History of Struggle


1000 BC: Germanic tribes from Scandinavia began to settle the region between the rivers Rhine, Elbe, and Danube. AD 9: Romans tried and failed to conquer Germanic tribes. 5th century: Germanic tribes plundered Rome, overran western Europe, and divided it into tribal kingdoms. 496: Clovis, King of the Franks, conquered the Alemanni tribe of western Germany. 772-804: After series of fierce wars, Charlemagne extended Frankish authority over Germany, subjugated Saxons, imposed Christianity, and took title of Holy Roman emperor. 843: Treaty of Verdun divided the Holy Roman Empire into three, with eastern portion corresponding to modern Germany; local princes became virtually independent. 919: Henry the Fowler restored central authority and founded Saxon dynasty. 962: Otto the Great enlarged the kingdom and revived title of Holy Roman emperor. 1024-1254: Emperors of Salian and Hohenstaufen dynasties came into conflict with popes; frequent civil wars allowed German princes to regain independence.

12th century: German expansion eastwards into lands between rivers Elbe and Oder. 13th-14th centuries: Hanseatic League of Allied German cities became a great commercial and naval power. 1438: Title of Holy Roman emperor became virtually hereditary in the Habsburg family of Austria. 1517: Martin Luther began the Reformation; Emperor Charles V tried to suppress Protestantism; civil war ensued. 1555: Peace of Augsburg: Charles V forced to accept that each German prince could choose religion of his own lands.

1618-48: Thirty Years' War: bitter conflict, partly religious, between certain German princes and emperor, with foreign intervention; the war wrecked the German economy and reduced the Holy Roman Empire to a name. 1701: Frederick I, Elector of Brandenburg, promoted to King of Prussia. 1740: Frederick the Great of Prussia seized Silesia from Austria and retained it through war of Austrian Succession (1740-48) and Seven Years' War (1756-63). 1772-95: Prussia joined Russia and Austria in the partition of Poland.

1792: Start of French Revolutionary Wars, involving many German states, with much fighting on German soil. 1806: Holy Roman Empire abolished; France formed puppet Confederation of the Rhine in western Germany and defeated Prussia at Battle of Jena. 1813-15: National revival enabled Prussia to take part in defeat of Napoleon at Battles of Leipzig and Waterloo. 1814-15: Congress of Vienna rewarded Prussia with Rhineland, Westphalia, and much of Saxony; loose German Confederation formed by 39 independent states. 1848-49: Liberal revolutions in many German states; Frankfurt Assembly sought German unity; revolutions suppressed.

1862: Otto von Bismarck became prime minister of Prussia. 1866: Seven Weeks' War: Prussia defeated Austria, dissolved German Confederation, and established North German Confederation under Prussian leadership. 1870-71: Franco-Prussian War; southern German states agreed to German unification; German Empire proclaimed, with King of Prussia as emperor and Bismarck as chancellor. 1890: Wilhelm II dismissed Bismarck and sought to make Germany a leading power in world politics. 1914: Germany encouraged Austrian attack on Serbia that started World War I; Germany invaded Belgium and France. 1918: Germany defeated; revolution overthrew monarchy.

1919: Treaty of Versailles: Germany lost land to France, Denmark, and Poland; demilitarization and reparations imposed; Weimar Republic proclaimed. 1922-23: Hyperinflation: in 1922, one dollar was worth 50 marks; in 1923, one dollar was worth 2.5 trillion marks. 1929: Start of economic slump caused mass unemployment and brought Germany close to revolution. 1933: Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Party, became chancellor. 1934: Hitler took title of Führer (leader), murdered rivals, and created one-party state with militaristic and racist ideology; rearmament reduced unemployment. 1938: Germany annexed Austria and Sudeten; occupied remainder of Czechoslovakia in 1939. 1939: German invasion of Poland started World War II; Germany defeated France in 1940, attacked USSR in 1941, and pursued extermination of Jews.

1945: Germany defeated and deprived of its conquests; eastern lands transferred to Poland; USA, USSR, UK, and France established zones of occupation. 1948-49: Disputes between Western allies and USSR led to Soviet blockade of West Berlin. 1949: Partition of Germany: US, French, and British zones in West Germany became Federal Republic of Germany with Konrad Adenauer as chancellor; Soviet zone in East Germany became communist German Democratic Republic led by Walter Ulbricht. 1953: Uprising in East Berlin suppressed by Soviet troops. 1955: West Germany became a member of NATO; East Germany joined Warsaw Pact. 1957: West Germany was a founder member of the European Economic Community. 1960s: 'Economic miracle': West Germany achieved rapid growth and great prosperity. 1961: East Germany constructed Berlin Wall to prevent emigration to West Berlin (part of West Germany). 1969: Willy Brandt, Social Democratic Party chancellor of West Germany, sought better relations with USSR and East Germany.

1971: Erich Honecker succeeded Ulbricht as Communist Party leader, and became head of state in 1976. 1972: Basic Treaty established relations between West Germany and East Germany as between foreign states. 1982: Helmut Kohl (Christian Democratic Union) became West German chancellor. 1989: Mass exodus of East Germans to West Germany via Hungary; Honecker replaced; East Germany opened frontiers, including Berlin Wall. 1990: Collapse of communist regime in East Germany; reunification of Germany with Kohl as chancellor. 1991: Maastricht Treaty: Germany took the lead in pressing for closer European integration. 1995: Unemployment reached 3.8 million.

1996: Public-sector labour dispute over welfare reform plans and the worsening economy. Spending cuts agreed to meet European Monetary Union entry criteria. 1997: Unemployment continued to rise. Former East German leader Egon Krenz and two colleagues convicted of manslaughter. SPD polled badly in local elections. 1998: Unemployment reached postwar high of 12.6% in January. CDU-CSU-FDP coalition defeated in September general election and a 'Red-Green' coalition government was formed by the SPD and the Greens, with Gerhard Schroeder as chancellor. Kohl replaced as CDU leader by Wolfgang.

 

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