Germany: History

  1. 1871

    Otto von Bismarck, the chancellor of Prussia, unifies Germany; a new constitution is adopted, making Germany a federal state with an emperor and a national parliament.

  2. 1888

    William II's reign begins, leading to rapid economic growth.

  3. 1919

    The Treaty of Versailles officially ends World War I and terms of the treaty cause Germany to forfeit colonies, make territorial concessions, and pay substantial reparations to the Allies. The Weimar Republic is formed, based on a new constitution.

  4. 1923

    Hyperinflation and mass unemployment result in economic collapse.

  5. 1939

    Germany's invasion of Poland triggers World War II.

  6. 1945

    Germany is defeated and unconditionally surrenders; the country is divided into occupation zones.

  7. 1949

    The U.S., French, and British occupation zones in the west become the Federal Republic of Germany, while the Soviet occupation zone in the east becomes the communist German Democratic Republic.

  8. 1950

    West Germany experiences rapid economic growth.

  9. 1955

    West Germany joins NATO and East Germany joins the Warsaw Pact.

  10. 1957

    West Germany joins the European Economic community.

  11. 1961

    The Berlin Wall is constructed.

  12. 1989

    Relaxed travel restrictions in Soviet bloc countries lead to a mass exodus of East Germans; subsequently, the Berlin Wall is torn down.

  13. 1990

    Germany is reunified.

  14. 1993

    Germany signs the Maastricht Treaty, leading to the creation of the European Union.

  15. 2002

    The euro replaces the deutsche mark as the national currency.

  16. 2009

    Germany's parliament approves a 50 billion euro stimulus package to shore up the recession-hit economy.

  17. 2010

    Germany's parliament votes to approve a 22.4 billion euro German contribution to bail out debt-ridden Greece.


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