North Germany (German: Norddeutschland), officially the North German Confederation (German Norddeutscher Bund) is a World Power in Central Europe. Covering an area of 436,708.89 square kilometres in Europe (and 505,796.75 in total), it lies between the Baltic and North seas to the north and the river Main to the south. In its mainland, it borders the Empire of Scandinavia to the north, Poland and the Baltic Empire to the east, Lorraine, Alsace, Baden, Wurttemberg, Bavaria and Austrian Czechia to the south, and France, Wallonia, Flanders and the Netherlands to the west. Abroad, it also borders Gold Coast, the West African Federation, New Posen and China, while it shares maritime borders with Emilia, Antillia, Malaya, Sumatra and Papua in its many island territories across the globe.
Divisions between North and South Germany began to become prevalent in the 16th century: northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation and after the 18th century came under the influence of the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1815, after the fall of the Holy Roman Empire and the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, the German Confederation was formed, but it fell apart due to infighting between Prussia and Austria in 1866, an event that led to the First Brothers' War and later the establishment of a North German nation state. The North German Confederation became one of the most powerful European states, host to the second largest Colonial Empire in human history, and a victor in both Great Wars. It was a founding member of the European Community, and later the first 'Chair' of the European Society when it was formed in 1986.
Today, North Germany is a federal constitutional monarchy ruled by an Emperor (also called Federal President) and led by a chancellor. With 104.8 million inhabitants of its 29 states, it is the the second-most populous country in Europe after Russia and the most populous member state of the European Union. Its capital and largest city is Berlin, and its financial centre is Frankfurt; the largest urban area is the Ruhr.
North Germany is a great power with a world-class economy; it has the largest economy in Europe, the world's second-largest economy by GDP. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods. A highly developed country with a very high standard of living, it offers social security and a universal health care system, environmental protections, and a tuition-free university education. It is a member of the European Society, the German Confederation, the Group of Three, Group of Five and the Hague Treaty Organization. Known for its long and rich cultural history, North Germany has many World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world.
The Revolution of 1848
National Assembly in Frankfurt
The Austro-Prussian duality
The Brothers' War
Scramble for Africa
Liberalization of the Realm
Reign of Fritz
The Herero Crisis
Reign of Kaiser Heinrich
The Great War
Second Great War
The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine. The German term Deutschland, originally diutisciu land ("the German lands") is derived from deutsch (compare Dutch), descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" (i.e. belonging to the diot or diota "people"), originally used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular" (see also the Latinised form Theodiscus), derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh "people", from which the word Teutons also originates.
North Germany is the final result in the cultural unification of those with North German culture, and it stands opposed to "South Germany", which is the result of the cultural unification of many South German people. The standard way to refer to a citizen of North Germany is as a German or North German.
German ConfederationCalls for a cultural unification of the German Peoples came into prevalence during the Napoleonic Wars. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, which had in truth been considered a 'realm of Germans' by most of its adherents, and with Napoleon's newly created Confederation of the Rhine, the idea of a state formed for, and by Germans came to be appealing to the German Peoples. The problem was, of course, that the two main German States in Prussia and Austria had no intention of giving up their own autonomy, nor to give up their own non-German lands.
The German Confederation itself was formed on 8 June 1815, in the Congress of Vienna. With Napoleon's crushing defeat in France and later again in Waterloo, the Allied Powers of Europe were quick to realize that a Confederated Germany would be required to manage the polities of the numerous states in Central Europe, and that was why The German Confederation was created by the 9th Act of the Congress of Vienna on 8 June 1815 after being alluded to in Article 6 of the 1814 Treaty of Paris, ending the War of the Sixth Coalition.
The Confederation was formally created by a later treaty, the Final Act of the Ministerial Conference to Complete and Consolidate the Organization of the German Confederation, which was not concluded and signed by parties until 15 May 1820. At its conception in 1820, the Confederation had thirty-nine members, but it was in truth dominated by the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire, which used it to bring the smaller German states into their own spheres of influence.
In 1830, the Belgian Revolution in The United Kingdom of Netherlands brought Europe into another crisis again. France and Prussia, The Dutch's main neighbors, were quick to intervene in the matter politically, after The British Empire was persuaded to let Mainland matters run their own course. When it became obvious that the Dutch were incapable of maintaining their own sovereignty and keeping the Flemish-Walloon revolts at bay, Prussia and France quickly occupied the United Netherlands, and after a few weeks of negotiation in The Hague, France annexed the French-cultured Walloon territories, while Prussia forced The Netherlands to give independence to the Limburg territories and Luxembourg in order to bring them into the German Confederation.
For the majority of its early years, the German Confederation had been dominated by Austria and Prussia, two very dictatorial states with conservative and reactionary ideologies. In truth, part of the reason Britain and Russia agreed to allow a German Confederation to be formed was to maintain Germany's rising nationalism, just as they had used Austria to maintain Italy and France's Jacobin sentiments. From the very beginning of the Viennan system in 1815, Austria and Prussia had used heavy-handed suppression, secret police, and at some points even military to keep the nationalist and liberal Germans down. This came to a close in 1848.
The Summer of 1848 was a very dangerous period in European history. The suppression, autocracy, and domination of politics by the reactionary and conservative monarchies of France, Austria, and Prussia -along with a number of other European States- led to a series of wide-spread revolts. Initially, a Revolution in 22-24 February 1848 brought the French Monarchy down and established a "Second" French Republic. The Prussian and Austrian states, feeling threatened, called for a general mobilization of their troops to deal with the newborn Republic as efficiently as possible, but this was put to a halt, as Vienna fell into a protest on 13 March.
The Large demonstration, though not even remotely as radical as that of the French, resulted in the resignation of Prince von Metternich as chief minister to Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria, and his going into exile in Britain, and from that moment on, protests started appearing all over The German Confederation.
Ferdinand immediately appointed new, nominally liberal, ministers and later drafted a constitution in late April 1848, where the majority of the people were still denied enfranchisement. Rejecting these concessions, the Students and Working class people of Vienna returned to the streets from May 26 through 27, 1848, erecting barricades to prepare for an army offense. Ferdinand and his family fled to Innsbruck, where they spent the next few months surrounded by the loyal peasantry of the Tyrol. Ferdinand issued two manifestos on May 16, 1848 and June 3, 1848, which gave concessions to the people. He converted the Imperial Diet into a Constituent Assembly to be elected by the people. Other concessions were less substantial, and generally addressed the reorganizing and unification of Germany.
Ferdinand returned to Vienna from Innsbruck on August 12, 1848. Soon after his return, the working-class populace hit the streets again on August 21, 1848 to protest high unemployment and the government's decree to reduce wages. On August 23, 1848, Austrian troops opened fire on unarmed demonstrators and shot several.
In late September 1848, Emperor Ferdinand, who was also King Ferdinand V of Hungary, decided to send Austrian and Croatian troops to Hungary to crush a democratic rebellion there. On September 29, 1848 the Austrian troops were defeated by the Hungarian revolutionary forces. On October 6 through 7, 1848, the citizens of Vienna had demonstrated against the emperor's actions against forces in Hungary. As a result, Emperor Ferdinand I fled Vienna on October 7, 1848, taking up residence in the fortress town of Olomouc in Moravia, in the eastern empire. On December 2, 1848, Ferdinand abdicated in favour of his nephew Franz Joseph.
Similarly, in March 1848, crowds of people gathered in Berlin to present their demands in an "address to the king". King Frederick William IV, taken by surprise, verbally yielded to all the demonstrators' demands, including parliamentary elections, a constitution, and freedom of the press. He promised that "Prussia was to be merged forthwith into Germany."
