Germans). According to the last census in 2002, however, they are in eighth place: they are only 5,500 people, equivalent to 3% of foreigners. However, the colony of families of German origin is active and numerous. According to Karla Berndt, communications manager for the German-Chilean Chamber of Commerce (Camchal), descendants totaled 500,000. Concentrated in the south and center of the country, where they find a more congenial climate, its network of institutions is wide. 'There are clinics, clubs, a Chilean-German League, fire companies and a German weekly newspaper called Condor. Chile is the place in which the largest number of German schools, 24 which is a lot for such a small country of only 16 million people', says Berndt.
Immigrés : 78 000 ; 1ère génération née en France : 129 000 ; 2ème génération née en France : 230 000 ; Total : 437 000
90 000 svenskar bor i Norge
Germans are a Germanic (or Teutonic) people that are indigenous to Central Europe
The Germanic [peoples] still include: Englishmen, Dutchmen, Germans, Danes, Swedes, Saxons. Therefore, [in the same way] as Poles, Russians, Czechs, Serbs, Croats, Bulgarians belong to the Slavic [peoples]...
Dutch quite often refers to German (because of the similarity in sound between Dutch and Deutsch) and sometimes even Scandinavians and other Germanic people.
Los cien mil miembros de esta comunidad anabaptista, establecida en Chihuahua desde 1922, se plantean emigrar a la república rusa de Tartaristán, que se ofrece a acogerlos
The Baltic Germans (German: Deutsch-Balten or Deutschbalten, later Baltendeutsche) are ethnic German inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in what today are Estonia and Latvia. Since their expulsion from Estonia and Latvia and resettlement during the upheavals and aftermath of the Second World War, Baltic Germans have markedly declined as a geographically determined ethnic group. The largest groups of present-day descendants of the Baltic Germans are found in Germany and Canada. It is estimated that several thousand still reside in Latvia and Estonia.
For centuries Baltic Germans and the Baltic nobility constituted a ruling class over native non-German serfs. The emerging Baltic-German middle class was mostly urban and professional.
In the 12th and 13th centuries Catholic Germans, both traders and crusaders (see Ostsiedlung), began settling in the eastern Baltic territories. After the Livonian Crusade, they assumed control of government, politics, economics, education and culture of these lands, ruling for more than 700 years until 1918 — usually in alliance with Polish, Swedish or Russian overlords. With the decline of Latin, German became the language of all official documents, commerce, education and government.
At first the majority of German settlers lived in small cities and military castles. Their elite formed the Baltic nobility, acquiring large rural estates and comprising the social, commercial, political and cultural elite of Latvia and Estonia for several centuries. After 1710 many of these men increasingly took high positions in the military, political and civilian life of the Russian Empire, particularly in Saint Petersburg. Baltic Germans held citizenship in the Russian Empire until the Revolution of 1918. They then held Estonian or Latvian citizenship until the occupation and later annexation of these areas by the Soviet Union in 1939–1940.
The Baltic German population never surpassed more than 10% of the total population. In 1881 there were 180,000 Baltic Germans in Russia's Baltic provinces, but by 1914 this number had declined to 162,000. In 1881 there were approximately 46,700 Germans in Estonia (5.3% of the population). According to the Russian Empire Census of 1897, there were 120,191 Germans in Latvia, or 6.2% of the population.Baltic German history and presence in the Baltics came to an end in late 1939, following the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and the subsequent Nazi–Soviet population transfers. Almost all the Baltic Germans were resettled by Nazi Germany under the Heim ins Reich program into the newly formed Reichsgaue of Wartheland and Danzig-West Prussia (on the territory of the occupied Second Polish Republic). In 1945, most ethnic Germans were expelled from these lands by the Soviet army. Resettlement was planned for the territory remaining to Germany under terms of the border changes promulgated at the Potsdam Conference, i.e. west of the Oder–Neisse line, or elsewhere in the world.
Ethnic Germans from East Prussia and Lithuania are sometimes incorrectly considered Baltic Germans for reasons of cultural, linguistic, and historical affinities. But the Germans of East Prussia held Prussian, and after 1871, German citizenship, because the territory they lived in was part of the Kingdom of Prussia.Battle of France
The Battle of France, also known as the Fall of France, was the German invasion of France and the Low Countries during the Second World War. In the six weeks from 10 May 1940, German forces defeated Allied forces by mobile operations and conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, bringing land operations on the Western Front to an end until 6 June 1944. Italy entered the war on 10 June 1940 and invaded France over the Alps.
