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Germany 1750 - 1914
Transcript of Germany 1750 - 1914
Slavs, Teutons, and Prussians, Oh My!
A Brief History of Prussia
Germany and the Boxer Rebellion
Prussia is an area that has been ruled by several different peoples. Western and Eastern Slavic peoples were some of the first inhabitants of the land, but were replaced by Germanic pagans known as the Prussians. In 1226, Prussia was conquered by the Teutonic Order, a crusader state created to combat the pagans in the Baltic. The Teutonic Order converted the Prussians to Roman Catholicism. In 1454 Poland and Lithuania helped the Prussians overthrow the Teutonic Order, and Prussia came under Polish control. During the Protestant Reformation, Prussia converted from Roman Catholicism to Protestantism. In 1525 Prussia became a hereditary duchy under Albrecht Hohenzollern, and in 1657, Poland was invaded by Sweden, and forced to release Prussia as an independent state, the Kingdom of Prussia, headed by the Hohenzollern family. By 1772, under the rule of King Friedrich II (Frederick the Great), Prussia controlled the regions of West Prussia, East Prussia, Brandenburg, Pomerania, and Danzig.
1750 - 1914
Vol XCIII, No. 311
The Holy Roman Empire
Everything Comes Back to Napoleon
Napoleonic Era Germany
From 962 to 1806 the Holy Roman Empire controlled Germany and Austria, as well as parts of the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Slovenia, and Western Poland. It cannot be described as an empire, as it was much more comparable to a very loose confederation of small states. The empire was so loosely aligned that member states frequently went to war with each other. By 1750, the Holy Roman Empire was a shadow of its former self, having lost most of its territory outside of Germany and Austria. The most important states of the empire were Prussia and Austria, the two largest and most powerful nations in . Germany was predominantly Protestant at this point, with Catholic France to the West, and Catholic Poland to the East. The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved when Napoleon Bonaparte forced Emperor Francis II to abdicate in 1806.
Germany's unification came largely from France's attempts to prevent it. When France declared war upon most of Europe during the War of the First Coalition (1792-1797), all of the German territories on the west bank of the Rhine were annexed by France. In 1806, Napoleon abolished the Holy Roman Empire. Napoleon furthered his territory by conquering large portions of Germany. Although the combined forces of Prussia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands defeated Napoleon once and for all at the Battle of Waterloo, the German-speaking region of Alsace-Lorraine was still held by France. Napoleon's dismantling of the Holy Roman Empire led to German unification by leading to the German Confederation. During the Congress of Vienna (1814-15), Prussia was rewarded with large amounts of territory. Prussia was able to gain supremacy over the other German states within the confederation, and were able to establish themselves as a major threat to even the seemingly unstoppable United Kingdom.
Germany - 1750 to 1914
Alsace-Lorraine or Elsaß-Lothringen?
The Alsace-Lorraine Predicament
Loose Confederation to World Power
German Africa and German Pacific Territories
German Overseas Territories
By 1914, Germany controlled the regions of Cameroon, German West Africa, German Southwest Africa, German East Africa, and Togo in Africa. Germany also had territories in New Guinea, Samoa, and the Ralik Islands in the Pacific, as well as Qingdao in China. While the colonies in Africa and the Pacific were colonized, Qingdao was gained as reparations for helping put down the Boxers during the Boxer Rebellion.
“One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans.” - Otto von Bismarck
Germany in 1914
The German Empire feared it would be attacked by France or Russia. To protect from these threats, Germany entered a Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary in 1879. In 1882, Italy was accepted into the alliance, which came to be known as the Triple Alliance. These three countries agreed to help each other if attacked by France or Russia. When the Triple Entente was formed in 1907 by the United Kingdom, France, and Russia, the belief that an alliance was necessary was strengthened greatly. By the outbreak of the war in 1914, Italy left the Triple Alliance, but the Ottoman Empire was added, and the alliance was renamed the Central Powers. From 1870 to 1910, Germany's population increased from 24 million to 65 million. By 1914, Germany had 700,000 soldiers, divided into 25 corps. The German military was famed for being the most efficient fighting force on the planet. The German navy was second only to the Royal Navy. The German Army Air Service was founded in 1912, and was comprised of 246 aircraft and 11 airships. Germany's target may have been France, but it's true rival was the United Kingdom, as they were the two world superpowers of the time.