This was however proven to be nothing more than words, as the police reacted on March 13. The army charged a group of people returning from a meeting in Tiergarten, killing one person and leaving many injured. In response, a mass demonstration occurred on March 18. After two shots were fired, fearing they'd have to fight 20,000 soldiers, the demonstrators erected barricades and a battle ensued, leaving hundreds deal. Frederick William attempted to placate the public, suggesting he would indeed proceed with reorganizing his government, and also approved arming the citizens.
On March 21, the King proceeded through the streets of Berlin to attend a mass funeral at the Friedrichshain cemetery for the civilians killed in the uprising. Appearing in the revolutionary Black-red-gold tricolor, the King also freed the Polish prisoners who had been planning a rebellion in the Polish territories ruled by Prussia. the 254 people killed were laid out on catafalques on the Gendarmenmarkt. Some 40,000 people accompanied these fallen demonstrators to their burial place at Friedrichshain.
On May 22, 1848, a Prussian elected assembly sat for the first time in Berlin. They were elected under the law of April 8, 1848, which allowed for universal suffrage and a two-stage voting system. Most of the deputies elected to the Berlin Assembly, called the Prussian National Assembly, were members of the burghers or liberal bureaucracy. They set about the task of writing a constitution "by agreement with the Crown."King Frederick William IV of Prussia unilaterally imposed a monarchist constitution to undercut the democratic forces. This constitution took effect on December 5, 1848. On December 5, 1848, the Berlin Assembly was dissolved and replaced with the bicameral legislature allowed under the monarchist Constitution. This legislature was composed of a Herrenhaus and a Landtag. Otto von Bismarck was elected to the first Landtag elected under the new monarchical constitution.
While a number of similar revolts (with similar results) occurred in the smaller German States as well, things only came to a close in Frankfurt. On March 6, 1848, a group of German liberals began to make plans for an election to a German national assembly. This prototype Parliament met on March 31, in Frankfurt's St. Paul's Church. Its members called for free elections to an assembly for all of Germany – and the German states agreed. A Constituent National Assembly was elected and gathered in St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt am Main on May 18, 1848. Officially called the all-German National Assembly, it was composed of deputies democratically elected from various German states in late April and early May 1848. The deputies consisted of 122 government officials, 95 judges, 81 lawyers, 103 teachers, 17 manufacturers and wholesale dealers, 15 physicians, and 40 landowners. A majority of the Assembly were liberals. It became known as the 'professors' parliament,' as many of its members were academics in addition to their other responsibilities. The one working-class member was Polish and, like colleagues from the Tyrol, not taken seriously.
Starting on May 18, 1848, the Frankfurt Assembly worked to find ways to unite the various German states and to write a constitution. The Assembly was unable to pass resolutions and dissolved into endless debate. The main debates were the German Question (which was answered when Austria drafted a constitution for the entirety of its Empire, essentially opting out of any possible German Unification in 1848), the identity of a future German Cultural Union (A republic, an elective monarchy, or a monarchy?) as well as the level of centralism appropriate for a German State. These debates continued even as the reforms of the March Revolution were rolled back by the resurgent aristocracy and monarchy.
Eventually, the Prussian Monarchy reacted to the Revolutions in late 1848. The Prussian General von Wrangel led the troops who recaptured Berlin for the old powers, and King Frederick William IV of Prussia immediately rejoined the old forces. In November, the king dissolved the new Prussian parliament and put forth a constitution of his own which was based upon the work of the assembly, yet maintaining the ultimate authority of the king. Elaborated in the following years, the constitution came to provide for an upper house (Herrenhaus), and a lower house (Landtag), chosen by universal suffrage but under a three-class system of voting ("Dreiklassenwahlrecht"): representation was proportional to taxes paid, so that more than 80% of the electorate controlled only one-third of the seats.
Frederick William later refused to accept a crown for "all Germany", in public citing that he could not accept such a title without the consent of his peers but in private considering it "a crown from the gutter, disgraced by the stink of revolution, defiled with dirt and mud."
Austria and Prussia opted out of the Frankfurt Parliament in 1849, and eventually the Prussian military began crushing the dissenters and revolutionaries all over the Confederation. By 1851, the Basic Rights had also been abolished nearly everywhere. In the end, the revolution fizzled because of the divisions between the various factions in Frankfurt, the calculating caution of the liberals, the failure of the left to marshal popular support and the overwhelming superiority of the monarchist forces. The Assembly was eventually dissolved on May 31, 1849.
Though appearing to be irrelevant, this only brought the true nature of the Confederation at focus. Prussia, the rising German State, attempting to topple the Old Order set by a long-older Austrian Empire.
In 1857, Frederick William of Prussia suffered a stroke and could no longer rule and was replaced by his brother William (Wilhelm, later, Kaiser Wilhelm). Meanwhile, Helmuth von Moltke had become chief of the Prussian General Staff in 1857, and Albrecht von Roon would become Prussian Minister of War in 1859. This shuffling of authority within the Prussian military establishment would have important consequences. Von Roon and William (who took an active interest in military structures) began reorganizing the Prussian army, while Moltke redesigned the strategic defense of Prussia by streamlining operational command. Prussian army reforms (especially how to pay for them) caused a constitutional crisis beginning in 1860 because both parliament and William—via his minister of war—wanted control over the military budget. William, crowned King Wilhelm I in 1861, appointed Otto von Bismarck to the position of Minister-President of Prussia in 1862. Bismarck resolved the crisis in favor of the war minister.
Having realized that Great-Germany could never be formed, Bismarck began laying the groundwork for forming a Small-Germany, "Germany without Austria". To do that, he began his plans of dismantling Austrian influence in -primarily- Northern Germany, while also attempting to bring the southern states of Bavaria, Baden and Württemberg into the fold. He found his lucky shot in 1863 and the Schleswig-Holstein Question.
On 15 November 1863, King Christian IX of Denmark became king of Denmark and duke of Schleswig and Holstein. On 18 November 1863, he signed the Danish November Constitution and declared the Duchy of Schleswig a part of Denmark. The German Confederation saw this act as a violation of the London Protocol of 1852, which emphasized the status of the Kingdom of Denmark as distinct from the independent duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. The populations of Schleswig and Holstein, furthermore, valued their separate status. The German Confederation could use the ethnicities of these duchies as a rallying cry: large portions of both Schleswig and Holstein were of German origin and spoke German in everyday life (though Schleswig had a sizable Danish minority). Diplomatic attempts to have the November Constitution repealed collapsed, and fighting began when Prussian and Austrian troops crossed the border into Schleswig on 1 February 1864. Initially, the Danes attempted to defend their country using an ancient earthen wall known as the Danevirke, but this proved futile. The Danes were no match for the combined Prussian and Austrian forces, and they could not rely on help from their allies in the other Scandinavian states because Denmark had nullified its alliance by violating the London Protocol. The Needle Gun, one of the first bolt action rifles to be used in conflict, aided the Prussians in both this war and the Austro-Prussian War two years later. The rifle enabled a Prussian soldier to fire five shots while lying prone, while its muzzle-loading counterpart could only fire one shot and had to be reloaded while standing. The Second Schleswig War resulted in victory for the combined armies of Prussia and Austria, and the two countries won control of Schleswig and Holstein in the concluding peace of Vienna, signed on 30 October 1864, though Prussia also annexed the small Danish colonies in Ghana (which later proved to be a good staging ground for their colonization of Gold Coast) and the West Indies.
