• 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. 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.

  • Government allows more than a million asylum seekers from the Middle East and beyond to stay, raising public concerns about crime and public services that far-right groups exploit.


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