In Fall Gelb (Case Yellow), German armoured units pushed through the Ardennes and then along the Somme valley, cutting off and surrounding the Allied units that had advanced into Belgium, to meet the expected German invasion. When British, Belgian and French forces were pushed back to the sea by the mobile and well-organised German operation, the British evacuated the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and French divisions from Dunkirk in Operation Dynamo.
German forces began Fall Rot (Case Red) on 5 June. The sixty remaining French divisions and two British divisions made a determined resistance but were unable to overcome the German air superiority and armoured mobility. German tanks outflanked the Maginot Line and pushed deep into France, occupying Paris unopposed on 14 June. After the flight of the French government and the collapse of the French army, German commanders met with French officials on 18 June to negotiate an end to hostilities.
On 22 June, the Second Armistice at Compiègne was signed by France and Germany. The neutral Vichy government led by Marshal Philippe Pétain superseded the Third Republic and Germany occupied the north and west coasts of France and their hinterlands. Italy took control of a small occupation zone in the south-east and the Vichy regime retained the unoccupied territory in the south, known as the zone libre. In November 1942, the Germans occupied the zone under Case Anton (Fall Anton), until the Allied liberation in 1944.Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) was the largest confrontation of World War II, in which Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad (now Volgograd) in Southern Russia.
Marked by fierce close quarters combat and direct assaults on civilians in air raids, it was the largest (nearly 2.2 million personnel) and bloodiest (1.8–2 million killed, wounded or captured) battle in the history of warfare. After their defeat at Stalingrad, the German High Command had to withdraw vast military forces from the Western Front to replace their losses.The German offensive to capture Stalingrad began in August 1942, using the 6th Army and elements of the 4th Panzer Army. The attack was supported by intensive Luftwaffe bombing that reduced much of the city to rubble. The fighting degenerated into house-to-house fighting; both sides poured reinforcements into the city. By mid-November 1942, the Germans had pushed the Soviet defenders back at great cost into narrow zones along the west bank of the Volga River.
On 19 November 1942, the Red Army launched Operation Uranus, a two-pronged attack targeting the weaker Romanian and Hungarian armies protecting the German 6th Army's flanks. The Axis forces on the flanks were overrun and the 6th Army was cut off and surrounded in the Stalingrad area. Adolf Hitler ordered that the army stay in Stalingrad and make no attempt to break out; instead, attempts were made to supply the army by air and to break the encirclement from the outside. Heavy fighting continued for another two months. By the beginning of February 1943, the Axis forces in Stalingrad had exhausted their ammunition and food. The remaining units of the 6th Army surrendered. The battle lasted five months, one week and three days.Battle of Verdun
The Battle of Verdun (French: Bataille de Verdun [bataj də vɛʁdœ̃]; German: Schlacht um Verdun [ʃlaxt ʔʊm ˈvɛɐ̯dœ̃]), fought from 21 February to 18 December 1916, the longest battle of the First World War was fought on the Western Front between the German and French armies. The battle took place on the hills north of Verdun-sur-Meuse in north-eastern France. The German 5th Army attacked the defences of the Fortified Region of Verdun (RFV, Région Fortifiée de Verdun) and those of the French Second Army on the right bank of the Meuse. Inspired by the experience of the Second Battle of Champagne in 1915, the Germans planned to capture the Meuse Heights, an excellent defensive position with good observation for artillery-fire on Verdun. The Germans hoped that the French would commit their strategic reserve to recapture the position and suffer catastrophic losses in a battle of annihilation, at little cost to the Germans, dug in on tactically advantageous positions on the heights.
Poor weather delayed the beginning of the attack until 21 February but the Germans captured Fort Douaumont in the first three days of the offensive. The German advance slowed in the next few days, despite inflicting many French casualties. By 6 March, 20 1⁄2 French divisions were in the RFV and a more extensive defence in depth had been constructed. Pétain ordered that no withdrawals were to be made and that counter-attacks were to be conducted, despite the exposure of French infantry to German artillery-fire. By 29 March, French artillery on the west bank had begun a constant bombardment of German positions on the east bank, which caused many German infantry casualties.
