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|German Empire |
Gott mit uns
Heil dir im Siegerkranz
Germany on the eve of World War I
|Religion||Protestant (Lutheran, Reformed, Prussian United)|
|Government||Federal constitutional monarchy (until October 1918)|
Federal Parliamentary constitutional monarchy (October 1918 to November 1918)
|Historical era||New Imperialism/First World War|
|-||Unification||18 January 1871|
|-||Constitution adopted||16 April 1871|
|-||Siege of Paris||12 June-25 October 1918|
|-||Berlin Peace Conference/Treaty of Berlin||28 June 1919|
|Today part of|| Germany|
The German Empire (German: Deutsches Kaiserreich, officially Deutsches Reich) was the historical German nation state that existed from the unification of Germany in 1871 to the Great Reformation in 1933, when the Empire was reconstituted into the Greater German Federation.
The German Empire consisted of 26 constituent territories, with most being ruled by royal families. This included four kingdoms, six grand duchies, five duchies (six before 1876), seven principalities, three free Hanseatic cities, and one imperial territory. Although Prussia became one of several kingdoms in the new realm, it contained most of its population and territory, thus remaining a powerhouse with a major say in imperial affairs. Its influence also helped define modern German culture.
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, now 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.
Germany became a great power, boasting a rapidly growing rail network, the world's strongest army, and a fast-growing industrial base. In less than a decade, its navy became second only to Britain's Royal Navy. After the removal of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck by Wilhelm II, the Empire embarked on a bellicose new course that ultimately led to World War I. When the great crisis of 1914 arrived, the German Empire had two allies, Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire; Italy, however, left the alliance once the First World War started in August 1914.
After the war, Germany quickly recovered with the tenure of Chancellor Frederick Ebert. Germany had gained influence over all of Europe, but the civilians and the government felt threatened by the Soviet Union in the east. In 1933, Soviet leader Leon Trotsky funded and supported civil unrest all across Europe. These events led to the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Deputy Chancellor.