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Questions tagged [germany]

For questions on German Empire, Weimar Republic, German Democratic Republic and the modern Federal Republic of Germany. Questions regarding the Third Reich should be tagged with Nazi-Germany.

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

During World War 2, Hitler was fighting a war with Great Britain, but while fighting that war, he attacked the Soviet Union. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad......
95
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3answers
13k views

Why are Germans referred to so differently in different languages?

I was inspired by the other question "Why are the German and French languages so different?". But while, for me, the answer was obvious (the Romans did not conquer most parts of today's Germany and so ...
79
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9answers
26k views

Did Russian winter seriously contribute to German defeat on the Eastern Front in WWII?

When people discuss the causes of Hitler's defeat in Russia, one topic is frequently mentioned: climate. People claim that winter contributed significantly to the problems of German army on the ...
61
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6answers
20k views

Why are the German and French languages so different?

My understanding (which could be wrong) is the following: During and before the period of the fall of western Rome (roughly 400 AD), the Franks and the Alemanni were tribal people who moved around a ...
51
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6answers
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Were Hitler's anti-Jewish sentiments known at all to those who voted him to power in 1933?

This is partially related to the issue that dislike of certain groups of individuals had long roots in Europe (such as exemplified by this article). Anyway, I was looking at this other question which ...
50
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4answers
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Why were the Romans 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 ...
47
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5answers
9k views

How was Germany able to hold itself together, while Austria-Hungary could not?

After defeat in WWI, the monarchies of the German Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire rapidly crumbled, and their outlying provinces took the opportunity to declare independence and sovereignty. ...
45
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6answers
6k views

Why did Germany officially acknowledge the contents of the Zimmerman telegram?

The Zimmerman telegram was a diplomatic message from officials in Germany to the Mexican president, sent in 1917. After being intercepted and decoded by Britain's intelligence community, its contents ...
44
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5answers
59k 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 ...
37
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4answers
10k 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 ...
34
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6answers
136k views

Why did Italy abandon its alliance with Germany in WW1 and join the Allied side?

Before WW1 Italy was part of an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, yet it didn't join them when the war started and it even joined the Allied side later during the war. Why did Italy do this? ...
34
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3answers
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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 ...
33
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10answers
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Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

French, British, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch.. they all had vast outreach across the globe on multiple continents. Why did Germans not have this much outreach?
33
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4answers
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Were there any Germans in Japan after the surrender of Germany in May, 1945 and if so, what happened to them?

I assume there were potentially hundreds of German advisers, etc. in Japan at the time of the German surrender. Is there evidence that they tried to reach Allied troops to surrender to them? Did some ...
31
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7answers
10k views

When did Germans begin to call themselves “Deutsche”?

Up to 1871, ancestors of today's Germans lived in different states. What did they call themselves in those times? What did Germans call themselves in the 18th century? Did they call themselves "...
30
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3answers
9k views

Why weren't army snipers used at the Munich massacre?

I was reading about the history of the GSG 9 and found the following statement on Wikipedia: "Police did not have a specialized tactical sniper team at that time. The army had snipers, but the ...
29
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7answers
5k views

Did Germany's role in WW2 affect the historical perception of its role in WW1?

In the recent Wonder Woman movie (which I know is not an historical essay) I understand that the Germans are treated as the bad guys, almost like nazis although I am pretty sure that Germans in WW1 ...
28
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7answers
15k views

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

England (and its succeeding states) were at war with France for close to 1000 years. First it was over land, then they competed over religion, then they competed over colonies. For much of that time, ...
28
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3answers
8k views

Why did Germany not join the United Nations until 1973?

I am bit shocked to see that Germany joined United Nations - UN in 1973, what was political reason for postponing membership in that important organisation, if we see that for example Italy joined UN ...
28
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5answers
2k 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 ...
28
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4answers
19k 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 ...
26
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1answer
3k 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?
26
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3answers
2k views

What was the economic basis for West Berlin?

From the 1950s to 1989, West Berlin was physically and economically cut off from the surrounding countryside. Since WWII it had lost the government service functions that help drive a capital's ...
24
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8answers
30k views

What were the post World War 2 effects on Germany?

What were the impacts of WW2 on Germany? Obviously the war meant that a lot of resources were spent and that the youth population was significantly reduced. How did this affect Germany's post war ...
23
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7answers
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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. ...
23
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5answers
8k views

Why did the United States enter World War I?