In March, the German offensive was extended to the left (west) bank of the Meuse, to gain observation of the ground from which French artillery had been firing over the river. The Germans were able to advance at first but French reinforcements contained the attacks short of their objectives. In early May, the Germans changed tactics again and made local attacks and counter-attacks, which gave the French an opportunity to attack Fort Douaumont. Part of the fort was occupied until a German counter-attack ejected the French and took many prisoners. The Germans tried alternating attacks either side of the Meuse and in June captured Fort Vaux. The Germans continued towards the last geographical objectives of the original plan, at Fleury-devant-Douaumont and Fort Souville, driving a salient into the French defences. Fleury was captured and the Germans came within 4 km (2.5 mi) of the Verdun citadel.
In July 1916, the German offensive was reduced to reinforce the Somme front and from 23 June to 17 August, Fleury changed hands sixteen times and an attack on Fort Souville failed. The German offensive was reduced further and deceptions to keep French reinforcements away from the Somme were tried. In August and December, French counter-offensives recaptured much of the ground lost on the east bank and recovered Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux. The battle had lasted for 303 days, the longest and one of the most costly in human history. In 2000, Hannes Heer and K. Naumann calculated 377,231 French and 337,000 German casualties, a total of 714,231, an average of 70,000 a month. In 2014, William Philpott wrote of 976,000 casualties in 1916 and 1,250,000 suffered around the city during the war.Battle of the Bulge
The Battle of the Bulge, also known as the Ardennes Counteroffensive, took place from 16 December 1944 to 25 January 1945, and was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of Wallonia in eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg, towards the end of the war in Europe. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers' favor.
The Germans achieved a total surprise attack on the morning of 16 December 1944, due to a combination of Allied overconfidence, preoccupation with Allied offensive plans, and poor aerial reconnaissance. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany's armored forces, and they were largely unable to replace them. German personnel and, later, Luftwaffe aircraft (in the concluding stages of the engagement) also sustained heavy losses. The Germans had attacked a weakly defended section of the Allied line, taking advantage of heavily overcast weather conditions that grounded the Allies' overwhelmingly superior air forces. Fierce resistance on the northern shoulder of the offensive, around Elsenborn Ridge, and in the south, around Bastogne, blocked German access to key roads to the northwest and west that they counted on for success. Columns of armor and infantry that were supposed to advance along parallel routes found themselves on the same roads. This, and terrain that favored the defenders, threw the German advance behind schedule and allowed the Allies to reinforce the thinly placed troops. The furthest west the offensive reached was the village of Foy-Nôtre-Dame, south east of Dinant, being stopped by the British 21st Army Group on 24 December 1944. Improved weather conditions permitted air attacks on German forces and supply lines, which sealed the failure of the offensive. In the wake of the defeat, many experienced German units were left severely depleted of men and equipment, as survivors retreated to the defenses of the Siegfried Line.
The Germans' initial attack involved 410,000 men; just over 1,400 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns; 2,600 artillery pieces; 1,600 anti-tank guns; and over 1,000 combat aircraft, as well as large numbers of other armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs). These were reinforced a couple of weeks later, bringing the offensive's total strength to around 450,000 troops, and 1,500 tanks and assault guns. Between 63,222 and 98,000 of these men were killed, missing, wounded in action, or captured. For the Americans, out of a peak of 610,000 troops, 89,000 became casualties out of which some 19,000 were killed. The "Bulge" was the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II and the second deadliest battle in American history.Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer, pronounced [bɛʁˈliːnɐ ˈmaʊ̯ɐ] (listen)) was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany), starting on 13 August 1961, the Wall cut off (by land) West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin until government officials opened it in November 1989. Its demolition officially began on 13 June 1990 and finished in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany.
GDR authorities officially referred to the Berlin Wall as the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart (German: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall). The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the "Wall of Shame", a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt in reference to the Wall's restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize physically the "Iron Curtain" that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.Before the Wall's erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin; from there they could then travel to West Germany and to other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989 the Wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period over 100,000 people attempted to escape and over 5,000 people succeeded in escaping over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin.