With Schleswig and Holstein now under in German Confederation, Prussia immediately began influencing the two newly-independent duchies. This did not please the Austrians, who feared the now-prevalent dominance of Prussia in German Affairs. Austria brought the dispute to the German Diet, and also decided to convene the Diet of Holstein, Prussia declared that the Gastein Convention had thereby been nullified and invaded Holstein. The German Diet responded with a partial mobilization against Prussia, and in effect, Bismarck claimed the confederation was ended. In truth, Crown Prince Frederick was the only prevalent opposition to a war against Austria, which he called "Fratricide". History had no idea how close to the truth he was.
In 1866, Bismarck made an alliance with Italy, committing it to the war if Prussia entered one against Austria within three months, which was an obvious incentive for Bismarck to go to war with Austria within three months to divert Austrian strength away from Prussia. The timing of the declaration was perfect, because all other European powers were either bound by alliances that forbade them from entering the conflict, or had domestic problems that had priority. Britain had no stake economically or politically in war between Prussia and Austria. Russia was unlikely to enter on the side of Austria, due to ill will over Austrian support of the anti-Russian alliance during the Crimean War and Prussia had stood by Russia during the January Uprising in Poland whereas Austria had not. In addition, the French Emperor Napoleon III, believing Prussia to be the weaker of the two states, had declared neutrality in order to have a better diplomatic and military base to demand territory in the end of the war. Knowing the Great Powers were not going to intervene in the German War, Bismarck now only had the German states to worry about.
The formation of the German States in the beginning of the Austro-Prussian war was highly a "North Germany, led by Prussia" against "South Germany, led by Austria", though the Kingdoms of Saxony and Hanover, Grand Duchy of Hesse, Duchies of Nassau and Saxe-Meiningen, the Principalities of Reuss-Greiz and Schaumburg-Lippe, as well as Frankfurt in North Germany had sided with Austria as well.
The war itself happened in seven weeks. The first war between two major continental powers in seven years, it used many of the same technologies as the Second Italian War of Independence, including railways to concentrate troops during mobilization and telegraphs to enhance long-distance communication. The Prussian Army used von Dreyse's breech-loading needle gun, which could be rapidly loaded while the soldier was seeking cover on the ground, whereas the Austrian muzzle-loading rifles could only be loaded slowly, and generally from a standing position.The majority of the battles occurred in the Austrian territories in Bohemia. von Moltke had prepared for this war meticulously, and proved the Prussian military dominance by quickly mobilizing the army and advancing into Saxony and Bohemia, where Austria had planned to make a staging ground for an invasion of Silesia. The Prussians, led by their King, faced Austrians in the Battle of Königgrätz (Hradec Králové) on 3 July. The Prussian Elbe Army advanced on the Austrian left wing, and the First Army on the center, prematurely; they risked being counter-flanked on their own left. Victory therefore depended on the timely arrival of the Second Army on the left wing. This was achieved through the brilliant work of its Chief of Staff, Leonhard Graf von Blumenthal. Superior Prussian organization and élan decided the battle against Austrian numerical superiority, and the victory was near total, with Austrian battle deaths nearly seven times the Prussian figure. Austria rapidly sought peace after this battle.
Except for Saxony, the other German states allied to Austria played little role in the main campaign. Hanover's army defeated Prussia at the Second Battle of Langensalza on 27 June 1866, but, within a few days, they were forced to surrender by superior numbers. Prussian armies fought against Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden and the Hessian states on the river Main, reaching Nuremberg and Frankfurt. The Bavarian fortress of Würzburg was shelled by Prussian artillery, but the garrison defended its position until armistice day.
The Austrians were more successful in their war with Italy, defeating the Italians on land at the Battle of Custoza (24 June), and on sea at the Battle of Lissa (20 July). However, Italy's "Hunters of the Alps" led by Garibaldi defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Bezzecca on 21 July, conquered the lower part of Trentino, and moved towards Trento. The Prussian peace with Austria forced the Italian government to seek an armistice with Austria on 12 August. According to the Treaty of Vienna, signed on 12 October, Austria ceded Veneto to France, which, in turn, ceded it to Italy.
The Brother's war ended very quickly, but its effects did not. Bismarck's tactics had failed to discredit Austria in the South German dominions, and the loss of life in South Germany had brought the people of South Germany to come to dislike Prussia and its heavy-handed domineering. In the immediate treaty, Prussia annexed Hanover, Saxony, Nassau, Hesse-Kassel, Frankfurt, Schleswig and Holstein, forcing harsh indemnities on Bavaria while taking some of Württemberg as well, though they did not take anything from Austria -other than indemnities and a demand for Austria to recognize Prussian domination of German Affairs. These annexations proved to be Prussia's undoing.
The German Confederation, which had been de jure dissolved in 1864, was officially dissolved. Prussia in turn formed the "North German Confederation" with its smaller North-German neighbors, forcing Prussian domination in a very unfair constitution. Within the month after the treaty of Prague, Bavaria, Baden, and Württemberg began negotiations with Austria to join it as the "South German Confederation" in retaliation to Prussia's new Alliance. The Austrian Emperor, which had been preparing to declare the dual-monarchy of Austria-Hungary, was instead convinced to do something else: Dissolve the Austrian Empire.
In truth, this was almost irrelevant. Austria released its territories in Bohemia, Hungary, and the Balkans as independent members of the "Habsburg Realm" under personal union with the Austrian Emperor. The new three states were essentially satellite states of Austria in every way that mattered. Austria, Bavaria, Baden, and Württemberg joined in a new South German Confederation, which also took over the Prussian Province of Hohenzollern in South Germany by effectively blocking all "North Germans" from entering the territories of Bavaria, Baden, or Württemberg. Prussia later surrendered Hohenzollern, along with all previously annexed territories in the previous treatiess, to Württemberg, though to this day, they still claim it to be "the Heartland of the Prussian State".Threatened by the prevalence of a South German Confederation and realizing that German Unification was now almost completely impossible short of a very harsh war of conquest for South Germany, the North German Confederation met in Berlin to reorganize itself in response to the more centralized "South German Federation" created by Austria. Bismarck persuaded Wilhelm to release all territories Prussia had annexed in the Treaty of Prague, as well as reforming the states already in the informal alliance led by Prussia. Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Sterlitz were reformed into the Kingdom of Mecklenburg, while Reuss-Gera and Reuss-Greiz were reformed into the Duchy of Reuss. The Kingdom of Hanover and the Kingdom of Saxony were released as independent states, while the Prussian annexations in Hesse were released and added to the Electorate of Hesse to form the Kingdom of Hesse. The North German Confederation, made of five kingdoms, three Grand Duchies, nine Duchies, three Principalities, and Four Free Cities eventually agreed to a constitution and agreed to join an official Federation. A debate between "Kaiserreich" and "Bund" was settled by naming the state "Bund" yet declaring the Head of State "Kaiser". The King of Prussia was unanimously elected as the President of the North German Realm, and promoted into the the title Emperor. A Constitution was drafted and a limited constitutional model giving full enfranchisement to all North German Males, as well as the right to join the Reichstag or Bundesrat (the two Chambers of the North German Parliament) was chosen to be the official "Federal Government" of North Germany, with a black-white-red tri-color chosen as the new Flag.
The French, British, and Russian Empires reluctantly recognized the two opponent states of South and North Germany, with North Germany overtaking the spot of Prussia and South Germany overtaking the spot of Austria in the formation of the Five Great Powers of Europe.
