Germany and Germans may refer to any of the following:
Rise of the ModernsEdit
- German States, a faction in both Rise of the Moderns and Time of War: Rise of the Moderns 2; or
Time of War: 1800Edit
- Prussia; or
Time of War: Rise of Kings 2:Edit
- Teutonic Order/Brandenburg-Prussia
- Westfalen; or
The Age of ConquestEdit
Beyond the ambit of Austria and her possessions in East Europe, Germany was mostly divided into several smaller politically independent entities for most of the Early Modern Era, dominated by a triumvirate of larger kingdoms. Of these, the most important were the kingdoms of Saxony, Bavaria, and Prussia. This condition continued through many centuries until 1870 when Otto Von Bismarck united them under the Prussian Monarchy. Although finally united, various crises and war would challenge German unity, and Germany would not know peace as a single nation until the end of the Cold War in 1991.
Modern Germany's origins can be traced to the empire of the Franks, a Germanic people, which was formed by forcibly uniting various German peoples into a single polity which was later called the "Hoiy Roman Empire" (dubbed so by the Popes of Rome which had been inducted into the empire by the warlike Franks). The Treaty of Verdun created two nations from the Holy Roman Empire by splitting off the western half (which had developed its own dialect based on Latin) into the Kingdom of France, leaving the German-speaking east as the Holy Roman Empire. For this reason, the terms "Holy Roman Empire" and "Germany" were often interchangeable as the northern lands of the Empire housed ethnic German populations.
Although the Empire was somewhat successful as a single unitary polity with authority divided between the Roman pope and whichever German prince proved to be the strongest, by the mid-13th century conflict between Emperor and Pope alike soon resulted in wars which saw the Emperor's line deprived of land and power alike, ushering in the so-called Great Interregnum when the Emperor's ability to keep the empire united was compromised.
The anarchy of the Great Interregnum ended when Rudolf of Habsburg (in Austria) was elected King-Emperor. The Habsburgs with only a few interruptions continued to rule Germany until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. It was by no means a fast recovery nor did it mean the Emperor had any real power, in fact the Habsburgs were more concerned with enriching their family holdings than governing Germany. Some principalities degenerated to no more than robber barons that would rob travelers in their territory in order to sustain their holdings. However by the 16th century Germany. due to its central location in Europe. became extremely active in international trade. Local alliances between various polities saw the rise of the Hanseatic League and Switzerland as a virtually independent state from the Holy Roman Empire in 1499. Intellectual growth in Germany accompanied the expansion and economic empowerment. Several universities were founded during this time, as well as the invention of movable type by Gutenberg in 1450.
The intellectual climate and the changing social-economic condition eventually led Martin Luther, a professor of theology at Wittenberg University in Saxony to post his theses on a church door in 1517 A.D. This set off the Protestant reformation and popularized by the printing press. Martin Luther also translated the bible into his particular dialect of German, which was instrumental in creating a national language for all of Germany. However religious clashes between the Protestants and Catholics were inevitable. Various principalities clung to Catholicism while others promoted the Protestant cause. This resulted in the Thirty Years war in 1618 A.D. France also invaded during this time in their policy to keep the Habsburgs in check, and the Ottomans were also putting pressure on the Germans from the east besieging Vienna in 1683 A.D. However by 1718 A.D. the Germans were ultimately successful in containing the Ottoman expansion concluded with the Treaty of Passarowitz.
After peace was established Austria emerged as the most powerful German state followed by Brandenburg, Saxony and Bavaria.