In 1989 a series of revolutions in nearby Eastern Bloc countries—Poland and Hungary in particular—caused a chain reaction in East Germany that ultimately resulted in the demise of the Wall. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, euphoric people and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the Wall; the governments later used industrial equipment to remove most of what was left. The "fall of the Berlin Wall" paved the way for German reunification, which formally took place on 3 October 1990.East Germany
East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR; German: Deutsche Demokratische Republik [ˈdɔʏtʃə demoˈkʁaːtɪʃə ʁepuˈbliːk], DDR), was a country that existed from 1949 to 1990, when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It described itself as a socialist "workers' and peasants' state", and the territory was administered and occupied by Soviet forces at the end of World War II — the Soviet Occupation Zone of the Potsdam Agreement, bounded on the east by the Oder–Neisse line. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin but did not include it; as a result, West Berlin remained outside the jurisdiction of the GDR.
The German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany was a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, and the GDR began to function as a state on 7 October 1949. However, Soviet forces remained in the country throughout the Cold War. Until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party (SED), though other parties nominally participated in its alliance organisation, the National Front of Democratic Germany. The SED made the teaching of Marxism–Leninism and the Russian language compulsory in schools.The economy was centrally planned and increasingly state-owned. Prices of housing, basic goods and services were set by central government planners rather than rising and falling through supply and demand; and were heavily subsidised. Although the GDR had to pay substantial war reparations to the USSR, it became the most successful economy in the Eastern Bloc. Emigration to the West was a significant problem – as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, it further weakened the state economically. The government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by border guards or booby traps, such as landmines. Several others were imprisoned for many years.In 1989, numerous social, economic, and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the establishment of a government committed to liberalisation. The following year, open elections were held, and international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany. The GDR dissolved itself, and Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a fully sovereign state again. Several of the GDR's leaders, notably its last communist leader Egon Krenz, were prosecuted in reunified Germany for crimes committed during the Cold War.
Geographically, the German Democratic Republic bordered the Baltic Sea to the north; Poland to the east; Czechoslovakia to the southeast and West Germany to the southwest and west. Internally, the GDR also bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin, known as East Berlin, which was also administered as the state's de facto capital. It also bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989.Flight and expulsion of Germans (1944–1950)
During the later stages of World War II and the post-war period, German citizens and people of German ancestry fled, many being murdered or dying in the process, or were expelled from various Eastern and Central European countries and traveled to the remaining territory of Germany and Austria. The post-war expulsion of the Germans formed part of Stalin's plan, in concert with other communist puppets, to expel all Germans from their lands east of the Oder and those lands which from May 1945 fell inside the Soviet occupation zones.Between 1944 and 1948 about 31 million people, including ethnic Germans (Volksdeutsche) as well as German citizens (Reichsdeutsche), were permanently or temporarily moved from Central and Eastern Europe. By 1950, a total of approximately 12 million Germans had fled or were expelled from east-central Europe into Allied-occupied Germany and Austria. The West German government put the total at 14.6 million, including 1 million ethnic Germans settled in territories conquered by Nazi Germany during World War II, ethnic German migrants to Germany after 1950 and the children born to expelled parents. The largest numbers came from preexisting German territories ceded to Poland, the Soviet Union (about 7 million) and from Czechoslovakia (about 3 million).
The areas affected included the former eastern territories of Germany, which were annexed by Poland and the Soviet Union after the war, as well as Germans who were living within the prewar borders of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Baltic States. The Nazis had made plans—only partially completed before the Nazi defeat—to remove many Slavic and Jewish people from Eastern Europe and settle the area with Germans.The death toll attributable to the flight and expulsions is disputed, with estimates ranging from 500,000-600,000 and up to 2 to 2.5 million.The removals occurred in three overlapping phases, the first of which was the organized evacuation of ethnic Germans by the Nazi government in the face of the advancing Red Army, from mid-1944 to early 1945. The second phase was the disorganised fleeing of ethnic Germans immediately following the Wehrmacht's defeat. The third phase was a more organised expulsion following the Allied leaders' Potsdam Agreement, which redefined the Central European borders and approved expulsions of ethnic Germans from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. Many German civilians were sent to internment and labour camps where they were used as forced labour as part of German reparations to countries in eastern Europe. The major expulsions were complete in 1950. Estimates for the total number of people of German ancestry still living in Central and Eastern Europe in 1950 range from 700,000 to 2.7 million.Flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland during and after World War II
The flight and expulsion of Germans from Poland was the largest of a series of flights and expulsions of Germans in Europe during and after World War II. The German population fled or was expelled from all regions which are currently within the territorial boundaries of Poland, including the former eastern territories of Germany and parts of pre-war Poland.