While colonization of Oceania and Africa had been ongoing for centuries, the lack of useful medicine against the disease-ridden inner Africa, as well as a lack of advanced weaponry and infrastructure had made colonization of most of the region nigh impossible. By 1840, the only considerable colonies in Africa and Oceania were the Dutch East Indies, the British Borneo, The British Cape colony, and the Portuguese Mozambique and Angola. By 1870, North Germany and the Spanish, Portuguese, British, American, and French Empires only had small trading posts and coastal settlements in Africa. The "Scramble for Africa" in truth began in 1876, with the discovery of minerals in the Congo Basin by the North German settlers and adventurers.
The foreign intelligence brought this news to France and Britain, and while Britain began expanding its South African colony by overtaking the Oranje, Transnaval, and Zulu states, France and North Germany fell into a colonial race. The two countries began expanding their Gold Coast colonies all the while marching for the Kongo region. North Germany colonized Cameroon and East Africa, using its naval bases in Gold Coast to connect its coastal acquisitions in Congo to the Eastern African Coasts. France, having already annexed Algeria, began moving southwards.
South German, Russian, and Dutch attempts in colonization of Africa failed, but France, Britain, and North Germany (in particular) continued colonization. As the countries continued expanding, rivalries, scrambles, and drifts along drawn borders began occurring. In particular the Liberian Crisis (The US and France in 1878, won by America and Liberia), the Libyan crisis (Italy and The Ottoman Empire in 1879, won by Italy), the Moroccan-Spanish war (1880, won by Morocco), the crisis in Togo (France and Germany in 1881 won by North Germany), and the crisis in Kavango-Zambezi (North Germany, Portugal, and Britain in 1883, settled with a compromise) proved that this rapid colonization may reach a boiling point in the near future. The Congress of Berlin, held in 1884, was held by the North German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck in order to bring these clashes to an end, all the while attempt to stabilize the Balkans which had been suffering from Ottoman, Russian, Bulgarian, and British aggression.
The First stage of the Berlin Congress, often called "The Berlin Confrence", attended by France, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and The Netherlands first drew the colonial borders of Africa and Oceania, solidifying claims over lands yet not colonized and recognizing the formal independence of Egypt, Morocco, and Ethiopia. The three Great Powers (and four Secondary Powers) also agreed to ban, criminalize, and persecute slavery within their respective spheres of influence, agreed to have free trade throughout the Congo Basin as well as Lake Malawi, and east of this in an area south of 5° N, and to notify each other if they were creating any new colony (or assuming a new protectorate).
The official borders, drawn using the modern World Map, were finalized and a treaty, binding the signatories to adhering to it was signed by all attending powers.
The Second stage of the Berlin Congress was attended by France, Britain, Russia, South Germany, Italy, and Ottoman Empire, though its sessions were also attended by delegates from Greece, the Principality of Bulgaria, Romania, and the recently-liberated Serbia and Montenegro. Held in order to finalize the treaties regarding the hegemony and sattelites of the Ottomans, South Germans, Russians, as well as the British Empire, the Congress, leading to the Treaty of Berlin (signed one month later) led to the formal recognition of the Kingdom of Bulgaria, Kingdom of Greece, Serbia, and Montenegro, as well as a finalized agreement of peace between The Eight Great Powers for a duration of seven years.
Originally held as a great achievement in peacemaking and stabilisation, the second congress was doomed to fail from the start. Only a year after the treaty had been signed, the Kingdom of Bulgaria invaded the liberated Serbia and Montenegro, and the great powers, having signed a treaty of peace, failed to intervene accordingly, and in a year, the Balkan War ended with Bulgarian domination of the Balkan regions, bringing it directly to the borders of South Germany, Hungary, and Romania. This was, of course, precisely what Bismarck had planned. Bulgaria, a natural ally to North Germany, ready to box in the South Germans in case of a future war just as Italy had in the last war between the two countries. In the following years, North German-Bulgarian relations would remain friendly, with Bulgaria soon industrializing the Balkans, modernizing its military, and becoming one of the Secondary Powers.
North Germany would continue its mission of colonization when the Conference of Berlin ended. In Four years, North German possessions in Ghana and Togo had been uplifted into an official Reichsprotektorat with a large German and native population, while Cameroon and North German South East Africa (now respectively part of the Colony of Kamerun and the Dominion of Mittelafrika) became Official Protectorates in 1889. With the successful colonization of Congo, Kenya, and East Africa in 1892, Southeast Africa was connected to the larger continuous possession in Central Africa to form Mittelafrika in the form of Reichsland Mittelafrika, which is the largest oversees region of North Germany.
Following the creation of the North German Realm, Bismarck and his Realpolitik dominated the political atmosphere in North Germany and even Europe proper for the next eighty years. He quickly began a campaign of industrialization, concentrating on heavy industry to modernize the North German Economy from a generally rural system to a very industrialized and urban model. The North German industry dominated Europe in a matter of years, and began successfully competing with The United States, France, and The British Empire for the highest spot, in its front Krupp, who's factory in Essen had expanded to the point it had become 'A great city with its own streets, its own police force, fire department and traffic laws. There are 150 kilometres of rail, 60 different factory buildings, 8,500 machine tools, seven electrical stations, 140 kilometres of underground cable and 46 overhead.'.
Bismarck's main political adversaries inside the Realm were the Socialists, the Non-German minorities (Eastern Slavs in particular) and the Catholics. To reduce the influence of Socialist thought -which had, indeed, arisen from Prussia itself- he formed the world's first modern Welfare State. North German workers enjoyed government-paid health, accident and maternity benefits, canteens, changing rooms and a national pension scheme, while in the private secto, large industries provided significant social welfare programmes and good care to their employees, as long as they were not identified as socialists or trade-union members. The larger industrial firms provided pensions, sickness benefits and even housing to their employees. His policies against Socialists were possibly his only success in domestic affairs, as his Anti-catholic and Slavophobic campaigns failed hilariously -and were indeed possibly part of the reason he became so irate in the later years of his political career.
Bismarck began a "Cultural War" against the Catholics, a campaign of political isolation of the Catholic minority that was only enacted in the Prussian provinces. Enacted in order to secure the divide between South and North Germany, combat the Catholic opposition to Bismarck's coalition -and also to appease his Anti-Catholic Intellectual base-, the Kulturkampf began as early as 1871. He had the Catholic section of the Prussian Ministry of ecclesiastical and educational affairs abolished, depriving Catholics of their voice at the highest level. The system of strict government supervision of schools was applied only in Catholic areas; the Protestant schools were left alone. Later in 1873 the May Laws made the appointment of any priest dependent on his attendance at a North German university, as opposed to the seminaries that the Catholics typically used. Furthermore, all candidates for the ministry had to pass an examination in German culture before a state board which weeded out intransigent Catholics. Another provision gave the government a veto power over most church activities. A second law abolished the jurisdiction of the Vatican over the Catholic Church in Prussia; its authority was transferred to a government body controlled by Protestants.
His policies had poor results both in home and outwards. South Germany, already a great power, protested these laws extensively and used them as propaganda to bring more hatred to "Greater Prussia", as they had come to call North Germany, further widening the North-South German divide. In addition, the Anti-Catholic policies put North Germany in a poor light where France, Spain, and Italy -three largely Catholic Powers, the latter two of which allied with North Germany at that point- were concerned. Back home, By 1876, all the Prussian bishops were imprisoned or in exile, and a third of the Catholic parishes were without a priest. In the face of systematic defiance, the Bismarck government increased the penalties and its attacks, and were challenged in 1875 when a papal encyclical declared the whole ecclesiastical legislation of Prussia was invalid, and threatened to excommunicate any Catholic who obeyed. There was no violence, but the Catholics mobilized their support, set up numerous civic organizations, raised money to pay fines, and rallied behind their church and the Centre Party. The "Old Catholic Church", which rejected the First Vatican Council, attracted only a few thousand members. Bismarck, a devout pietistic Protestant, realized his Kulturkampf was backfiring when secular and socialist elements used the opportunity to attack all religion, and was forced to roll back the Anti-Catholic laws while attempting to placate Italy and France -the latter of which he feared might come to bring into order the 'Natural Borders of France' once again.
