The German Empire refers to the German nation state that existed from the time of Unification of Germany in 1871 until the abdication of the throne by Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1918 at the end of World War I. It was founded in 1871 when Wilhelm I, King of Prussia proclaimed the German Emperor at the Palace of Versailles. Berlin became capital of the newly formed Empire with the Berlin Palace as the Emperor’s official residence. Otto von Bismarck became the first Chancellor.
Though the new empire comprised several kingdoms but Prussia occupied a significant position due to its major influence in the imperial affairs. Its dominant position came to redefine the modern German culture.
During this period Germany became a great power expanding its rail network, strengthening its army & navy and creating a fast-growing industrial base.
So what was the Holy Roman Empire? This question has intrigued people always. “Neither Holy, nor Roman and nor an Empire”, said the French philosopher Voltaire. So what was it then? What was it’s geographical expanse and why was it’s so central and crucial to European history? What was it’s German connection. This module will decode many of the mysteries associated with it.
Towards the beginning of the later half of the nineteenth century Prussia and Austria were the dominant German speaking powers in Europe. There were many other German speaking states but they were not so significant in power and influence as the two dominant rivals.
Subsequent political developments saw Austria losing it’s dominant role and Prussia gaining strength with backing of the other German speaking states paving way for the German Empire in 1871.
Why was Berlin divided in the first place? What were the circumstances which led to it’s division? And what brought the Berlin wall into existence? How was the life in two halves of Berlin? JFK once called West Berlin an enclave of freedom in the communist east. What was that which brought down the Berlin wall so dramatically? What impact it had on rest of Europe?
It was not like the great wall of China neither in size nor in grandeur. But still it was no ordinary wall. It was a wall that had two different worlds existing on it’s two sides. In many ways it divided the whole world across ideological lines.
Was it really a war or the two super powers were merely engaged in adopting combative postures and be in a state of readiness to encounter the doomsday as a fallout of the Mutually assured Destruction? What was it that was keeping best of the brains on both sides engaged into finding counter responses based on apprehensions of nothing but damage and destruction. How it affected the world? Above all, how was the life in Berlin, which was the hottest frontier of the cold war, those days?