For questions on German Empire, Weimar Republic, Third Reich, German Democratic Republic and the modern Federal Republic of Germany.

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German WWI Retreat

I am wondering if there was any standardized signal for a retreat that the Germans used during WWI. I know that flares and sirens were used for various things, but haven't read anything regarding ...
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Was presidium of Soviet Supreme Council borrowed from the presidium of the Reichstag?

I have learned that in Germany the leading committee of the Reichstag was known as the Presidium. I wonder whether it played the role as the source for the Soviet term meaning roughly the same. And ...
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Nazism and Jewish persecution awareness during the WW2 years [closed]

I've always wondered how is it possible that an entire nation and beyond (Germany) wasn't aware of the Jewish persecution during the WW2 years or, if they were, that they did nothing to stop it. Were ...
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Clauses against unifications in peace treaties

I have learned in school that the Treaty of Versailles (after World War I in 1919) contained a clause that forbade unification of Germany and Austria. Presumably it is Article 80: Germany ...
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What effect did awareness of devastating bombing at home have on the fighting spirit of German troops on the Eastern front?

German troops fighting in Russia must have been aware of the destruction of their cities back home by American and British bombing. Knowing that their loved ones were in danger and that their ...
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Has this newspaper printed the wrong picture (as well as a baffling caption)?

Yesterday's Daily Express decorated its WW1 piece with a picture and caption. Link to the story here. It was picked up on Twitter by @philipoltermann: Missed this at the time: Express invents ...
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How did Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof end up on the list of prisoners to be released, by Black September?

After seeing the movie The Baader-Meinhof Komplex, I was confused by one part, which was how Andreas Baader and Ulrike Meinhof ended up on the list of prisoners to be released at the 1972 Olympics. ...
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1answer
192 views

When did Australia declare war on Germany in WWII

In 1939, Australia had not ratified the 1931 Westminster Statute, and so lacked independent foreign policy. Menzies recognised this by saying in 1939, that as Britian was at war with Germany, so ...
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1answer
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Is the modern German language the same as it was in Roman times? [closed]

Was the German language influenced by any other languages? How did the German language get to what we hear today? I know that the letters were influenced by Latin, but did the language change or just ...
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2answers
159 views

Why did Germany take so long to consolidate into a single nation?

To the casual observer, the Holy Roman Empire seems locked in time, continuing its almost feudal tradition even while every other part of Europe was consolidating into nations and empires. By the ...
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3answers
434 views

Why did Germany not colonise much?

Why did Germany not become a major colonizer?
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698 views

What did Germany do after World War II to recover so successfully that it became more prosperous than its WW2 victors?

Germany lost in World War II. Being the loser, its economy started at a disadvantage compared to her World War II victors in the aftermath of WW2. However, Germany managed to recover more ...
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224 views

What was the fate of SS members after World War II?

What happened to most of the members of the SS after the war? Were they punished?
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144 views

Did the Weimar governments publish revelatory WWI documents?

Consider this statement from a speech by Yegor Gaidar: Historically, such myths have a dangerous precedent--namely, Germany between World War I and World War II. Then, the legend went that ...
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133 views

Cost of education in Germany in 1900

I am curious how much did the German universities charge their students in late 19th early 20th century. I am specifically interested in the math/science education at University of Göttingen, one of ...
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205 views

Conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI

Was there a special treatment for conscientious objectors in Germany during WWI? I know that Britain had a process of exemptions, which was however rather harshly and sparingly administered (see ...
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1answer
204 views

Who was in charge of the Barysaw massacre (20 October 1941)?

I'm looking for information about the Barysaw Massacre of 20 October 1941. Who preformed it and who was in charge of this operation?
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1answer
341 views

Why did the welfare state succeed in Bismarck Germany but lagged in 20th-century Britain?