His policies in Germanization saw much more success, however. Initially against the Polish minority in the Prussian province of Posen, he pushed forward the same policy in the North German Settlements and Colonies. Taking a leaf out of the French's book, Bismarckian Germanization enforced laws that tried to eliminate the use of non-German languages in public life, schools and academic settings with the intent of pressuring the non-German population to abandon their national identity. When these policies had a reverse effect, he would use extensive military suppression -at some point, forcing the Poles to attend school when they decided to begin home-schooling in response to the new policies. By 1880, this resulted in a full Deslavization of Prussia by incentivizing migration to Russia. Bismarck had the dual goals of Unifying the North German state for Germans as well as eventually funding and supporting a movement for Polish independence in Russia, something that later led to the Polish-Lithuanian Revolts of 1899 and the independence of Poland, Lithuania, and the Ukraine from the Russian State.
In the Colonies, these policies were followed much more seriously, and with harsher retaliations to any deviation from the law. Gold Coast and Kamerun in particular were ordered to focus specifically on assimilation, while his policies also incentivized migration to the colonies.
On the International scale, North Germany had a policy of Pragmatic Conservatism in response to the Liberal France and Britain, violent Reactionary South Germany, and Harshly Autocratic Russia. Viewing that Austria would eventually plan on a new war, he worked on building a coalition with Bulgaria, and the Netherlands to contain it in case of necessity, allowing Bulgaria to carve an Empire out of Balkans, while working on taking Bohemia out of South Germany's satellite. North German-French relations were neutral for most of his reign, with The French only competing in a friendly Rivalry during the Scramble for Africa but without a politics built on hatred. North German-British relations were less stellar, as Britain viewed the new German realm a threat to its international ambitions, while German-Russian relations worsened by the second.
On 9 March 1888, Wilhelm I died shortly before his 91st birthday. Crown Prince Frederick was proclaimed Friedrich, Norddeutscher Kaiser on the same day. The new Kaiser reached Berlin at 11 p.m. on the night of 11 March; those who saw him were horrified by his "pitiful" appearance. The question now was how much longer the mortally ill emperor could be expected to live, and what, if anything, he could hope to achieve. In spite of his illness, Frederick did his best to fulfill his obligations as Emperor. The new Emperor had been in a Convalescence ever since a successful operation in 8 February 1888 had managed to cure his laryngeal cancer before it could bring him to death. The New Emperor, weakened and suffering through the healing period of his illness, overtook his duties immediately, and his first -and most important- early actions were to dismantle Bismarck's political domination of North Germany.
Bismarck, who had come to become more irritable, authoritarian and less focused in his old age, had long since tried to ensure Frederick wouldn't succeed into his new office, and his fears were proven to be correct, as The dismissal of Robert von Puttkamer, the highly-conservative Prussian interior minister, on 8 June showed. While Friedrich preferred the British model of Constitutionalism to what Prussia had created following the Revolutions of 1848, he had realized that he could not do what Queen Victoria did. The North German Emperor could not be viewed as a Paternal figure, but had to be an authority. In the first few years of his reign, he employed (some believe "suffered through) Bismarck's administration, mostly in order to learn his duties as the Head of State, and to learn the method to Bismarck's madness.
Friedrich and Bismarck fell into conflict for various reasons, and in various levels. While the two were of the same mind that The old Chancellor had to guide him as he had his father, the Emperor was in no mood for his Chancellor's Reactionary and Hardliner policies. A key difference between Friedrich and Bismarck was their approach to handling domestic crises. In 1889, Upper Silesian Coal miners went on strike. While Bismarck had demanded military intervention to deal with the strike, Friedrich rejected this authoritarianism, claiming that he had no wish to shed unneccessary book. Instead of condoning this repression, he had the provincial government to negotiate with the miners' representatives, bringing an end to the strike with minimal violence, eventually implementing laws further favoring the laborers across the realm. The fractious relationship came to a close in March 1890. Bismarck and Friedrich quarreled, The Chancellor threatened to resign (as he would during quarrels with Wilhelm), and the Kaiser responded -in a way eerily similar to how the Chancellor had responded to the French in 1866- "Good, then resign.". The Chancellor did so only a few days later, and the Age of Reaction came to a close.
Friedrich's early years after Bismarck were an era of political turmoil. With the long-reigning Chancellor (who had been the Minister-President of Prussia and thus the power in charge of Northern regions of German Confederation for the majority of the previous 28 years) now gone, the next few Chancellors each reigned for at most a few years. The year 1897 in particular, was known as the Year of three chancellors, with the fifth Chancellor reigning only for five weeks before he was removed from office. The political turmoil did not halt the North German Machine, and the system Bismarck had put in place continued to work where industry, urbanization, Germanization, and Welfare were concerned. Friedrich did however, with consent of the other North German monarchs, reform the Constitution to decrease the authoritarian tendencies of the North German State, bring liberal reforms and slowly pushing the Reactionary coalition out of office.
In an international scale, Fritz's reign (as he came to be informally known) slowly inched out of Realpolitik, becoming more interventionist and active in International affairs. He commenced the industrialization -especially in matter of Railroads- in Mittelafrika, eventually using it as a springboard to halt the British process. He baited the Boer and Afrikaan people of British South Africa to revolt in 1892, subsiding their military efforts, arming their insurgencies, and even at some point sending "voluntary expeditions", largely made of Boer and Dutch immigrants living in The southern parts of Mittelafrika, while officially taking a neutral stance. In Europe, he did the same with Poles regarding Russia, using the North German expat Polish people to help agitate the Polish people of Russian Poland to revolt against the Russian Empire. Under administration of Karl von Wustenberg, the Third Chancellor of North Germany and a supporter of the new, so-called Weltpolitik, North Germany supported an Italian expedition against Ottoman-held Wilayat of Tripoli in 1895, helping Italy carve a colony out of the decaying Ottoman realm.
Wustenberg's diplomatic concentrated on the lesser countries in Europe. In particular, Denmark -which had long since held a grudge against Prussia for the war it had suffered from in 1864. Pitting them against the resurgent power of The Swedish Kingdom, North Germany funded and supported a Danish-Swedish war in 1894 that ended with a minor -but relevant- Danish victory over their northern neighbors that allowed Denmark territories in the Scandinavian region itself. Wustenberg also made a pact of mutual aid with the minor -but still standing- Catalonia, as well as the Lesser Power of Netherlands, which had made itself a largely uncontested colonial Empire in Oceania. Allowing them to use the Bismarck Archipelago as a springboard, Wustenberg's North Germany helped The Dutch Empire successfully Challenge its fellow Great Power for their colonies in Southern Philippine Islands. At the same time, North Germany supported and helped The State of Japan, a newly reformed, fastly modernizing state in Japan, in their rise to a Great Power.
Wustenberg's reign came to an end in March 1897. The fourth Chancellor, Herman von der Saar, came into power in the First New Election of North Germany, where a coalition his loose, bickering coalition of Liberals and Conservatives to challenge Wustenberg's Nationalist Government. von der Saar was a much less interventionist Chancellor, but -and this was something Friedrich learned the hard way- Parliamentarian democracy had not the same effect in the historically dictatorial German Nation as it did in Britain. The weak, mostly illiberal -though, reforming- parliamentary politics resulted in the dissolution of the Liberal Socialist coalition in July of that same year. That same week, a new election was held where Reactionaries and Catholics formed the majority coalition and put 5th Chancellor Maximilian von Papen in charge. That coalition, due to the historical animosity between Bismarckian Reaction and Catholic peoples, fell apart immediately and in September, a new election was held. Thankfully, this was the very last election in that year.