During World War II, expulsions were initiated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland. The Germans deported 2.478 million Polish citizens from the Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany, murdered another 5.38–5.58 million Poles and Polish Jews and resettled 1.3 million ethnic Germans in their place.
Around 500,000 Germans were stationed in Poland as part of its occupation force; these consisted of people such as clerks, technicians and support staff.The German population east of Oder-Neisse was estimated at over 11 million in early 1945. The first mass flight of Germans followed the Red Army's advance and was composed of both spontaneous flight driven by rumours of Soviet atrocities, and organised evacuation starting in the summer of 1944 and continuing through to the spring of 1945. Overall about 1% (100,000) of the German civilian population east of the Oder–Neisse line perished in the fighting prior to the surrender in May 1945. In 1945, the eastern territories of Germany as well as Polish areas annexed by Germany were occupied by the Soviet Red Army and Polish Communist military forces. German civilians were also sent as "reparations labor" to the USSR. The Soviet Union transferred former German territories in the east of the Oder–Neisse line to Poland in July 1945. In mid-1945, 4.5 to 4.6 million Germans remained on the territories under Polish control. Early expulsions in Poland were undertaken by the Polish Communist military authorities even before the Potsdam Conference ("wild expulsions"), to ensure the later integration into an ethnically homogeneous Poland as envisioned by the Polish Communists. Between seven hundred and eight hundred thousand Germans were affected. By early 1946, 932,000 had been verified as having Polish nationality. In the February 1946 census, 2,288,000 persons were listed as Germans and 417,400 became subject to verification aiming at the establishment of nationality. From the spring of 1946 the expulsions gradually became better organised, affecting the remaining German population. By 1950, 3,155,000 German civilians had been expelled and 1,043,550 were naturalised as Polish citizens. Germans considered "indispensable" for the Polish economy were retained; virtually all had left by 1960. Some 500,000 Germans in Poland, East Prussia, and Silesia were employed as forced labor in communist-administered camps prior to being expelled from Poland. Besides large camps, some of which were re-used German concentration camps, numerous other forced labour, punitive and internment camps, urban ghettos, and detention centres sometimes consisting only of a small cellar were set up.The attitude of Polish civilians, many of whom had experienced brutalities during the preceding German occupation, was varied. There were incidents when Poles, even freed slave labourers, protected Germans, for example by disguising them as Poles. The attitude of the Soviet soldiers was ambivalent. Many committed numerous atrocities, most prominently rapes and murders, and did not always distinguish between Poles and Germans, often mistreating them alike. Other Soviets were taken aback by the brutal treatment of the Germans and engaged in their protection. According to the West German Schieder commission of 1953, the civilian death toll was 2 million. However, in 1974 the German Federal Archives estimated a death toll of about 400,000..
West German government figures of those evacuated, migrated, or expelled by 1950 totaled 8,030,000. (6,981,000 former German territories; 290,800 from Danzig, 688,000 pre-war Poland and 170,000 Baltic Germans resettled in Poland during the war). Gerhard Reichling, a researcher employed by West German government, put the figure of Germans emigrating from Poland from 1951 to 1982 at 894,000; they are also considered expellees under German Federal Expellee Law.German
German(s) may refer to:
The German language, mainly spoken in Central Europe
Something derived from or related to Germany
Germans, an ethnic group
A citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany, or any political predecessor (or part of it), under German nationality law
(historically) Something derived from or related to Germania. While now obsolete, it is still found in old names, translations of Latin and Greek works, and similar material.
