• 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.
  • William II's reign begins, leading to rapid economic growth.
  • 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.
  • Hyperinflation and mass unemployment result in economic collapse.
  • Germany's invasion of Poland triggers World War II.

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

  • West Germany experiences rapid economic growth.
  • West Germany joins NATO and East Germany joins the Warsaw Pact.
  • West Germany joins the European Economic Community.

  • The Berlin Wall is constructed.
  • Relaxed travel restrictions in Soviet bloc countries lead to a mass exodus of East Germans; subsequently, the Berlin Wall is torn down.
  • Germany is reunified.
  • Germany signs the Maastricht Treaty, leading to the creation of the European Union.

  • The euro replaces the Deutsche mark as the national currency.

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

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


BBC News open_in_new
Britannica open_in_new