Alfred von Wastrecht-Orenblau, a Nationalist politician, managed to form a coalition with Liberals in exchange for a promise for reform, and assumed power in 6 September 1897. His very first act as Chancellor was drafting a law that banned the use of paramilitary wings by North German Political Parties. With that, street battles -especially between Nationalists, Socialists, and Social Democrats, came to an end. Wastrect-Orenblau's reign was a mix between the Conservative Bismarckian politics and the Loud gunboat policy of Wustenberg. While North Germany continued to form a coalition across Europe -particularly working with France, which had seen their relationship with Britain tank due to the resulting crisis in the Fashoda Incident, where the British Empire put a stop to France's attempts in colonizing the Independent Egypt that was in the British Sphere of Influence. With a rise in Franco-British animosity and a decrease of the historical Franco-Prussian enmity, instead persuading France through politics to push that hatred into South Germany, which had under recent administration made a series of diplomatic blunders that had decreased its prestige to the modern world.
The North African Crisis, also called the Crisis of 1903, was the last of many territorial disputes over the by-now-mostly-colonized African continent. Initially an attempt by the Spanish Empire to connect its Moroccan territories by conquering the Kingdom of Morocco, the crisis began when France, claiming the small state to be under its sphere of Influence, demanded the Spanish Empire to demobilize its military units. Britain sided with Morocco, demanding in return that France cede Dahomey (which had been colonized before the Conference of Berlin solidified land claimed, despite the British claim on its region) to Britain in turn. As France and Britain clashed, North Germany entered the affairs on France's side, demanding that Britain cede its colonies in the Gold Coast to the North German State.
The crisis was ongoing for four months in The Hague, where the Seven Great Powers (Britain, France, North Germany, Russia, South Germany, The United States, and Japan) bickered as Morocco stood by, fearing for its very existence. By November 1903, France, North Germany, and Japan on one side and Britain, Russia, and South Germany on the other had failed to arrive to a settlement and were preparing for war. What put a stop to this madness was the American Argument that a war between the multicontinental Empires in the dispute would lead to an all-out "War to end all wars". The seven Powers agreed to refrain from fighting, however this message had been in conflict with individual messages by France, North Germany, Britain, and Spain. From 16 January to 19 January, multiple colonial conflicts occured. North Germany occupied Spanish Equatorial Guinea, France launched an invasion and blockade of British Guiana, while Britain attacked North German Gold Coast from their own Gold Coast colony. Due to the lack of fighting on the Mainland, the Diplomats in Hague -at the behest of the Dutch King- were convinced to go through the diplomatic mission and sue for a Status Quo peace before partial mobilization in mainland could put an end to all talks for stopping a war.
This event, commonly called the First Moroccan Crisis, brought North Germany's greatest fears into reality. The North Germans needed a Navy, and they needed one that could overtake the mighty British Royal Navy.
Kaiser Friedrich's final years in office were marred with one of the most terrible atrocities to happen at the time. A minor rebellion in Hereroland in 1904 by its native people (the Herero people) was met with extreme suppression by Lothar von Trotha, a maverick North Germany General who was given near-free reign to 'deal with' the situation. Trotha began a series of policies that were highly aimed at the extermination of the rebelling Herero people -who he considered subhuman. These policies included extrajudicial murder, arbitrary arrest, and detainment in concentration camps where they would be forced to slave labor and be experimented on by scientists.
Three years later, and when the extermination was at its height, a Berlin newspaper wrote an article about the atrocities which resulted in protestations by Liberals, Academia, Intelligentsia, the Progressives, and Socialists. Popular protests, as well as Kaiser Friedrich's personal philanthropy, resulted in the Emperor putting the province of Südwest under direct rule from Berlin through an Imperial Decree. Investigations and persecution in the province, and later in Mittelafrika in general, resulted in a massive overhaul of the Large dominion's policies, the popularization of the concept of 'Mittelafrika' (which later culminated in the Mittelafrika Plan which was legislated in 1908 and implemented in 1913). More than 15,000 officials and personnel, both from Südwestafrika, Mittelafrika, and the Colonial Ministry in general, were arrested and found guilty, imprisoned, sacked, exiled, or even executed in the next year. The Herero Genocide (As it came to be known in Südwestafrika) was the first of many clashes between the native people and the North German Confederation which eventually resulted in the Namibian Revolution.
Friedrich and his son Wilhelm saw the lowest point of their relationship on March 1907. While the two had always had an uneasy relationship, partially due to the latter's hatred of her mother (Friedrich's beloved wife) and partially due to their differing, opposite opinions on what would make North Germany Great. After a particularly bitter argument, Friedrich forced Wilhelm to abdicate, instating his second son Heinrich as the new Crown Prince. Heinrich, a famed war veteran and well-known diplomat, was popular but did not have the same political education his brother Wilhelm did, and would leave for The United States immediately for a diplomatic mission. Wilhelm left for one of the minor Hohenzollern Estates, living the next year in bitterness, until he reconciled with his father at the latter's death bed a year later. When the months of Unrest began, Wilhelm refused a crown offered to him by reactionary rebels, supporting his brother's claim as Emperor instead.
Friedrich's health deteriorated in March 1908, and he was forced to bedrest on April 4, when his heir apparent was recalled to take Regency Powers. He eventually passed away on April 12, and Henry of Prussia was crowned Kaiser Heinrich on 18:00 of the same day. Kaiser Heinrich's reign was, through actions and events largely out of his -or North Germany's- control, marred with violence, political unrest, and even one of the most terrible wars to ever befall humanity.
The Months of Unrest began on 25 March, when a socialist revolution in Romania sparked similar revolts, protests, and rallies all over Europe. It culminated in Germany in the Silesian Revolution when after defeating the Second Army Corps in Breslau and chasing the military out of the province on April 28, the Prussian Province of Silesia declared independence as the Silesian Socialist Republic on May 7. Similar protests began in Rhineland, East and West Prussia, and Posen, which in turn sparked reactionary revolts in Saxony and Hanover. The Wastrecht-Orenblau government declared a state of emergency on May 7, calling for a partial mobilization and battling reactionary, socialist, and liberal rebels in the country, while also ceding a number of concessions to the pro-regime socialist factions by easing labor law and improving welfare. The Silesian Republic was defeated and reclaimed on 28 May, and a new election was called for, which Wastrecht-Orenblau's National North German Party, despite losing some seats, managed to win.
The Great War
See The Great War.
Less than a month after Wastrecht-Orenblau's reelection, the assassination of a South German diplomat in North Germany by a Venetian anarchist provided the pretext for South Germany to attack North Germany and trigger The Great War. After four years of warfare in which approximately three million North German soldiers were killed. The rapid pace of inventions during the war and the deterioration of North German relations with its previous allies during the war would redefine the world for the years that were to come. Parts of the North German homeland (in particular, Silesia, Saxony, the Rhineland, and Thuringia) were occupied by the South German armies, nearly the entirety of the Kingdom of Prussia was also victim of occupation by the Russian Empire in the early months of the war, while both the North Sea, the English Channel, and the Baltic Sea were active naval warzones for the duration of the Great War. North Germany consolidated its status as the primary Continental Military force in the Great War, eventually an armistice in Karlsruhe ended the war, while the Treaty of Wien (the Final Act of the Peace Conference of Vienna) enforced massive political changes in the world. The various governments created out of the partitioning of the losing nations officially signed the Treaty of Vienna in 1912 with North Germany, conceding defeat, and paying unfair amounts of reparation. This treaty is seen by many historians as an influential reason for the beginning of the second Great War 20 years later. North Germany was granted 1,142 kilometers of land out of South German territory, and it annexed minor colonial possessions from Britain in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
The Wastrecht-Orenblau government continued for three more years after the Great War, and was eventually concluded after the establishment of the Kingdoms of Livonia, Ruthenia, and the Republic of Ukraine -which had gone against the Orenblau policy. Wastrecht-Orenblau personally resigned from office in protest to Kaiser Heinrich's recognition of the three states, which brought forth the Age of Reform.