Any one of the original Germanic languages, including Proto-Germanic
Any of the historical or modern Germanics
German cuisine, traditional foods of GermanyGerman Americans
German Americans (German: Deutschamerikaner) are Americans who have full or partial German ancestry. With an estimated size of approximately 44 million in 2016, German Americans are the largest of the self-reported ancestry groups by the US Census Bureau in its American Community Survey.. (Due to changes in the way demographic surveys are carried out in the United States English-Americans who are the largest ethnicity group in America have become seriously under-counted due to the new ‘American’ category) German-Americans account for about one third of the total ethnic German population in the world.None of the German states had American colonies. In the 1670s, the first significant groups of German immigrants arrived in the British colonies, settling primarily in Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia. Immigration continued in very large numbers during the 19th century, with eight million arrivals from Germany. Between 1820 and 1870 over seven and a half million German immigrants came to the United States. By 2010, their population grew to 49.8 million immigrants, reflecting a jump of 6 million people since 2000.
There is a "German belt" that extends all the way across the United States, from eastern Pennsylvania to the Oregon coast. Pennsylvania has the largest population of German-Americans in the U.S. and is home to one of the group's original settlements, Germantown (Philadelphia), founded in 1683 and the birthplace of the American antislavery movement in 1688, as well as the revolutionary Battle of Germantown. The state of Pennsylvania has 3.5 million people of German ancestry.
They were pulled by the attractions of land and religious freedom, and pushed out of Germany by shortages of land and religious or political oppression. Many arrived seeking religious or political freedom, others for economic opportunities greater than those in Europe, and others for the chance to start fresh in the New World. The arrivals before 1850 were mostly farmers who sought out the most productive land, where their intensive farming techniques would pay off. After 1840, many came to cities, where "Germania"—German-speaking districts—soon emerged.German Americans established the first kindergartens in the United States, introduced the Christmas tree tradition, and introduced popular foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers to America.The great majority of people with some German ancestry have become Americanized and can hardly be distinguished by the untrained eye; fewer than 5% speak German. German-American societies abound, as do celebrations that are held throughout the country to celebrate German heritage of which the German-American Steuben Parade in New York City is one of the most well-known and is held every third Saturday in September. Oktoberfest celebrations and the German-American Day are popular festivities. There are major annual events in cities with German heritage including Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, San Antonio, and St. Louis.Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa (German: Unternehmen Barbarossa) was the code name for the Axis invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation stemmed from Nazi Germany's ideological aims to conquer the western Soviet Union so that it could be repopulated by Germans (Lebensraum), to use Slavs as a slave labour force for the Axis war effort, to murder the rest, and to acquire the oil reserves of the Caucasus and the agricultural resources of Soviet territories.In the two years leading up to the invasion, Germany and the Soviet Union signed political and economic pacts for strategic purposes. Nevertheless, the German High Command began planning an invasion of the Soviet Union in July 1940 (under the codename Operation Otto), which Adolf Hitler authorized on 18 December 1940. Over the course of the operation, about three million personnel of the Axis powers – the largest invasion force in the history of warfare – invaded the western Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer (1,800 mi) front. In addition to troops, the Wehrmacht deployed some 600,000 motor vehicles, and between 600,000 and 700,000 horses for non-combat operations. The offensive marked an escalation of World War II, both geographically and in the formation of the Allied coalition.
Operationally, German forces achieved major victories and occupied some of the most important economic areas of the Soviet Union (mainly in Ukraine) and inflicted, as well as sustained, heavy casualties. Despite these Axis successes, the German offensive stalled in the Battle of Moscow at the end of 1941, and the subsequent Soviet winter counteroffensive pushed German troops back. The Red Army absorbed the Wehrmacht's strongest blows and forced the Germans into a war of attrition that they were unprepared for. The Wehrmacht never again mounted a simultaneous offensive along the entire Eastern front. The failure of the operation drove Hitler to demand further operations of increasingly limited scope inside the Soviet Union, such as Case Blue in 1942 and Operation Citadel in 1943 – all of which eventually failed.
