German Empire

Before the Holy Roman Empire

From southern Scandinavia and northern Germany, the Germanic tribes began their expansion to the south, east, and west in the 1st century BC. C., coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul, as well as Iran, the Baltic, and the Slavic tribes of Eastern Europe. Little is known about the early history of the Germanic peoples, except what is known through their interactions with the Roman Empire and records of archaeological finds. What is known of Germany in the first centuries of the Christian era we owe to the testimonies of the Romans.

Julius Caesar speaks of the Germans, despite the fact that his knowledge was quite limited since he had never penetrated those territories. Julius Caesar is struck by the permanent availability of these Germanic tribes for war. u description belongs to the year 51 BC.

Tacitus, the famous Roman historian, extends widely when describing the Germans, and like Julius Caesar, he refers to their incomparable bellicoseness and their warrior spirit far superior to Parthians, Gauls or any other community subjected by the Romans.. Rome always had a delicate open front in Germania, a region that it never managed to subdue. The Rhine was the frontier of the Empire for centuries.

Holy Roman German Empire

As a country that is a member of European Union defined by, the history of Germany as a more or less defined entity could begin with Charlemagne, when in 800 the Holy Roman Empire was established. Charlemagne will thus be the benchmark as the first Emperor. A reference, not only as a political authority, but as a model of society, given the interest of the monarch to govern with justice in all its territories.

Charlemagne’s regulations were a solid benchmark for centuries, until the Napoleonic wars. But the union of the territories under Charlemagne did not last long. In the Treaty of Verdun of the year 843, the Empire is divided into three parts, called to constitute over the years, France, Italy and Germany.

Under the reign of the Saxon Dynasty (919-1024), the Duchies of Lorraine, Saxony, Franconia, Burgundy , Swabia, Thuringia and Bavaria were consolidated, and the German King was crowned Holy Roman Emperor of these regions in 962. Under the reign of the Salian Dynasty (1024-1125), the Holy Roman Empire absorbed northern Italy and Burgundy, although the emperors lost power through the Investiture Complaint. Under the Hohenstaufen emperors (1138-1254), the German princes increased their influence to the south and east in the territories inhabited by the Slavs. Prosperous cities like those of the Hanseatic League grew up in the German North.

Martin Luther (Martin Luther in German) wrote the 95 theses, where he questions the Roman Catholic Church in 1517, thereby causing the Protestant Reformation. The Reformation movement spread rapidly throughout Europe. Its consequences went beyond the religious framework as other events such as the Rebellion of the Knights of the Empire (1522-1523) and the Peasants’ War (1525) are linked to it. After years of struggle, Protestantism was recognized with equal rights as Catholicism. Thus the religious division in Germany was sealed. The Lutheran church was recognized as the new sanctioned religion in many German states after 1530.

The resulting religious conflict led to the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), which devastated German territory. The population of the German states was reduced by 30%. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended the religious war between the German states, but the de facto empire was divided into numerous independent principalities. From 1740 onwards, the dualism between the Habsburg monarchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Prussia dominated German history. In 1806, the Empire was invaded and dissolved as a result of the Napoleonic Wars.

German empire

The power of Prussia consolidates its capital Berlin as the political center of the Germanic kingdoms. After the Napoleonic wars, at the beginning of the 19th century, these kingdoms consider that the only way to become strong is to gravitate around Prussia. Over the years, the German National Assembly, meeting in Frankfurt in 1849, offers the crown of Emperor to Frederick William IV, King of Prussia. However, it will not be until 22 years later that the coronation as Kaiser of the King of Prussia takes place thanks to Otto von Bismarck, who was the architect, after careful and calculated steps, of the total consensus for said proclamation to take place.

The war of 1866 of Prussia against Austria, has no other object than to expel this kingdom from a possible German empire, in order to leave Prussia as the undisputed candidate. The victory in this war, as well as the victory of Prussia against France in the war of 1870, lead to the Imperial Proclamation of the King of Prussia as Emperor of Germany, on January 18, 1871, with the name of Emperor Wilhelm I, the first Kaiser of Germany. From this moment on, we can refer to Germany as a unified state, in the sense in which we know it today. As a great modern state, Germany is late in the colonial division of the planet. Kaiser Guillermo I will be in charge of extending the power of Germany, through a competitive industry in relation to the great European and world power of the moment, that is, England.

Berlin establishes itself as one of the most important cities in Europe while German industry, in its search for new markets, encounters hostility from England and France. This hostility eventually led to the First World War. The tense atmosphere between England and France and the new German state grew year after year, despite the International Peace Conferences of 1899 and 1907 in The Hague, which sought to create arbitration forums to settle disputes. In Germany, meanwhile, the doctrine of a number of political thinkers such as Friedrich von Bernhardi and others who argue that war is an inherent part of the vitality of nations is spreading.

Thus, the warlike spirit of Prussia resurfaces. But this time it is France and England that appear as enemies, as the main obstacles to the vertiginous industrial development of Germany, which desperately needs new markets where it can sell its higher quality products at a better price than those of those two countries.

German Empire