North German government and society was reformed extensively in the early years after the Great War. The removal of Chancellor Wastrecht-Orenblau and his conservative-imperialist government from office and the surge of liberal, progressive political and social though in every aspect of the society resulted in a massive number of reforms. The socialist von Schmidt government passed the eight-hour workday, domestic labour reform, works councils, agricultural labour reform, right of civil-service associations, local municipality social welfare relief (split between Reich and States) and important national health insurance, re-instatement of demobilised workers, protection from arbitrary dismissal with appeal as a right, regulated wage agreement between 1915 and 1917, while the Progressive Ostlau government finally legalized female suffrage in 1918, which was later confirmed in the Imperial Constitution by 1929. Press censorship and union busting were both abolished, giving the unrestricted right for laborers to organize into union, while the welfare system was reformed to increase old-age, sick and unemployed benefits for workers. A series of consecutive socialist, progressive, and liberal governments provided maximum working 48-hour workweek, restriction on night work, a half-holiday on Saturday, and a break of 36-hours of continuous rest during the week. Health Insurance was extended to wives and daughters without independent income, people only partially capable of gainful employment, people employed in private cooperatives, and people employed in public cooperatives. Taxes were increased on the capital, though the last was opposed the most by the Conservative faction which had by this point lost all hope of stopping the political and social progress anytime soon.
Immediately after the Great War, North Germany used the majority of its reparations to rebuild the destroyed territories that had been under enemy occupation. As relations between the newly-established states (particularly in what had once been the South German federation) began to normalize, North Germany fought a shadow war against socialists and fascists who had quickly seized power in the new republican states by promoting promoting liberal and conservative politics in these countries.
The latter years of the Interwar Era saw the normalization of the North German-British relations. The two historical rivals were forced to band together as the Continent once again prepared itself for war. The Unification of the various South German Free States under the völkisch movement, led by Eberhard Strauss, along with the militarization of the Socialist Internationale and the Brotherhood of Nations forced North Germany to find an ally in its historical trade and naval rival. The two leaders of what was quickly dubbed 'the civilized nations' after a speech made by the British Prime Minister John Kavanaugh ("The world is quickly falling to socialism, fascism, and other forms of barbarity. It is obvious to all now that the British Empire is a last bastion of civilization among all these once-proud Nations"), were forced to abandon historical enmity and prepare for war.
The failure of the Conference of Wien to establish fair and equal treaties towards the losing sides, the rivalries borne out of the war between multiple countries, and the lack of well-established international organizations built for international cooperation ensured that the "war to end war" would not end war by any means. By 1930, all countries had regained the population losses they had suffered, and by 1932, the South German states had reunified despite treaties barring them of doing so. The emergence of a new Socialist sphere of influence (primarily in the Balkans) and National Militarist totalitarian ideologist in many major or strategic countries (Turkey, France, Italy, Russia, South Germany, Japan, and China) would recreate the international cliques that started the First Great War.
The Second Great War itself is a term used to refer to a number of consecutive -but largely unrelated- wars fought in Europe and its dominions. The first of these wars, the War of Liberation, was fought between the Third Socialist Internationale (made of Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary) and the Second Pact of Rome (made of Italy, South Germany, Turkey, and Ukraine) over ideological disagreements between 1932 and 1934. This was was nearly concluded by a Pact victory with the occupation of Bulgarian Capital Sofia by the Turkish military when The second of these wars, the Second Napoleonic War, began. The Napoleonic War was fought between The French Empire and many nations of Europe (that is to say, The Netherlands, Britain, North Germany, Italy, Catalonia, Spain, South Germany, Yugoslavia, and Poland) when France, in an attempt to restore the First French Empire, invaded its neighbors. The French expansion was not halted until they had capitulated The Dutch, Catalonia, Spain, Italy, South Germany, and Yugoslavia, with the most important parts of Western North Germany also under their occupation in 1939. This war itself was accompanied by a third Brother's War between North and South Germany, and a war between the Pact of Rome and the "Civilized Nations" (which was an unofficial series of democratic or monarchist nations in Europe). The War was finally ended in the Conference of Potsdam after the French unconditional surrender in Paris in 1941 and the Conference of Potsdam a few months later.
The Second World War was less destructive compared to its precursor. While the militaries were much more powerful and the period of war much longer, the total casualties on both sides, military or otherwise, was half that of the Great War. In the conclusion of the second Great War, North Germany returned the province of Hohenzollern to a newly-reestablished Free State of Württemberg, the Habsburg were restored in Austria, and the French were forced to recognize the independence of Alsace and Lorraine. The Orléans dynasty was restored in France, while Turkey ceded Thrace to Bulgaria -which had suffered the most at its hand- and recognized the independence of the Free City of Constantinople.
When the Great War ended in 1942, the world was left with three "chief" Superpowers. While the United States of America held massive influence in the New World, the British Empire (now christened British Commonwealth) controlled massive territory in nearly every continent and the North German Confederation had become the sole great power of the Continent. This led to an essential cold war between the three superpowers. While the United States was outmatched by both the British and the Germans in military technology, The US held the most industrial capacity.
Three years before the second Great War could end, Nuclear fission was discovered in KWG (Kaiser Wilhelm Society), a society of prestigious scientific institutes that had been originally founded in 1911. While progress to develop nuclear weapons did occur, at least under North German leadership, the first serious attempts to develop a nuclear weapon began only months after the Treaty of Potsdam. North Germany, fully aware of the possible power of weaponized nuclear fission, began considering it as a possible deterrent. Project K eventually reached success in 1944 after a series of 11 tests in North Germany's Pacific Islands, North Germany developed its own "Kernwaffe", becoming the first Nuclear State in 1944. This began a nuclear arms race in Europe between Continental States and the British Commonwealth (The UK eventually developed its own weapons in 1948. France, Russia, and (eventually) India developed their own nuclear weaponry between 1948 and 1966.
However, the cold war between three powers was not the only problem North Germany faced after the Great Wars. Between 1942 and 1961, North Germany suffered a series of colonial rebellions (linked to have been funded by British and American troops) in Africa (primarily Mittelafrika) and Papua. In a humiliating series of defeats (that its fellow Colonial Powers also suffered across the World), North Germany lost 95% of its territory and a large percentage of its population, limited only to its Pacific, Caribbean, and Atlantic possessions in addition to Gold Coast (parts of which were named Wastrecht and granted statehood in the North German Confederation).
See The Alexandretta War.
For North Germany, the Postbellum Era ended with the North German-Antillean War in 1996. The ensuing war, considered only part of the larger, ongoing European-American Conflict, began when Antillia, backed by the United States, invaded and attempted to annex Reichshafen, a state of the North German Confederation. Fearing the loss of prestige that losing Reichshafen would result in, and potential acts of aggression by the Continental Association that could follow, North German Chancellor Hanna von Altmark launched Opration Wunderwand and effectively put all of the Caribbean Sea under a naval blockade. While the war itself would go for over five years, there were only three major operations during the war. The Battle of Sankt-Jon where North German Sea Infantry fought the occupying Antillean forces in Reichshafen (April-May 1996), a failed attack on Port-au-Prince by North Germany that resulted in the fall of the Altmark government in 1998, and the Battle of Cuba where North German forces fought the bulk of the Antillean Navy and utterly destroyed its naval capabilities (2000).
