Germany. The terrorist act in the United States in
September had domestic policy repercussions in Germany.
Countryaah, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's decision that German troops
should participate in the military effort against
Afghanistan was met by protests mainly from the coalition
partner the environmental party, but also on their own
Social Democratic ranks. But Schröder turned it into a
matter of confidence, and in November passed a vote of no
confidence with a slight margin: 334 of 336 necessary votes.
Christian Democratic CDU voted against Schröder even though
the party supported the participation.
Suspected terrorists were hunted in the country, not
least when it turned out that several of the US aircraft had
studied in Hamburg. A number of people were also arrested
and new laws were passed to fight terror.
The crisis of mad cow disease, BSE, harvested its first
political victims at the beginning of the year when the
Minister of Health and Agriculture resigned. When Schröder
appointed a successor, he tried to repair the damage to some
extent by extending the Minister of Agriculture's
responsibility to "consumer safety". As new "super-minister"
for all these issues, environmentalist Renate Künast was
elected, who then resigned as a speaker in the party.
At the beginning of the year, Defense Minister Rudolf
Scharping outlined earlier plans for heavy cuts to the
military, by reducing staff and the closure of garrisons.
The savings of DEM 1 billion a year would be used for
high-tech military investments.
The German economy was in a deep slump and there was not
much at the end of the year to indicate a speedy recovery.
Unemployment rose by one percentage point to 9% and growth
during the year seemed to fall to a low 0.25%, compared with
3% the previous year.
The fear of socialism
Three years later, war broke out with France. The German
victory became, for Bismarck, the final and decisive step in
his project for the unification of Germany on the basis of
monarchy and under Prussian domination. The empire faced two
inner opposing forces: the Catholic Church and the Social
Democracy. Bismarck first issued the May Laws, which
included secularisation of teaching and other civic
activities, but later withdrew them to reckon with the
church as an ally against socialism. The regime was alerted
to the growth of social democracy and implemented a
combination of repression and social reforms to neutralize
the potential of the working class.
The Bismarck government used trade protectionism to
increase the country's own income and support the
industrialization process. The German economy took another
leap forward. Especially because of the development of the
heavy industry, the chemical production, the
electrotechnical production and the development of
production means. The establishment of the triple alliance
with Austria and Italy, as well as the establishment of
colonies in Africa and Asia from 1884, was an intention to
develop the German empire into a world power. In Africa,
Germany established colonies in Tanganyika, Cameroon, Togo
and South West Africa and in Asia in New Guinea, the
Caroline Islands, Marshall and Samoa Islands. The colonies,
however, did not throw much, and by the end of World War I
they were taken over by the victors of the war.
World War 1
The background to the outbreak of World War I in 1914 was
Germany's rivalry with France and England, on the one hand,
and Russia and Serbia, on the other. When Germany's allies
Austria-Hungary and Turkey capitulated in November 1918,
Germany's defeat was inevitable. The crisis was accelerated
by the internal revolution which forced the emperor to
resign. The government was entrusted to Social Democrat
Friedrich Ebert, who was commissioned to convene a
German social democracy had been divided into a moderate
wing, which was in favor of gradual progress towards
socialism, and a wing that advocated revolutionary change.
The Spartacus group led by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa
Luxemburg identified themselves with the Russian October
Revolution (1917) and wanted a similar development in
In December 1918, the government set the following month
for elections to a constitutional assembly, and the military
was sent on the streets to fight the riots and the popular
uprising that radical socialism supported. In January 1919,
the Spartacus leaders were arrested and summarily executed.
(See German Revolution). A few days later, voters gave a
substantial majority to the moderate Social Democrats in the
new assembly. In the city of Weimar, in February 1919, the
Assembly appointed Ebert as the first President of the
Republic. In June 1919, after serious deliberations, the
Socialist Gustav Bauer government signed the Versailles
peace treaty. In 1921, the victors ordered Germany to pay
132,000 million marks in war damages, which the country was
unable to meet.
Germany was declared insolvent by the War Damages
Commission and in January 1923 Belgian and French troops
occupied the industrial Ruhr area. That same year, economic
and financial instability triggered hyperinflation,
affecting large parts of the petty bourgeoisie. Only with a
monetary reform, in late 1924, the German government managed
to stabilize the country's finances.
With Ebert's death in 1925, Marshal Paul von Hindenburg
was elected new president. Hans saw it as his biggest task
again to place Germany in the line of great powers. He
supported the old land-owning Junk Citizenship in the
eastern part of the country and its desire to return to
Berlin, Germany's capital and largest city, with 3.56 million entries (2014);
from 1949 to 1990, East Berlin was the capital of the GDR. Berlin is also one of
the 16 federal states of Germany. The city covers an area of 889 km2,
divided into 12 districts (Bezirke).
From the end of World War II until 1990, Berlin was divided into East and
West Berlin, and this division has markedly shaped the cityscape. In the
following, therefore - after a brief geographical presentation - we first deal
with the history of Berlin, followed by a city description.
Berlin is located on the river Spree in the large Berlin-Warsaw meltwater
valley (Urstromtal). The highest point in central Berlin is Kreuzberg (66 m),
while Schäferberg to the southwest at Wannsee reaches 103 m and Müggelberge to
the southeast at Müggelsee with Kleiner Müggelberg reaching 88 m (minus the 30 m
high current Müggelturm from 1961) and Großer Müggelberg 115 m. The highest
point in Berlin is Teufelsberg (117 m), one of the so-called Trümmerberge,
formed from accumulated material from the clean-up of the ruins after World War
II. In the former West Berlin alone there are 16 of these hills.
Over half of Berlin's area is undeveloped and comprises, besides the forest,
lake and park areas especially in the northeast of agricultural and
horticultural areas. The outer districts are rich in lakes, streams and
woodlands. To the west are the lakes at Havel with the forests Grunewald,
Berliner Stadtforst, Spandauer Stadtforst and Tegeler Forst; to the east are the
lakes at Spree and Dahme with surrounding forests.
Berlin can be divided into three distinctive parts: the old city within the
Customs Wall, the Wilhelmina metropolitan area from the latter half of the
1800's, characterized by large, wide streets and avenues, as well as the outer
districts of former suburbs with residential buildings and old village cores,
incorporated in Berlin in 1920. A distinctive feature of Berlin and especially
of the outer districts are the numerous garden colonies.
The regular street network from the Renaissance and the seats at the former
gates continue to exist. From these places the former country roads such as
"Chaussee", "Allee" and "Damm" are removed.