Portal:German Empire

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German Empire

Wappen Deutsches Reich - Reichsadler 1889.svg
Flag of the German Empire.svg

The German Empire (German: Deutsches Kaiserreich), officially the German Reich, was the historical German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 to the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm II in November 1918, when Germany became a federal republic.

The German Empire consisted of 27 constituent territories, with most being ruled by royal families. This included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, six duchies (five after 1876), seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, and one imperial territory. Although the Kingdom of Prussia contained most of the Empire's population and territory, it played a lesser role.

After 1850, the states of Germany had rapidly become industrialized, with particular strengths in coal, iron (and later steel), chemicals, and railways. In 1871 it had a population of 41 million people, and by 1913 this had increased to 68 million. A heavily rural collection of states in 1815, the united Germany became predominantly urban. During its 47 years of existence, the German Empire operated as an industrial, technological, and scientific giant, gaining more Nobel Prizes in science than any other country.

Selected article

Louis-Frédéric Schutzenberger's "The Exodus" (1872), depicting Alsatians leaving newly annexed Alsace for France.

The Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine (German: Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen or Elsass-Lothringen) was a territory created by the German Empire in 1871 after it annexed most of Alsace and the Moselle department of Lorraine following its victory in the Franco-Prussian War. The Alsatian part lay in the Rhine Valley on the west bank of the Rhine River and east of the Vosges Mountains. The Lorraine section was in the upper Moselle valley to the north of the Vosges.

In 1871, the newly created German Empire's demand for Alsace from France after its victory in the Franco-Prussian War was not simply a punitive measure. The transfer was controversial even among the Germans: The German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, was initially opposed to it, as he thought it would engender permanent French enmity toward Germany. However, the German Emperor, Wilhelm I, eventually sided with army commander Helmuth von Moltke, other Prussian generals and other officials who argued that a westward shift in the French border was necessary for strategic military and ethnographic reasons. From an ethnic perspective, the transfer involved people who for the most part spoke Alemannic German dialects. From a military perspective, by early 1870s standards, shifting the frontier away from the Rhine would give the Germans a strategic buffer against feared future French attacks. Due to the annexation, the Germans gained control of the fortifications of Metz, though it was a French-speaking town; of Strasbourg (Straßburg) on the left bank of the Rhine; and of most of the iron resources of Lorraine.

Selected biography

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany

Wilhelm II (German: Friedrich Wilhelm Viktor Albrecht von Preußen; English: Frederick William Victor Albert of Prussia; 27 January 1859 – 4 June 1941) was the last German Emperor (Kaiser) and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was the eldest grandchild of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe.

Crowned in 1888, he dismissed the Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, in 1890 and launched Germany on a bellicose "New Course" in foreign affairs that culminated in his support for Austria-Hungary in the crisis of July 1914 that led in a matter of days to the First World War. Bombastic and impetuous, he sometimes made tactless pronouncements on sensitive topics without consulting his ministers, culminating in a disastrous Daily Telegraph interview in 1908 that cost him most of his influence.

Selected picture

Berlin, Unter den Linden
Berlin, Unter den Linden, around 1900.

Did you know?

Football at the 1912 Summer Olympics - German squad.jpg
  • ...that Pickelhauben were popular targets for Allied souvenir hunters during the early months of the war? The spiked helmet remained part of a clichéd mental picture of Imperial Germany as late as the inter-war period even after the actual headdress had ceased to be worn.

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Topics

Chronologie of the German Empire
Genesis (1870-1871) :
Affirmation :

German East Africa WWI Patriotic Kolonialkriegerdank donation postcard. "Askari from German East Africa"

Demise (1918-1919) :
Military

Pickelhaube

Deutsches Heer
Kaiserliche Marine
Luftstreitkräfte • Zeppelin
Arts and Culture
Scientists (Nobel Prize)

Adolf von Baeyer

Chemistry : Hermann Emil Fischer (1902), Adolf von Baeyer (1905), Eduard Buchner (1907), Wilhelm Ostwald (1909), Otto Wallach (1910), Richard Martin Willstätter (1915), Fritz Haber (1918)
Physics : Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1901), Philipp Lenard (1905), Ferdinand Braun (1909), Wilhelm Wien (1911), Max von Laue (1914), Max Planck (1918)
Physiology and medicine : Emil Adolf von Behring (1901), Robert Koch (1905), Paul Ehrlich (1908), Albrecht Kossel (1910)
Archeology : Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, German Archaeological Institute, Ernst Curtius, Robert Koldewey, Wilhelm Dörpfeld, Heinrich Schliemann, Ludwig Borchardt, Gustaf Kossinna
Economy
Friedrich Alfred Krupp, Hermann Gruson, Friedrich Bayer, Werner von Siemens
Konzern, Krupp Ag, Rheinmetall, Thyssen, AG Vulcan Stettin, Germaniawerft
Politics
Constitution of the German Empire • German monarchs • Reichstag (Reichstag building), Bundesrat • Reichskanzler (list)
  • Political parties
Social democratic: SPD • SAPD • USPD
Political Catholic : Zentrum
Liberal : NLP • FVP • FSV • DFP
Conservative : DKP • DRP
Symbols
Flag of the German Empire • Germania

States of the German Empire

Kingdoms

Grand Duchies

Duchies

Principalities

Free and Hanseatic Cities

Imperial Territories

Colonies of the German Empire

The German colonial empire (German: Deutsches Kolonialreich) constituted the overseas colonies, dependencies and territories of Imperial Germany. Short-lived attempts of colonization by individual German states had occurred in preceding centuries, but crucial colonial efforts only began in 1884 with the Scramble for Africa. Germany lost control when World War I began in 1914 and its colonies were seized by its enemies in the first weeks of the war. However some military units held out for a while longer: German South-West Africa surrendered in 1915, Kamerun in 1916 and German East Africa only in 1918 by end of the war. Germany's colonial empire was officially confiscated with the Treaty of Versailles after Germany's defeat in the war and the various units became League of Nations mandates under the supervision (but not ownership) of one of the victorious powers.

Proposed Coat of Arms New Guinea 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms Samoa 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms Southwest Africa 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms Cameroon 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms Togo 1914.png
Proposed Coat of Arms East Africa 1914.png
German New Guinea German Samoa German South-West Africa Kamerun Togoland German East Africa

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