Otto von Bismarck pioneered the welfare state in Germany and Bismarck was/is greatly respected by Germans. Pre-World War I British Liberal Party made welfare reforms after the 1906 general election. ...
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1answer
157 views

Were the heavy war reparations on Germany after World War I the main cause of its hyperinflation in 1923?

World War I victors imposed severe war reparations on Germany. When Germany defaulted, France invaded the Ruhr which was the most heavily industrialized area in Germany to force reparations ...
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112 views

What is a “Schwedenschanze” on an 1830's map of Eastern Bavaria?

The modern translation by BING is Swedish ski jump or Swedish hill, depending on whether or not I insert a space, but this seems very unlikely in that time period. The structure is clearly man-made, ...
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141 views

Legal grounds of functioning of Third Reich concentration camps

I know for sure that repressions in the USSR at thirties had been en masse illegal in the sense that the laws existed at that period of time there's no word about, say, executing people without any ...
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1answer
272 views

German influence if the Nazis had won [closed]

By German influence I am referring to the German language. I hear all the time that if Germany won the war we would be speaking German right now. Clearly there is a lot of exaggeration there and the ...
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1answer
142 views

What was Poland's posture during the Seven Years' War?

Poland seems like the "invisible" party during the Seven Years' War Ostensibly, it was fought between France, Austria, and Russia on one side, and Prussia, plus Great Britain-Hannover on the other. ...
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271 views

Why did Empress Elizabeth and Catherine the Great of Russia have such different policies toward Frederick the Great?

Elizabeth of Russia seemed to consider Frederick the Great Russia's worst enemy. She waged the Seven Years' War in order to conquer East Prussia (which she planned to exchange to Poland for territory ...
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Why did World War I victors let Germany pay reparations in German Marks and gave it the option to default via inflation?

Under the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to make heavy war reparations to the victors of World War I. What puzzles me was that the reparations were denominated in Marks (German Currency at ...
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How did Germany rebuild so quickly after World War I?

After World War I, Germany suffered severe economic damage. Germany was asked to make horrendous war reparations, suffered hyperinflation, social chaos .... In addition, world economic conditions were ...
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196 views

Was the German Empire responsible for the advancement of german technology?

After the creation of the German Empire in 18 January 1871, there was a boom of advancement in Germany. Especially in chemistry, motors and electricity. At the same time Germany quickly grew as an ...
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121 views

When did Germany begin to store it's gold deposits abroad? [closed]

I just learned from this question that Germany is storing it's gold reserves around the globe. When did this practice start? What was occurring at that time that drove the decision? And an ...
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National Socialist litterature - Where to find it? [closed]

I'm trying to make my mind as to the influence of Freud's, Bergson's works on Nazi ideology as well as to some questions regarding Heidegger and the Nazi ideas. I was recommended to read Alfred ...
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174 views

Why did the Germans wait until it was too late to reinstate their unrestricted submarine warfare in WWI?

Before the US Navy eclipsed the Royal Navy one of the closest threats to the Royal Navy's dominance of the high seas was the German U-boats of WWI. The German Naval program started in 1898 by Alfred ...
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172 views

Why did antique guns and swords from the Franco-Prussian War make part of the demilitarization program to which Germany was subjected?

As is well known, after the WW2 ended, the U.S. imposed a strong program of demilitarization to Germany. Can anybody explain the reason why the "antique guns and swords from the Franco-Prussian ...
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3answers
4k views

How did Germany produce such an impressive portfolio of officers for WW2?

von Runstedt Model Dietl Guderian von Manstein Rommel Kesselring (who was an able commander both on land and in the air) Richtofen Donitz Raeder All of these German names have been featured heavily ...
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5answers
389 views

Were East Germans more acquiescent to Soviet domination than the rest of Eastern Europe and if so, why?

Most Eastern European states had some form of revolt or another against the Soviet regime, e.g. 1956 Hungary, 1968 Czech Republic and 1980 Polish strikes. However, there was no major uprising in East ...
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Why and how were east Brandenburg, Pomerania and Silesia taken away from Germany after WW2?