The People Who Knew Stuff
From the First King to the Last Kaiser
The Hohenzollern family was a prominent European dynasty from 1525 to 1918. The first king of Prussia was a Hohenzollern, and the last kaiser of the German Empire was a Hohenzollern, as well as all of the rulers in between. The dynasty came to power in 1525 when Prussia was a duchy under Poland, and ended when the German Empire was dissolved after the Treaty of Versailles. A line of the family also ruled Romania from 1881 to 1947.
The Hohenzollern Family
Kaiser Wilhelm I
Hohenzollern Family Tree
German Troops in China During the Boxer Rebellion
The German Empire At It's Height
The Iron Chancellor
Otto von Bismarck
Otto von Bismarck (1815 - 1898) was a German politician in Prussia and later Germany. Bismarck was a brilliant strategist, and won wars against France, Denmark, and Austria. He introduced many progressive reforms including universal male voting rights and the first welfare state. In 1861 Wilhelm I took power in Prussia, and appointed Bismarck as his chief minister. Although Bismarck was officially under Wilhelm, he manipulated him in such a way that Bismarck was essentially the ruler of Prussia, and later the German Empire. In 1864 Bismarck started a series of wars to establish Prussian power in Europe. He attacked Denmark to gain the region of Schleswig-Holstein, which was primarily German-speaking. Two years later Bismarck provoked the Austrian emperor Franz-Josef I into starting the Austro-Prussian war (1866). In 1870 Bismarck decided it was time for German unification, and attacked France to gain the region of Alsace-Lorraine. The Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 1871) was a crushing defeat for the French, and Germany was unified under one centralized state for the first time. Wilhelm I was crowned emperor of Germany at the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, which was a massive insult to the French. During the 1870s Bismarck pursued a Kulturkampf (cultural struggle) against Roman Catholics, who made up 36 percent of Germany's population. He placed parochial schools under state control, and expelled the Jesuits. In 1878, Bismarck relented from the Kulturkampf, and allied with the Catholics against socialism. In the 1880s, he set aside his conservatism and established universal healthcare, accident insurance, and old age pensions. Bismarck also was the host of the Berlin Conference, setting guidelines for the colonization of Africa. Bismarck was ousted by Wilhelm's grandson and successor, Wilhelm II, in 1890. Bismarck lived as a highly respected man until his death eight years later in 1898.
From the Napoleonic Wars to World War II, Germany and France have been rivals. Even after the Napoleonic threat was gone, Germany still was angry with France for having the region of Alsace-Lorraine, where most people were German. This was one of the main reasons Prussia attacked France during the Franco-Prussian War. After Prussia's decisive victory, Alsace-Lorraine was annexed and renamed to the German name for the region, Elsaß-Lothringen. Prussia formed the German Empire, and was still not willing to be friends with France, who wanted Alsace-Lorraine back. France later got back the region as one of the demands of the Treaty of Versailles. This angered Germany even more, and the loss of Elsaß-Lothringen was used by Hitler as a reason to invade France.
Region of Alsace-Lorraine
Otto von Bismarck
"This agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire." - Voltaire
Alliances, Powers, and Ententes
"You will be home before the leaves fall from the trees." - Kaiser Wilhelm II
German Pickelhaube Helmet
While the Revolutions of 1848 attempted to unite Germany, they were a failure. The first war on the path to German Unification was the 1862 Danish War. Prussia gained the region of Schleswig-Holstein after a quick victory against Denmark. The next war was the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, and Prussia decisively defeated Austria, and annexed some of her allies. In 1867, the North German Confederation was formed, uniting the northern part of Germany. In 1870, Prussia provoked France into declaring war. This war was known as the Franco-Prussian War (1870 - 1871), and was the final step in German unification. After the Battle of Sedan, France surrendered. Prussia won a decisive victory against the French, the region of Alsace-Lorraine was annexed, and the German Empire was declared.
Map of Former German Colonies in Africa
Germany had a fairly major part in the Boxer Rebellion. They were a member of the Eight Nation Alliance, and sent many troops. Germany also had a major part in starting the war, as they effectively controlled the Shandong region in China, leading to unrest from Chinese peasants. After helping in the war, Germany was given control of the region of Qingdao, which they controlled until their defeat in World War I, when it was given to the Japanese for helping the allies.
Otto von Bismarck
Kaiser Wilhelm II