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A Consise History of Germany

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AD 9

Germanic warriors decisively defeated Roman forces at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.


The Frankish king Clovis overran the Roman province of Gaul. Clovis introduced features of Roman life into western Germany.


The Treaty of Verdun divided Charlemagne's empire into three kingdoms. The German kingdom soon divided into five duchies.


Otto I was crowned Holy Roman emperor in Aachen.


A dispute between Henry IV and Pope Gregory VII marked the beginning of a series of civil wars contesting church power.


The Hanseatic League was the supreme commercial and military power in northern Germany.


Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation.


The Peace of Augsburg recognized the right of princes to choose Lutheranism or Catholicism for their lands.


The Peace of Westphalia ended the Thirty Years' War.


Frederick the Great became king of Prussia and began building Prussia into a great power.


The Holy Roman Empire came to an end with the establishment of the Confederation of the Rhine.


The German Confederation was formed at the Congress of Vienna.


Revolutions swept across Germany. The first German national assembly met at Frankfurt in the hopes of creating a more united country.


Prussian prime minister Otto von Bismarck realized his dream of a united Germany as the German Empire was founded.


Germany was forced to accept harsh terms under the Treaty of Versailles that brought an end to World War I. The Weimar Republic was founded.


Adolf Hitler and the Nazis assumed power.


Germany invaded Poland, starting World War II.


Allied armies occupied Germany and divided it into four zones of occupation. Nazi war criminals were tried at NÐ"јrnberg.


Germany was divided into East Germany and West Germany. Berlin, in East Germany, was also divided between the two countries.


East Germany and West Germany became sovereign states. East Germany joined the Warsaw Pact, an Eastern European military alliance. West Germany became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), a Western military alliance.


The East German government built the Berlin Wall.


The Communist government in East Germany collapsed, and the Berlin Wall was dismantled. Thousands of East Germans emigrated to West Germany.


Germany was formally reunified under the government of the former West Germany.


In a close election, Chancellor Helmut Kohl was returned to power for a fourth consecutive term.


Official Name

Bundesrepublik Deutschland

(Federal Republic of Germany)


Berlin, with some government offices remaining in the former West German capital of Bonn


The flag of the former West Germany was retained when Germany was reunified in 1990. The colors were taken from the uniforms of German volunteers during the Napoleonic Wars, and have flown intermittently over Germany since 1848. The black represents gunpowder, the red represents blood, and the gold represents fire.


Third verse of "Deutschlandlied"

("Song of Germany")

Origins of the Germans

Germany was inhabited from earliest times, but it took many millennia of migration, conquest, and intermingling to produce the Germans.

Stone Age Peoples

During the Old Stone Age, the German forests were thinly populated by wandering bands of hunters and gatherers. They belonged to the earliest forms of Homo sapiens, such as Heidelberg man, who lived about 400,000 years ago. Somewhat later more advanced forms of Homo sapiens appeared, as exemplified by skeletal finds near Steinheim, some 300,000 years old, and near Ehringsdorf, from about 100,000 years ago. Another human type was the Neandertal, found near DÐ"јsseldorf, who lived about 100,000 years ago. The most recent type, which appeared by 40,000 BC, was the Cro-Magnon, a member of Homo sapiens sapiens, essentially of the same group as modern Europeans.

During the New Stone Age, the indigenous hunters encountered farming peoples from the more advanced southwest Asia, who were migrating up the Danube Valley into central Germany about 4500 BC. These populations mixed and settled in villages to raise crops and breed livestock. Villagers of this Danubian culture lived with their animals in large, gabled wooden houses, made pottery, and traded with Mediterranean peoples for fine stone and flint axes and shells. As their hand-hoed fields wore out, they moved on, often returning years later.

Bronze Age Peoples

The Bronze Age began in central Germany, Bohemia, and Austria in about 2500 BC with the working of copper and



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