These areas have always been German, in fact Pomerania and Brandenburg were both part of Prussia since the 1700's. Why did the Soviet Union do this, and how did the victorious powers justify taking ...
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671 views

Have Germany and Poland ever signed a peace treaty after WWII?

I met a shocking (for me) information, that Germany and Poland have not signed a peace treaty after the World War II. Because I could not believe this, I performed some research. In the Potsdam ...
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Why did the Soviet Union lift the Berlin Blockade?

Between 24th June 1948 and 12th May 1949 land routes into West Berlin were blocked by Soviet forces and West Berliners were supplied entirely by air (the famous Berlin Airlift). No one connected with ...
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2answers
394 views

Why was the 1944 surrender of 20,000 Germans on the Western Front remarkable?

I remember very well those days last September when we first heard the rumor that General Elster would surrender to the 99th Division, no one would believe it. "20,000 German troops and their ...
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340 views

Did Goebbels realize that his wife used to know Arlozorov?

One of the versions for Arlozorov's 1933 murder (not solved to this day!) is that it had something to do with his early friendship with Magda Goebbels. This is what wikipedia says, soberly hedging its ...
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3answers
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Why did Germany attack Neutral Belgium in the first world war?

I have a basic idea about the Schieffen plan and I know that Germany attacked Belgium in the First world war. But I am slightly confused about this topic, as despite the fact that the schieffen plan ...
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Why were there no Internment camps for German-American Citizens in USA during WW2?

I am certainly aware of Japanese-americans being detained in Internment camps , after the attack on Pearl Harbor , and subsequent declaration of war on United States , by the empire of Japan. About ...
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229 views

What was the practical reason for East Germany to reunify with West Germany?

Why did the East German government decide that they should join the West? Was it their economical decline, political turmoil or anything else?
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3answers
498 views

Why and how did some Germans choose to join the Stasi (Staatssicherheit)?

I'm wondering; What motivated some Germans to join the Stasi or to support the Stasi? Were there any common backgrounds among those who did so apart from living or being from the East? Why did so ...
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2answers
361 views

Freedom of speech in Germany since WW2

I remember as a child I heard about some people who spoke on behalf of the German government before and during WW2, and that those people were being sent to prison just for saying those things. I ...
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1answer
295 views

Popularity of knight-robbery in the 15th century in Germany, Poland and Silesia

I've found the term Raubritter (German), which is translated to Robber-knight, and I was wondering - was it a popular thing in the 15th century? Were there many such knights? If they were tolerated by ...
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2answers
256 views

What was the contemporary German public opinion on the Herero Genocide?

The genocide took place during 1904-1907, organized by General von Trotha. Wikipedia says: Von Trotha's methods caused a public outcry which led the Imperial Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow to ask ...
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1answer
82 views

Language in German cloisters during the High Middle Ages

I would like to know which was the spoken and literary language in German cloisters during the High Middle Ages. Is it possible to differentiate between social groups in the cloister (monks, laymen, ...
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1answer
325 views

Missing link in the German tank development?

As you know, the Leopard 1 was not the first tank of postwar Germany. Germany work on different new tanks. There are prototypes as medium tank Indienpanzer (later developed into a Swiss KW30 and its ...
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Ethnic Germans in Russian service in Poland

General Brusilov wrote in his memoirs that a few years before the war he was serving in a high military position in Russian-controlled Poland and that he was appalled by the fact that all Russian high ...
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Aside from the Jews, did Hitler have a final solution plan for other ethnicities/races in the Third Reich?

We know that Nazi ideology explicitly singled out Jews as the main reason for all Germany's problems, and planned to exterminate all of them. Nazis also persecuted gypsies, Polish people, and POWs. ...
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Why the Romans were unable to conquer Germania?

Emperor Augustus ordered his army to subdue the Germanic tribes in what is modern Germany. This was promptly achieved and by 6 AD the Romans controlled Germany up to the river Elba. The Romans were ...