The Electorate of SaxonyEdit
It was within Electoral Saxony, in Wittenberg, that Martin Luther first challenged the precepts of Roman Catholicism, and it was the Elector of Saxony, Frederick the Wise (1486 - 1525) who protected Luther from the wrath of Emperor Charles V and the Catholic Church after he had been condemned as a heretic at the Diet of Worms in 1521. The nature of the Electoral office held by its rulers throughout this period meant that Saxony played an important role in German and European politics. In many ways, its story is one of shifting allegiances and gradual political and territorial decline, especially after the attention of its rulers was distracted by Poland in the eighteenth century. Culturally, however, it was a true trendsetter, being the residence of some of Europe's finest literary and musical figures. Its capital Dresden was seen by many as the "Florence of the Elbe", with its wonderful baroque and Romanesque architecture. Indeed, it was regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world right until it was more or less destroyed by the British Air Force in early 1945. Elector Frederick Augustus I initiated the production of porcelain at Meissen, and another Saxon city, Leipzig, was a centre of music, literature and scholarship. The mathematician Leibnitz lived there, as did the authors Gottsched, Gellert and Schiller (even the young Goethe studied at the university there in 1765). The great German-born composers, such as Handel and the Bachs, were all born in Saxony.
The Kingdom of BavariaEdit
To the southeast, close to the Austrian border, lay the kingdom of Bavaria, also another politically significant entity in the Holy Roman Empire. Although it was isolated and curtailed in growth during the Middle Ages, Bavaria began to become a political player of global influence during the Reformation. With Catholic Austria (and her Spanish and Burgundian domains) fighting to secure Catholicism, the Wittelsbach family decided to broker a strategic alliance with the Habsburgs, and received many benefits as a result.
Modernisation and reform in Bavaria began with its duke, Maximillian I, who consolidated ducal rule and worked on urban development for his cities, which prior to his rule were little more than rustic backwaters in the mountains. His successor, Ferdinand Maria, worked hard to repair the damage of the Thirty Years' War, and encouraged industry and agriculture. Bavaria lapsed, however, under the rule of Maximilian II Emmanuel, whose ill-advised policies led him to war with Austria during the War of the Spanish Succession, and nearly cost him his ducal throne. Although Maximillian III Joseph would, through sheer hard work, renew the fortunes of his duchy, later developments would guarantee the slow but steady domination of Bavaria by Austrian influence, much resented by the local inhabitants and the nobility alike. It is thus unsurprising that throughout the Napoleonic Wars, Bavaria would be allied with Napoleon against the larger and more dangerous Austrians and Prussians.
West of the Electorate of Saxony lay the small duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, later made an Electorate by order of Leopold I of Austria in 1692. Although the Electorate, dominated by its capital of Hanover (whose name eventually applied to the duchy as a whole), controlled a crossroads into the Rhine, Ruhr and Saar valleys, its main claim to fame was its links to the British throne - its Elector, Georg Ludwig was elected king of the United Kingdom in 1714, following the passing of Queen Anne. From that point on, both England and Hanover would be united together in personal union for well over a hundred years, before the electorate declared itself a separate kingdom in 1837 and elected its own monarch.
In 1701 A.D. Brandenburg became known as Prussia when its ruler, the Elector Friedrich Wilhelm, crowned himself Frederick I of Prussia. His descendents were all capable rulers and proceeded to make many military and governmental reforms, transforming what was a small petty kingdom (whose monarch was referred to as the "King in Prussia") into one of the great powers of Europe. Frederick II, also known as Friedrich der Grosse (the Great, and in later years, "Alte Fritz" by an appreciative population) in 1740 A.D. seized coal-rich Silesia from Austria, and again in 1772 A.D. took part in the first Partition of Poland, linking previously separated Prussian territories. Friedrich, although a brilliant tactician and aided by generals of exceptional quality, however, did not like warfare that much, and was also known for being a patron of the arts and culture. His palace of Sans Souci (which is also now his burial site) is the best expression of this gentler side to the Prussian warrior-king, who successsfully held his own against attacks from French, Austrian and Russian armies.
However neither Prussia or Austria was able to take over one another nor take total control of Germany completely, given French intervention which divided Austria and Prussia by manipulating the smaller German states and by intermittent military incursions. To make matters worse, after Friedrich's death, the Prussian state began to stagnate, in no small way due to the fact that he left no capable heirs. In 1792, the War of the First Coalition broke out between the First French Republic and the other states of Europe (the so-called "First Coalition"). German armies, led by Prussia and Austria, invaded northeastern France in an attempt to extinguish the fledgling republic, but were halted with the Battle of Valmy on 20 September. The French counterattacked, and by 1797 controlled Northern Italy, the Swiss Alps and the Low Countries. Shaken, Prussia pulled back from further anti-French expeditions, but even neutrality was not enough to save it from the new French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte and in 1806, the Prussians were prostrated in battle at Jena.
