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Germany: A Brief History

1848 – Revolutionary unrest in German states

1863 – Social Democratic Party (SDP) is formed

1871-1918 – The German Empire (commonly referred to as the Kaiserreich)

1914-1918 – World War I

1918 – Having been defeated, Germany signs armistice

1919 - Treaty of Versailles signed in the Hall of Mirrors: Germany and its allies viewed as responsible for World War I and made to pay large-scale reparations. Germany loses land

1919–1933 - Weimar Republic 

1933 - Hitler appointed chancellor of Germany

1933-1945 - Third Reich (Nazi Germany)

1936 - Berlin Olympics

1938 (Nov) – Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) – destruction of synagogues and attacks orchestrated on Jews and their property

1939-1945 - World War II

1945 - German army defeated. Potsdam Conference (Jul. – Aug.) held which demanded, among other things, the division of Germany and Austria into four occupation zones. Germany ordered to make reparations payments

1945-1949 – Allied forces occupy Germany (UK, USA, France, Soviet Union)

1948 – Deutsche Mark is introduced

1948–1949 - Berlin Blockade

1949 - Germany is divided into the Federal Republic of Germany (West) and the German Democratic Republic (East)

1950s – The Wirtschaftswunder (rapid economic growth in the FRG)

1953 – Uprising in the German Democratic Republic

1954 - West Germany wins the World Cup

1955 - West Germany joins NATO; East Germany joins the Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact

1961 - Construction of the Berlin Wall

1967–1968 – The German Student Movement

1969 - Social Democrat (SPD) Willy Brandt becomes chancellor of FRG and seeks better ties with the Soviet Union and East Germany

1969-1974 – SPD/FDP coalition under chancellor Brandt

1971 - Erich Honecker succeeds Walter Ulbricht as leader of East Germany

1973 - East and West Germany join the United Nations

1974 – West Germany is host to (and wins) the World Cup

1974-1982 – SPD, FDP coalition under chancellor Schmidt

1982 - Helmut Kohl becomes chancellor

1987 - East German leader Erich Honecker pays first ever official visit to West Germany

1989 – 40th anniversaries of the FRG and GDR

1989 (October) - Mass demonstrations in Leipzig for reform and democracy. Erich Honecker resigns

1989 (November) – The Berlin Wall is opened; GDR citizens free to travel

1990 – After first free elections Helmut Kohl is announced as leader of a unified Germany

1990 – Germany wins World Cup

1991 - Berlin is named as the capital of a united Germany

1993 - Germany signs the Maastricht Treaty, leading to the creation of the European Union

1994 – Erich Honecker dies. Helmut Kohl is re-elected

1994 (September) - Russian and Allied troops leave Berlin

1998 - Victory for SPD leader Gerhard Schroeder leads to a Red/Green coalition

2001 – Women free to join the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces) for the first time

2002 (January) - Euro notes and coins are introduced and replace the Deutsche Mark

2002 (August) – The city of Dresden is flooded with water from the River Elbe

2002 - Schroeder is re-elected, but with a reduced majority

2005 (July) - President calls early general elections after Schroeder deliberately loses a confidence vote in parliament

2005 (September) – The election results generate talks of a coalition

2005 (November) - Angela Merkel (CDU) becomes Germany's first female chancellor in a coalition involving the CDU, CSU and SPD


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