Germany: History

  1. 962

    German territories are organized into what is known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.

  2. 1250

    Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen dies, leading to the empire's dissolution into several independent princely territories.

  3. 1517

    Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of the Wittenberg Castle church, leading to a split of German territories between Catholics and Protestants.

  4. 1648

    The Treaty of Westphalia is signed, ending the Thirty Years' war and granting independence to all of the territorial states of the Holy Roman Empire.

  5. 1806

    Napoleon imposes French rule over Germany.

  6. 1814

    The Congress of Vienna replaces the Holy Roman Empire with the German Confederation, a confederation of 38 independent states.

  7. 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.

  8. 1888

    William II begins reign as emperor of Germany, passing policies that lead to rapid colonial expansion and colonial growth.

  9. 1914

    Tensions in other nations caused by Germany's expanding military and foreign policies erupt into World War I.

  10. 1918

    Germany acknowledges defeat and signs an armistice, signaling the end of the war. William II goes into exile.

  11. 1919

    The Treaty of Versailles is signed and agreed upon, forcing Germany to give up its colonies and pay war reparations. This effectively ends the German Empire and starts the Weimar Republic, which is based on a new constitution.

  12. 1923

    Germany's economy collapses due to hyperinflation.

  13. 1933

    Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany, and the Weimar Republic becomes a one-party state. The Third Reich is proclaimed.

  14. 1939

    Germany invades Poland, instigating World War II.

  15. 1945

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

  16. 1949

    The West part of Germany becomes the Federal Republic of Germany, and the East becomes the German Democratic Republic, a communist state.

  17. 1950

    Germany begins a period of fast economic growth.

  18. 1955

    West Germany joins NATO and East Germany becomes part of the Warsaw Pact.

  19. 1957

    West Germany joins the European Economic community.

  20. 1961

    The Berlin Wall is built.

  21. 1973

    West and East Germany join the United Nations.

  22. 1989

    The Berlin Wall is torn down, and Germany is unified.

  23. 1993

    Germany joins the Maastricht Treaty and the European Union.

  24. 2002

    The Euro becomes the national currency.


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