Sturm und Drang: the Spirit of '48Edit
By 1794, the Rhineland was under French control, and would remain so well until the War of the 6th Coalition, while the decrepit feudal states of Germany continued to be battered by the French, despite the generous help of the British and the stalwart support of the Russians. Austria also continued to suffer defeats at the hands of the French, and by 1811, the components of Charlemagne's empire was reunited together under Napoleon after almost a thousand years. Things would probably have remained intact, but the size of Napoleon's empire and his inability to solve the ancient Russo-Turkish conflict would eventually force the Russian Tsar, Aleksandr, back into war with Napoleon. A pre-emptive strike at Russia in the summer of 1812 resulted in defeat for the French, and the Germans rebelled, re-igniting conflict with France and starting the War of the Sixth Coalition, which resulted in the expulsion of all French forces from Germany with the battle of Leipzig in 1813.
The experiences of the hithertho backward German states and the sociopolitical reforms introduced by the French finally demonstrated to the German peoples the inevitability and preferability of unification. At first, a Deutscher Bund or "German Confederation" of all the German monarchies was first created, but political infighting between Prussia and Austria hamstrung whatever good it could do. In 1848, revolutionaries stormed German cities as the middle class and the burgeoning lower class clamoured for reform.
Political unification of these still numerous states would only be achieved until the chancellorship of Otto Von Bismarck. To restore order, he did his best to carry out the reforms demanded by the revolutionaries, and laid the foundation stone by seceding, with a serious of other smaller German kingdoms, to form the Northern Confederation, which covered present-day northern Germany, and Prussia (now part of Poland). Next were wars with Austria and Denmark to annex more territory into the new nation. However, Bismarck decided to impose an accommodating peace on Austria, realising that they may be useful as an ally in the future while dealing harshly with the other German states that resisted Prussian annexation. In order to incorporate the remaining independent states, Bismarck engineered another patriotic war, but this time against the French in 1870 to retake territory previously lost to France in the 17th century. This culminated with the establishment of the Second Reich, the First Reich being the Empire established back in Charlemagne's time. The president of the Northern Confederation, the Prussian king Wilhelm I, was crowned as the German kaiser or "caesar", with Bismarck controlling the German ship of state.
Fall of the Second ReichEdit
Bismarck's plan was to have Germany peacefully co-exist with the British empire which was the largest naval power and economy in the world. However, in 1888, the Kaiser, Friedrich Wilhelm III, passed on leaving the throne to his son Wilhelm II. He proved to be a loose cannon with a confrontational streak. Envious of England's naval power Wilhelm decided to increase armament production and force Bismarck to step down. By giving in to the more militaristic factions which Bismarck had tried to sideline, Wilhelm had set Germany upon the road towards war. When war broke out between Austria and Russia in summer 1914, Wilhelm seized his chance and join the war with Austria, by making war on Russia's ally France. Dividends were won in the east and resulted in the collapse of the Russian Empire, but the war took a toll on the German Empire and he was soon forced to abdicate in 1919 following massive military mutinies.
In the wake of the abolition of the monarchy, the victorious Entente (consisting of Britain, France and the United States of America) moved in and tried to impose harsh demands on Germany, which by now became a republic but wasbeset with political impotence, and the country was shackled with debt, while Communists and right-wing militias called Freikörper were now locked in street battles and political bloodshed throughout German cities.
While German cities were burning, the world however had moved on to a more destructive phase in history. The collapse of the global economy in the late 1920s resulted in much individual and national angst, which led to the rise of a new political movement in Italy called Fascism, which sought to destroy communism and "correct" the perceived weaknesses of liberal capitalism through the centralisation of public power in an authoritarian government.