Germany stretches from the Alps to the Baltic Sea. It includes large mountains, hills, rivers, forests, and planes. Elevations in Germany range from sea level to 9718 feet. Temperatures average 48 degrees, and rainfall in some areas reaches 59 inches. About 81 million people who produce products from cars to chemicals to textiles, and even the trolley witch run in San Diego populate Germany. Aside from its rich culture and landscape, Germany also has an enormous history.
World war one began on July 28, 1914 shortly after the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdenan in Serbia. Austria declared war on Serbia and so started one of the most fierce and bloody battles in history. The war, which was estimated to last only a few months, dragged on for over 4 years. Even a country an ocean away was dragged into the war.
World War I also ushered in a new era of naval and air technology. Airplanes were used for the first time for reconnasince work over the trenches, but their role as reconnaissance aircraft quickly changed when airplane crews were given small bombs and had machine guns mounted on their planes. Aircraft technology rapidly advanced with people like Henry Fokker spearheading the development of the synchronized machine gun and increasingly faster and more maneuverable airplanes.
Naval technology also flourished. Larger and more powerful battleships were being developed, and the use of submarines increased. German U-boats played a great role in destroying allied shipping that was supplying troops in the trenches.
Finally on November 11, 1918, 4 year, three months, and 14 days, $186 billion, and 47 million lives after Austria declared war on Serbia the war was over and European battlefields fell silent for a while.
After the end of World War I things in Europe calmed down. Germany even hosted the Olympic games. People all over the world never thought that they would see a war as harsh and deadly as World War I. Unfortunately during the 30’s economic stability in Europe and the United States began to degrade. Germany too was beginning to slip into economic depression, until the rise of an Austrian named Adolph Hitler. Hitler, a WWI veteran himself quickly rose to power and was able to pull Germany out of depression. His only flaw was the he and many others blamed the Jewish people for the German defeat in World War I. Hitler began to raise a large army, and also began rounding up Jews into concentration camps. Then, at the end of the 1930’s, Hitler invaded Poland. Thus began the second “Great War”. World War II lasted for more than 4 years, and during this period over 11 million innocent people, 9 million of them being Jews, died at the hands of the Germans. 2 out of 3 Jews living in occupied territory, many of them being World War I veterans themselves, were starved, overworked, shot, gassed, burned alive, tortured, and beaten during the war.
After the war was over, Germany was divided up amongst the allies, and things seemed as though they would go back to normal, but about two years after the war, another war, “The Cold War” began. Germany was under partial control of the Soviets, and East German citizens felt the burden of being part of the USSR.
On August 13, 1961, Soviet Germany began construction on what was to be known as the Berlin Wall. Originally just a barbed wire fence patrolled by German guards, the wall grew taller, larger, and stronger as the years progressed. East Germany was locked behind the Iron Curtain, and most links with the west were broken. As relations with the USSR and Europe degraded, security around the wall was increased. Anyone caught trying to cross the border was shot. Even though many people made it across the border, many more were killed trying to escape East Germany. Finally after many deaths, broken families, and turmoil between the east and west, East Germany and West Germany united once again. The Berlin wall was no longer a barrier between family and friends, but a symbol of Communism, pain, and suffering. In 1989 one of the largest parties since the end of World War II was held as the Berlin Wall fell,