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

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77
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27answers
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Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

This has always bothered me. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad... and it's also a well known fact that every European country which tried to invade Russia has ...
32
votes
9answers
5k views

Why did Hitler declare war on the USA?

Since there had not been any offensives launched by either side against the other, why declare war just because Japan had attacked the USA?
30
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3answers
5k views

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 ...
24
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5answers
6k views

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 ...
24
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3answers
1k views

No speed limit on German highways - why?

I wonder what are the historical circumstances that led to lack of speed limit on German federal Autobahn network. There is an advisory 130 km/h limit, but it is not mandatory one nor obeyed ...
21
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1answer
904 views

Third Reich? What were the other two? [closed]

Nazi Germany is widely called the Third Reich. But what were the First and Second Reich then?
20
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3answers
2k views

How unfavorable were the terms of Germany's “surrender” in WW1?

The First World War ended when an armistice was signed between the Germans and the Allies. At that point, while Germany had no realistic hopes of winning the war, they had no enemies within their ...
19
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7answers
7k views

What were the post World War 2 effects on Germany?

What where the impacts of WW2 on Germany? Obviously the war meant that a lot of resources where spent and that the youth population was significantly reduced. How did this affect Germany's post war ...
15
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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 ...
15
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3answers
854 views

Why was the Western Front so static in World War I?

Once the German advance was halted, neither side could seriously advance for two years. This seems like an extraordinarily long time. Why didn't anyone succeed at going around the trenches or striking ...
15
votes
1answer
164 views

In which document was the exact course of the northern part of the German-Polish border decided?

While researching the answer to "How was Germany's border decided?", I didn't manage to find any documents which would precisely describe the borders between Germany and Poland between the points 53° ...
14
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2answers
495 views

How did Hitler behave towards all those whom he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power?

What do we know of Hitler's acts and attitudes towards those people he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power? For example, his World War One comrades? Did they receive and attention ...
13
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2answers
2k views

Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans

I encountered an interesting quote on the English Wikipedia page for Germania some time ago, which seems to have persisted, albeit without citation. I was hoping someone could find a reliable source ...
13
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1answer
225 views

What set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the other border checkpoints in Berlin during the Cold War?

How did "Checkpoint Charlie" become known as the border crossing between East and West Berlin? Out of the countless border checkpoints, what set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the rest for defectors?
12
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4answers
931 views

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. ...
12
votes
2answers
351 views

At which point in time did the majority of German population become aware of the Holocaust?

I've read the wikipedia pages on Responsibility for the Holocaust and German Resistance to Nazism but the answer is not clear. It's established that large numbers of Germans were aware of the ...
11
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2answers
1k views

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 ...
10
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1answer
2k views

German Government branches during World War 2

During World War 2, what government branches, if any, existed in Germany? I've always heard about the Third Reich and Hitler, but I never heard about the rest of the government.
10
votes
4answers
331 views

What are the safeguards in the German constitution of 1949 against dictatorship?

In the constitution of 1949 Germany ensured that chancellors could not endow themselves with additional powers, eliminating the chance of a repeat of Hitler's 1933 episode. What were these steps?
9
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10answers
2k views

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 ...
9
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4answers
2k views

How was Germany's border decided?

What is the timeline of events that led to Germany's current geographic shape? For example: 1871: German Empire formed 1919: Weimar Republic formed
9
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4answers
3k views

Where was the pre-war (ww2) border between Poland and Germany?

I am interested in mapping the pre-war (WWII) border between Poland and Germany. Is there any data available in a public resource? Can anyone describe waypoints along the border in terms of modern ...
9
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4answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
682 views

Did Stalin want to restore the Russian Empire's borders?

On one hand, it seems so because the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact defined the border between the two spheres of influence to be the border of the Russian Empire before WWI. On the other hand, the USSR ...
9
votes
1answer
129 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, ...
9
votes
1answer
196 views

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 ...
9
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2answers
302 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
92 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, ...
9
votes
2answers
938 views

What happened to the S.A. (Sturmabteilung; “Stormtroopers”) after The Night of the Long Knives?

I'm reading The Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany by Warren B. Marris, Jr. (Nelson-Hall, Chicago), 1982 for an eassay. It outlines the power that the Sturmabteilung (abbreviated S.A., trans ...
9
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
437 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
268 views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
898 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
341 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
657 views

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 ...
7
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4answers
5k views

Is Germany responsible for World War I? [closed]

Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept all responsibility for the war. What's their "moral" justification? Is it just, you lose so just agree with this or did Germany do something to start ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Was the Zimmerman Telegram a ruse on the US or a way of Germany to incite Mexico to declare war on the US?

Prior to America's entry into WWI the Zimmerman Telegram was one incident that helped push America to declare war against Germany and join the Allies, while Mexico never fought against the US was this ...
7
votes
1answer
207 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
255 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
359 views

What Was the State of German Tank Design In Between the World Wars?

I am reading about the Spanish Civil War in a book by Antony Beevor entitled "The Battle for Spain: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939". According to Beevor while the nationalists were able to control ...
7
votes
1answer
339 views

What goods did Germany trade during the Weimar Republic, and with whom?

What countries were trading with Germany during its pre-Nazi Weimar Republic era (1919-1930), and what goods did they trade? I've read a few references that just broadly state that Germany had no ...
7
votes
1answer
340 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 ...
6
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4answers
3k views

Why do some countries call Germany “Alman” too?

In Persia, Germany is called "Alaman". In Portugal it's called "Alemanha". I know some other countries in the world call it 'Alman' too Why the name changed?
6
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3answers
2k views

Did Germany have treaties imposed upon it after WWII that mirrored the weight of the Treaty of Versailles?

After WWI, the treaty of Versailles became the rallying cry for more extreme political forces in Germany, as it's terms were blamed for the countries hardships, and as an insult to the country itself. ...
6
votes
2answers
198 views

How high the death rate on the Berlin Wall compared to other borders?

I read today on the Wikipedia's main page: There were numerous deaths at the Berlin Wall, which stood as a barrier between West Berlin and East Germany from 13 August 1961 until 9 November ...
6
votes
2answers
217 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 ...