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

I have not lived in Berlin or Moscow, but I have lived in Toronto and (very close to) Val d'Or. The winter temperatures for these two locations closely match Berlin and Moscow: December ...
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99 votes

Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

Which Germany do you mean? Something that can reasonably called a German nation-state was founded only in 1871, when Prussia first defeated France and then unified most German states under their ...
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90 votes
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Were Hitler's anti-Jewish sentiments known at all to those who voted him to power in 1933?

I think your question is best answered by addressing an underlying presumption. Namely: your 21st century eyes and your living in a society that considers hate speech to be antisocial are misleading ...
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86 votes
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Why are Germans referred to so differently in different languages?

The Wikipedia article on this is quite detailed. In short, Germany was never conquered by the Roman Empire, so several tribes maintained their identity as well as the Germanic language. On top of ...
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83 votes

Why in most German places is the church the tallest building?

Many churches in Europe (not just Germany) were built centuries ago, when the church was by far the most important and prestigious building in any city. Building them took decades, sometimes even ...
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81 votes

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

But why didn't they ask some snipers to resign from the armed forces and then hire them in the police force and deploy them? In a Hollywood movie the police would call up the local army base who ...
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78 votes
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Why are the German and French languages so different?

Defense of German heritage against Romans The biggest reason for how the lands east of the Rhine retained their German identity (unlike the Gauls of modern day France who lost their Celtic identity) ...
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72 votes
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How was Germany able to hold itself together, while Austria-Hungary could not?

The unified German state was only ~40 years old at the time, while the Austrian Empire controlled its lands for much longer than that, so why was it that the former was able to stick together so much ...
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69 votes

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

Average temperatures are irrelevant, unless you plan to repeat the battle every year. What matters is the temperature at the time. To quote Wikipedia: The European Winter of 1941-1942 was the ...
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57 votes
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Did ancient Germans take pride in leaving the land untouched?

It's probably nonsense, but it's nonsense with an interesting history. The actual ancient Germanics were herders and farmers, with cattle, barley, and wheat as their staples. Given the natural ...
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50 votes
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Were there luxury restaurants in East Germany?

Yes, there was 'luxury' in gastronomical areas in East-Germany. This yes comes with a slight caveat: that was more rare than in the West and also in a 'reduced amount', often catering to international ...
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48 votes
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Why did Bayer lose aspirin and heroin trademarks under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles?

This is a quite convoluted story. But in short: the common story is a bit too short for correctness. The Versailles Treaty was quite bad on many accounts, but it was not really responsible alone for ...
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46 votes

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

British policy on the continent has traditionally been to maintain the balance of power (this is also really a general European thing). This amounted to shifting alliances all over the continent. ...
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45 votes

Why did Germany not join the United Nations until 1973?

The reason was very simple. There were two Germanies. Soviet Union would veto the Federal Republic joining. (From the Soviet point of view it was illegitimate). For exactly the same reasons US, ...
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45 votes
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How did German unification affect existing sentences for criminal convicts?

Thanks to some hints provided in the comments to my original post here, I have been able to locate some sources that answer my questions, at least on a high level: Beginning in 1989, even before the ...
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43 votes

What were Germany's long-term aims in World War I?

The Septemberprogramm of 1914 was a drafted document prepared for Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg. It shows possible envisioned (territorial) war goals including: Turning Belgium into a vassal state ...
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40 votes
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Did a British civilian row across the channel and shoot 6 Luftwaffe pilots?

A British man heard that some Luftwaffe were bragging about bombing London (this was amidst the siege of Britain made by Germany during WWII). This enraged the man so much that he rowed across the ...
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39 votes
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Why did other German political parties disband so fast when Hitler was appointed chancellor?

Three steps to observe: Hitler was given the chancellory Election in 1933 Reichstag fire & Enabling decree First the really unwanted elements were beaten up, imprisoned or just killed. Then a ...
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39 votes

Historically, why did the US station their nuclear weapons in Germany for delivery through German pilots?

During the Cold War, there were always doubts if extended deterrence would hold. Would the US put Washington at risk to defend or avenge Bonn or Frankfurt? So NATO needed powerful signals that they ...
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  • 16k
36 votes

Were there any Germans in Japan after the surrender of Germany in May, 1945 and if so, what happened to them?

The fate of the German ambassador to Japan, Heinrich Georg Stahmer indicates what probably happened to most of the Germans in Japan. On May 5, 1945, as the German surrender was approaching, ...
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36 votes
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Why are the majority of Dresden inhabitants atheists or agnostics?

For the vast majority of Germans, religious and non-religious alike, religion matters little in daily life. In some families, the babies are baptised, marriages have both civil and religious ...
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34 votes
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Why did Germany officially acknowledge the contents of the Zimmerman telegram?

Arthur Zimmerman appears to have been trying to avoid being blamed by the German press and politicians for bringing the USA into the war. Placing your personal interests ahead of those of your country ...
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34 votes
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When did Germans begin to call themselves "Deutsche"?

There is a text written by Luther called "an den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation" (exact spelling!). So the word "deutsch" is very old. However, even from the 1848 revolution on (short-living ...
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34 votes

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

Other answers have dealt with the main things but I think you are missing one important point. Even assuming that Berlin and Moscow are equally cold there is a huge difference between holding your ...
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33 votes
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Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

Germany arrived late to the party, and did so unenthusiastically Germany basically was a mess of small states at the onset of the colonial era. It took a very long time for Brandenburg-Prussia to ...
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32 votes

Identifying this uniform, possibly German or Polish

Bunzlau is now in Poland and called Bolesławiec. Back then it was in Silesia, thus Prussia and therefore in Germany. The photographer is given as "Otto Scholz", a German, not a Polish name, ...
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31 votes

Did a British civilian row across the channel and shoot 6 Luftwaffe pilots?

This sounds a bit like an embellished version of the story of Peter King "King joined the Dental Corps in March 1939 and served as a non-technician, excelling as a weapons instructor. He spent ...
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30 votes
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Why was the shape of German states pre-WWII (especially Prussia) so complicated?

As CsBalazsHungary correctly points out, this was a legacy of Germany's roots as the Holy Roman Empire. As is well known, the Empire remained highly decentralised and fragmented pretty much right up ...
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30 votes
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What was the largest land area that Germany has ever controlled?

Depends on what you mean by "Germany". In terms of modern ethno-national nation-states, the "core territories" of the Third Reich were the largest any modern German-language nation-state ever was, ...
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