Originating within North German military defense networks, the Global Network spread to international academic platforms and then to the public in the 1990s, greatly affecting the global economy, society, and culture.
Following the conclusion of the North German-Antillean War, North Germany took a much more belligerent stance in diplomacy, and has thus far been in nine different conlficts on a global scale. Richard Lagenmauer, the first North German Chancellor not born in Europe was elected in 2013. He has implemented a series of progressive acts and policies, including phasing out fossil fuel in the state, improvements to the state's Healthcare System and improving economy. In 2020, Lagenmauer's government defeated a Malay attempt to conquer Singapur and later participated in the Alexandretta War after Turkey attempted to invade Constantinople.
See Government Overview; States of the Bund.
North Germany is a federation of states ruled by a Limited Constitutional Monarchy. The North German political System, laid out by the North German Constitution of 1867, has been mostly the same though its constitution was amended again in 1891.
The Empress (Kaiserin), currently Sophie, is the Head of State. A hereditary position, the Kaiserin is also the Queen of Prussia, the Stadthalterin of Berlin, and also the President of the Confederation. The Imperial crown is tied to that of Prussia. The Kaiserin has the power to declare war, represent the Realm abroad, conclude treaties and alliance and accredit and receive ambassadors. The Kaiserin can also propose Federal laws and appoint Federal Offices.
The Chancellor (Reichskanzler), currently Richard Lagenmauer, is the de jure Head of Government. The office of Chancellor is appointed by the Kaiser. He has executive power over the Bundesrat and can delegate the power to represent him to any of its members. Federal Laws require the approval of the Chancellor.
The North German Parliament is made of two chambers: The Bundesrat and the Reichstag.
The Reichstag, the lower chamber of the North German Parliament are elected through universal suffrage (which is, in practice, limited to males): each member represents a district (Kreise) by a majority vote. Since 1993, the Reichstag has 427 members.
Frankfurt, the leading business centre in Europe
Being home to the modern car, the automotive industry in North Germany is regarded as one of the most competitive and innovative in the world, and is the fourth largest by production. The top 10 exports of Germany are vehicles, machinery, chemical goods, electronic products, electrical equipments, pharmaceuticals, transport equipments, basic metals, food products, and rubber and plastics. Germany is one of the largest exporters globally.
Of the world's 500 largest stock-market-listed companies measured by revenue in 2019, the Fortune Global 500, 29 are headquartered in North Germany. 30 major North-Germany-based companies are included in the NAX, the North German stock market index which is operated by Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Well-known international brands include Volkswagen, Deutsche Telekom, Lufthansa, Krupp AG, Mauser and the JON Gruppe. Berlin is a hub for startup companies and has become the leading location for venture capital funded firms in Europe. North Germany is recognized for its large portion of specialized small and medium enterprises, known as the Mittelstand model. These companies represent 48% global market leaders in their segments, labelled Hidden Champions.
Research and development efforts form an integral part of the North German economy. In 2018 North Germany ranked third globally in terms of number of science and engineering research papers published. Research institutions in North Germany include the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, the Fraunhofer Society and the North German World Space Society, North Germany is the largest contributor to the European Space Agency
North Germany has a social market economy characterized by a highly qualified labor force, a developed infrastructure, a large capital stock, a low level of corruption and a high level of innovation. It has the largest national economy in Europe and the second largest by GDP in the world. The service sector contributes around 56% of the total GDP, industry 41%, and agriculture 4%.
In 2020 agriculture, forestry, and mining accounted for only 4% of North Germany's GDP and employed only 2.6% of the population, down from 4% in 1990 and 34% in 1950. Agriculture is extremely productive, and North Germany is able to cover almost all of its nutritional needs with domestic production. North Germany is the second largest agricultural producer in the European Society after France. North Germany's principal agricultural products are potatoes, wheat, barley, sugar beets, fruit, cocoa and cabbages.
Strip mining lignite in Rhineland
The North German soil is relatively poor in raw materials. Only lignite (brown coal) and potash salt (Kalisalz) are available in significant quantities. However, there are relatively large uranium mines in Eastern North Germany, primarily Prussia, that make North Germany the fourth largest producer of uranium ore worldwide. Potash salt is mined in the center of the country.
North Germany's bituminous coal deposits were created more than 300 million years ago from swamps which extended from the present-day South England, over the Ruhr area to Poland. Lignite deposits developed in a similar way, but during a later period, about 66 million years ago. Because the wood is not yet completely transformed into coal, brown coal contains less energy than bituminous coal.
Lignite is extracted in the extreme western and eastern parts of the country, mainly in Rhineland, Saxony and Prussia. Considerable amounts were once burned in the country's coal plants to produce electricity but the country has recently abandoned the use of coal wholesale.Industry
Industry and construction accounted for 41% of the GDP in 2020 and employed 33% of the workforce. North Germany excels in the production of automobiles, machinery, electrical equipment and chemicals. With the manufacture of 5.2 million vehicles in 2009, the nation was the world's fourth largest producer and largest exporter of automobiles. North German locomotive companies enjoy an extremely strong position in global economy with a combined world market share of about 90%.
Small- to medium-sized manufacturing firms (Mittelstand companies) which specialize in technologically advanced niche products and are often family-owned form a major part of the North German economy. It is estimated that about 1500 North German companies occupy a top three position in their respective market segment worldwide. In about two thirds of all industry sectors North German companies belong to the top three competitors.
In 2017 services constituted 56% of GDP, and the sector employed 56.4% of the workforce. The subcomponents of services are financial, renting, and business activities (30.5%); trade, hotels and restaurants, and transport (18%); and other service activities (21.7%).
In 2015, North Germany was the world's seventh-largest consumer of energy. It officially discarded fossil fuel through a process, phasing out coal, oil and natural gas power plant between 2014 and 2025. It meets the country's power demands using 45% renewable sources, 50% nuclear energy and only 5% fossil fuel. North Germany is committed to the Paris Agreement and several other treaties promoting biodiversity, low emission standards, and water management.
North Germany is ninth most visited country in the world with an average 38.5 million visits per year. Berlin has become the third most visited city destination in Europe after Rome and Paris. Additionally, more than 30% of Germans spend their holiday in their own country. Domestic and international travel and tourism combined directly contribute over ℛℳ632.25 billion to North German GDP. Including indirect and induced impacts, the industry contributes 7.5% of North German GDP and supports 5% of total employment in the country.
North Germany's most visited and popular landmarks include Cologne Cathedral, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building , Dresden Zwinger, Fernsehturm Berlin, the Walhalla memorial, the Königsberg Castle and Aachen Cathedral.
See 2020 North German Census
Culture in North Germany, as in all German states, has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular. Historically, Germany has been called Das Land der Dichter und Denker ("the land of poets and thinkers") because of the major role its writers and philosophers have played in the development of Western thought.
While South Germany is better known for its folk festivals such as the Oktoberfest, North Germany also has traditions such as Christmas customs, which include Advent wreaths, Christmas pageants, Christmas trees, Stollen cakes, and other practices. As of 2016, World Cultural Organization inscribes 42 properties in Germany on the World Heritage List. There are a number of public holidays in Germany determined by each state; 23 August has been a national day of North Germany since 1925, celebrated as the Tag der Einheit.