Imperial Germany (1871-1918)
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.
The historical architecture in Berlin tells it plainly. In the 1870s the Kurfürstendamm, a former bridlepath west of the city, was built into an elegant boulevard, on the personal initiative of Bismarck, who wanted Berlin to have a Champs Elysees of it’s own. Ironically it was French money, huge war reparations of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, which allowed to build it, together with the whole area around it, with beautiful mansions, squares with flowers, fountains and benches, quite in the style of Paris.