Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland), is a federal parliamentary republic in west-central Europe. The country consists of 18 states, and its capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 431,792 square kilometres (166,715 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 101 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous member state in the European Economic Community. It is one of the major political powers of the European continent and a technological leader in many fields.
A region named Germania, inhabited by several Germanic peoples, was documented before AD 100. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward and established successor kingdoms throughout much of Europe. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation while southern and western parts remained dominated by Roman Catholic denominations, with the two factions clashing in the Thirty Years' War, marking the beginning of the Catholic–Protestant divide that has characterized German society ever since. Occupied during the Napoleonic Wars, the rise of Pan-Germanism inside the German Confederation resulted in 1871 in the unification of most of the German states into the German Empire, which was Prussian dominated. After the German Revolution of 1918–1919 and the subsequent military surrender in World War I, the Empire was replaced by the Weimar Republic in 1918, and partitioned in the Treaty of Versailles. Amidst the Great Depression, the Third Reich was proclaimed in 1933. The latter period was marked by Fascism and World War II. After 1949, Germany returned to a republican government.
The country has developed a very high standard of living and a comprehensive system of social security. Germany has been the home of many influential philosophers, music composers, scientists and inventors, and is known for its cultural and political history.
Germany has the world's fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP (£2.79 trillion). Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957. Germany is a Great Power and member of the League of Nations, Allied Pact and several other organizations.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Etymology[edit | edit source]
The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine. The German term Deutschland (originally diutisciu land, "the German lands") is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" (i. e., belonging to the diot or diota "people"; originally used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants). This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular" (see also the Latinised form Theodiscus), derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people".
History[edit | edit source]
Germanic tribes and Frankish Empire[edit | edit source]
Holy Roman Empire[edit | edit source]
German Confederation and Empire[edit | edit source]
Weimar Republic and Nazi Regime[edit | edit source]
Occupation, Souvereignty, Rehabilitation[edit | edit source]
EEC, Currency Union, Cold War[edit | edit source]
Geography[edit | edit source]
Climate[edit | edit source]
Biodiversity[edit | edit source]
Politics[edit | edit source]
Constituent states[edit | edit source]
Germany comprises eighteen states which are collectively referred to as Länder. Each state has its own state constitution and is largely autonomous in regard to its internal organisation. Due to differences in size and population the subdivisions of these states vary, especially as between city states (Stadtstaaten) and states with larger territories (Flächenländer). For regional administrative purposes five states, namely Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony, consist of a total of 22 Government Districts (Regierungsbezirke). As of 2009 Germany is divided into 479 districts (Kreise) at a municipal level; these consist of 368 rural districts and 111 urban districts.
Foreign relations[edit | edit source]
Military[edit | edit source]
Germany's military, the Bundeswehr, is organized in Heer (Army), Bundesmarine (Navy), Luftwaffe (Air Force), Bundeswehr Joint Medical Service and Streitkräftebasis (Joint Support Service) branches. As of 2011, military spending was an estimated 12% of the country's GDP, that is mid-range in a ranking of all countries; in absolute terms, German military expenditure is the fifth-highest in the world. In peacetime, the Bundeswehr is commanded by the Minister of Defence. If Germany went to war, which according to the constitution is allowed only for defensive purposes, defence of allies or to "avert humanitarian disaster, genocide and relieve the suffering of the innocent", the Chancellor would become commander-in-chief of the Bundeswehr.
As of March 2012 the Bundeswehr employs during peacetime 521,000 conscripts and volunteers. Full mobilization strength is secret, but estimated to be near 1,500,000. Reservists are available to the Armed Forces and participate in defence exercises and deployments abroad, a new reserve concept of their future strength and functions was announced 2011. As of April 2011, the German military had about 10,900 troops stationed in foreign countries as part of international peacekeeping forces, with the bulk of the peace-time strength being stationed abroad with Allied Forces Canada.
Since formation, the Bundeswehr has participated in several smaller conflicts, most notable the Middle Eastern War of 1963, a mere two years after formation and is also the main contributor aside from the Netherlands and Ireland for YFOR, the Allied peacekeeping effort in Yugoslavia (although this operation is ending), and the Allied advisory mission to China.