The failure of Operation Barbarossa proved a turning point in the fortunes of the Third Reich. Most importantly, the operation opened up the Eastern Front, in which more forces were committed than in any other theater of war in world history. The Eastern Front became the site of some of the largest battles, most horrific atrocities, and highest World War II casualties (for Soviet and Axis forces alike), all of which influenced the course of both World War II and the subsequent history of the 20th century. The German armies captured 5,000,000 Red Army troops, who were denied the protection guaranteed by the Hague Conventions and the 1929 Geneva Convention. A majority of Red Army POWs never returned alive. The Nazis deliberately starved to death, or otherwise killed, 3.3 million prisoners of war, as well as a huge number of civilians (through the "Hunger Plan" which aimed at largely replacing the Slavic population with German settlers). Einsatzgruppen death-squads and gassing operations murdered over a million Soviet Jews as part of the Holocaust.Pennsylvania Dutch
The Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsilfaanisch-Deitsche), also referred to as the Pennsylvania Germans, are a cultural group formed by early German-speaking immigrants to Pennsylvania and their descendants. The word "Dutch" does not refer to the Dutch people or Dutch language, but to the German settlers, known as Deutsch (in standard German) and Deitsch (in the principal dialect they spoke, Palatine German). Most emigrated, in the 17th and 18th centuries, to the Americas from within the Holy Roman Empire, which included areas that were later to become Germany and Switzerland. Over time, the various dialects spoken by these immigrants fused into a unique dialect of German known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania "Dutch".
The Pennsylvania Dutch maintained numerous religious affiliations, with the greatest number being Lutheran or German Reformed, but also with many Anabaptists, including Mennonites, Amish, and Brethren. The Anabaptist religions promoted a simple lifestyle, and their adherents were known as Plain people or Plain Dutch. This was in contrast to the Fancy Dutch, who tended to assimilate more easily into the American mainstream. Other religions were also represented by the late 1700s, in smaller numbers.River Lynher
The River Lynher (Cornish: Linar) (or St Germans River downstream from its confluence with the Tiddy) flows through east Cornwall, England, and enters the River Tamar at the Hamoaze, which in turn flows into Plymouth Sound.River Tiddy
The River Tiddy (Cornish: Teudhi) is a small river in south-east Cornwall, the main tributary of the River Lynher. The Tiddy rises near Pensilva and flows south east past the village of Tideford until it joins the Lynher just after passing St Germans. The name of Tideford derives from its location on the river, literally meaning "Ford on the River Tiddy".
St Germans is a historic fishing village situated on the Tiddy just upstream of its confluence with the Lynher. The Quay Sailing Club are based at St Germans Quay. The Tiddy and Lynher rivers are alternatively called St Germans River downstream of St Germans.Sudeten Germans
German Bohemians, later known as the Sudeten Germans, were ethnic Germans living in the lands of the Bohemian Crown, which later became an integral part of the state of Czechoslovakia. Before 1945, Czechoslovakia was inhabited by over three million such German Bohemians, comprising about 23 percent of the population of the whole republic and about 29.5 percent of the population of Bohemia and Moravia. Ethnic Germans migrated into the Kingdom of Bohemia, an electoral territory of the Holy Roman Empire, from the 11th century, mostly in the border regions of what would later be called the "Sudetenland", named after the Sudeten Mountains. This process of German expansion was known as Ostsiedlung ('Settling of the East'). The name "Sudeten Germans" was adopted amidst rising nationalism in the aftermath of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, which was a consequence of the First World War. After 1945, most ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia to Germany and Austria.
The area that became known as the Sudetenland possessed chemical works and lignite mines, as well as textile, china, and glass factories. The Bohemian border with Bavaria was inhabited primarily by Germans. The Upper Palatine Forest, which extends along the Bavarian frontier and into the agricultural areas of southern Bohemia, was an area of German settlement. Moravia contained patches of "locked" German territory to the north and south. More characteristic were the German language islands: towns inhabited by German minorities and surrounded by Czechs. Sudeten Germans were mostly Roman Catholics, a legacy of centuries of Austrian Habsburg rule.
Not all ethnic Germans lived in isolated and well-defined areas; for historical reasons, Czechs and Germans mixed in many places and at least a partial knowledge of the second language was quite common. Nevertheless, since the second half of the 19th century, Czechs and Germans created separate cultural, educational, political and economic institutions which kept both groups isolated from each other. This form of separation continued until the end of the Second World War, when the Germans were expelled.Sudetenland
The Sudetenland ( (listen); German: [zuˈdeːtn̩ˌlant]; Czech and Slovak: Sudety; Polish: Kraj Sudecki) is the historical German name for the northern, southern, and western areas of former Czechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans. These German speakers had predominated in the border districts of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia from the time of the Austrian Empire.
