Germany. The terrorist act in the United States in September had domestic policy repercussions in Germany. 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.
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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 constitutional assembly.
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 Germany.
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 power.
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.
According to Countryaah, the population of Germany in 2001 was 81,602,630, ranking number 14 in the world. The population growth rate was 0.050% yearly, and the population density was 234.1139 people per km2.