The topic of World War I came up last night with a few strangers, at a bar, of course. One seemingly knowledgeable gentleman, who happened to have Howard Zinn's A Peoples' History of the United States ...
22
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7answers
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Why are the majority of Dresden inhabitants atheists or agnostics?

German Wikipedia says that Four fifths of the inhabitants of Dresden do not belong to any religious community. Approx. 20 % of the population is predominantly Christian. Original German text: ...
22
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4answers
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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 ...
22
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3answers
3k 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 ...
22
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3answers
17k views

What is the primary source for this quote by Julius Caesar's 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 (...
21
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3answers
4k views

Was there a pre-determined arrangement for the division of Germany in case it surrendered before any Soviet forces entered its territory?

Listening to the audiobook D-day through German eyes, I thought: what if Germany had surrendered before any Soviet force entered its territory? In the book, a German soldier says that his motivation ...
21
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3answers
6k views

Why was the shape of German states pre-WWII (especially Prussia) so complicated?

The shapes of the Länder territories in Germany were very complicated. There was hundreds exclaves and enclaves all over the place to the point it became ridiculous. Notably the shape of Prussia, ...
21
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2answers
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Why did other German political parties disband so fast when Hitler was appointed chancellor?

Not long after Hitler was appointed chancellor, opposition groups began to shut down. He, of course, had already criminalised the Communist KPD and alleged sympathisers, but I was astonished to learn ...
21
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5answers
3k 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 ...
21
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1answer
753 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?
20
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9answers
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Given Hitler's Austrian ancestry, why did he develop German nationalism rather than Austrian nationalism?

Hitler's parents were Austrians, and Hitler had spent his childhood in Austria. However, Hitler expressed loyalty only to Germany but not Austria. This seems strange to me. Why did Hitler develop ...
20
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3answers
6k views

A German immigrant ancestor has a “Registration Affidavit of Alien Enemy” on file. What does that mean exactly?

While researching genealogy, I discovered that one of my ancestors had a "Registration Affidavit of Alien Enemy" document on file. It is dated 1 January 1918 and includes his fingerprints, immigration ...
20
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1answer
6k views

Was Hitler released from jail in 1924 on condition that he ran democratically?

In 1924, Adolf Hitler served only 264 days in prison after his failed coup d'état. Was his release politically ordered? I suppose that the motive could've been that it is better to have him lead the "...
20
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1answer
648 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° ...
19
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6answers
58k views

Why was Germany held accountable for WW1?

The Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept all responsibility for the war. If the war was initially due to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by Serbian assassins, why did the Treaty of ...
19
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1answer
3k views

Did Emanuel Lasker write a book declaring that Germany had to win World War I if civilization were to be saved?

Emanuel Lasker, the second chess world champion, was a very interesting person. I read here that During World War I, Lasker […] invested all of his money in German war bonds. At the end of ...
18
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1answer
782 views

Who voted against German reunification, and why?

The reunification of Germany in 1990 was effected by a treaty between the governments of East and West Germany (the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, respectively). The ...
18
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2answers
843 views

What East German laws and regulations were extended to the West after unification?

Legally speaking, the reunification of Germany in 1990 was not a merger of two equal states resulting in a new country. Rather, it is better characterized as the absorption of the German Democratic ...
17
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2answers
3k views

What era is this German 10 DM banknote from?

Exactly what it says on the tin. This is clearly a German 10 mark note of some kind, but I can't find pictures online of any notes like it. The reverse is completely blank, with some bleed-through ...
16
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4answers
7k 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 ...
16
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2answers
2k views

How were servants to the Kaiser of Imperial Germany treated and where may I find more information on them?

I'd like to know how the Kaisers treated the servants in their palace, along with where I can find more information on this subject. In "The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of ...
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5answers
17k 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 ...
16
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1answer
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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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3answers
3k views

Why was Germany unified in Versailles not Berlin?

Why did Wilhelm I (or Bismarck) decide to perform official Germany unification in France? In my opinion, if the ceremonial was to honour the Prussian king and be a tribute or allegiance to him, it ...
15
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2answers
4k views

How did the Germans get housing again after WWII?

After a large number of homes were destroyed in the war, how did the average German become a homeowner again? I know about the Marshall Plan, but this question does not refer to how the economy in ...