The word "Sudetenland" did not come into being until the early part of the 20th century and did not come to prominence until over a decade into the century, after the First World War, when the German-dominated Austria-Hungary was dismembered and the Sudeten Germans found themselves living in the new country of Czechoslovakia. The Sudeten crisis of 1938 was provoked by the Pan-Germanist demands of Germany that the Sudetenland be annexed to Germany, which happened after the later Munich Agreement. Part of the borderland was invaded and annexed by Poland. When Czechoslovakia was reconstituted after the Second World War, the Sudeten Germans were expelled and the region today is inhabited almost exclusively by Czech speakers.
The word Sudetenland is a German compound of Land, meaning "country", and Sudeten, the name of the Sudeten Mountains, which run along the northern Czech border and Lower Silesia (now in Poland). The Sudetenland encompassed areas well beyond those mountains, however.
Parts of the now Czech regions of Karlovy Vary, Liberec, Olomouc, Moravia-Silesia, and Ústí nad Labem are within the area called Sudetenland.The Holocaust
The Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was a genocide during World War II in which Nazi Germany, aided by local collaborators, systematically murdered some six million European Jews—around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe—between 1941 and 1945. Jews were targeted for extermination as part of a larger event during the Holocaust era, in which Germany and its collaborators persecuted and murdered other groups, including Slavs (chiefly ethnic Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, and Soviet citizens), the Roma, the "incurably sick", political and religious dissenters such as communists and Jehovah's Witnesses, and gay men. Taking into account all the victims of Nazi persecution, the death toll rises to over 17 million.Germany implemented the persecution of the Jews in stages. Following Adolf Hitler's appointment as German Chancellor in January 1933, the regime built a network of concentration camps in Germany for political opponents and those deemed "undesirable", starting with Dachau on 22 March 1933. After the passing of the Enabling Act on 24 March, which gave Hitler plenary powers, the government began isolating Jews from civil society, which included a boycott of Jewish businesses in April 1933 and enacting the Nuremberg Laws in September 1935. On 9–10 November 1938, during Kristallnacht (the "Night of Broken Glass"), Jewish businesses and other buildings were ransacked, smashed or set on fire throughout Germany and Austria, which Germany had annexed in March that year. After Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, triggering World War II, the regime set up ghettos to segregate Jews. Eventually thousands of camps and other detention sites were established across German-occupied Europe.
The deportation of Jews to the ghettos culminated in the policy of extermination the Nazis called the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", discussed by senior Nazi officials at the Wannsee Conference in Berlin in January 1942. As German forces captured territories in the East, all anti-Jewish measures were radicalized. Under the coordination of the SS, with directions from the highest leadership of the Nazi Party, killings were committed within Germany itself, throughout occupied Europe, and across all territories controlled by the Axis powers. Paramilitary death squads called Einsatzgruppen, in cooperation with Wehrmacht police battalions and local collaborators, murdered around 1.3 million Jews in mass shootings between 1941 and 1945. By mid-1942, victims were being deported from the ghettos in sealed freight trains to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, they were killed in gas chambers. The killing continued until the end of World War II in Europe in May 1945.Volga Germans
The Volga Germans (German: Wolgadeutsche or Russlanddeutsche, Russian: Поволжские немцы, tr. Povolzhskiye nemtsy) are ethnic Germans who colonized and historically lived along the Volga River in the region of southeastern European Russia around Saratov and to the south. Recruited as immigrants to Russia in the 18th century, they were allowed to maintain their German culture, language, traditions and churches (Lutheran, Reformed, Catholics, Moravians and Mennonites). In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many Volga Germans emigrated to Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, California, Washington and other states across the western United States, as well as to Canada and South America (mainly Argentina, Chile and Brazil).
After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 during World War II, the Soviet government considered the Volga Germans potential collaborators, and deported many of them eastwards, where thousands died. After the war, the Soviet Union expelled a moderate number of ethnic Germans to the West. In the late 1980s and 1990s, many of the remaining ethnic Germans moved from the Soviet Union to Germany.
History of the Germanic peoples
Early Middle Ages)