What was the largest land area that Germany has ever controlled?

What was the largest land area that Germany has ever controlled?

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Question is pretty much in the title. What is the greatest area that Germany (including das Deutsche Reich) ever covered. I'd expect it to be either during the World Wars or during the colonial era, but I couldn't find the numbers. Yet I might be wrong and there might be another answer.

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, with the total area of the 1939 borders plus Alsace-Lorraine and the Danzig corridor being 633,786 square kilometres. The German Empire was a close second with its European territories equalling 540,857.54 km². However, if you include the German Empire's overseas colonial holdings, the German Empire would have an area of about 3.2 million km².

Taking the concept of "Germany" more loosely and applying it to include all German language polities, Austria-Hungary had larger European holdings than the contemporaneous German Empire, with a total area of 681,727 km². I've been unable to find an exact estimate of the total area of the German dominated Holy Roman Empire at it's territorial zenith in the 12th century, but it was larger than either the German or Austro-Hungarian empires in terms of European holdings, albeit with large swaths of their territory speaking Romance and/or Slavic languages.

Apart from what you mean by "Germany", the answer will also depend on what you mean by "controlled". Assuming that your answer to the first question is present-day Germany and its immediate nation-state predecessors (ie. Hitler's Third Reich, the Weimar republic and the "Deutsches Kaiserreich" founded in 1871, but not the Holy Roman Empire that is at least problematic in terms of "German-ness"), and assuming that "control" in your question means "military control", the answer to your question will probably be the territory occupied by German forces and its allies in late 1942 (i. e. before the Soviet advances that led to the encirclement of the German 6th army.) At this point of time, German military or its allies were present in the whole of Europe except the Iberian peninsula, the British isles, and Sweden; in most of the (Vichy-) French northern African territories and within the Soviet Union eastward to a frontline running roughly from St. Petersburg in the north via just west of Moscow to Stalingrad and the Volga and Ural rivers in the south.

By visual inspection of the globe, this should be somewhat larger than German pre-WW I colonial holdings in Africa (southeast, today Tanzania / Mozambique, southwest, today roughly Namibia, and roughly what is Cameroon today) and Southeast-Asia (mostly smaller isles and some territory in South China). According to this German wikipedia entry German state territory and colonial holdings totalled an area of 2.7 million km², while the above sketched area occupied during WW II should be something of 8 - 10 million km². (By comparison with the total area of Europe to the Ural mountains of 10 million km², precise numbers are harder to obtain, as the eastern European frontlines don't reflect today's state borders, so you can't just look up the areas of the states in question.)

British Empire

Empire Area: 36.6 million km

Under the Control of: George V of the United Kingdom in 1922

This British Empire is considered to be the largest empire in history. It covered almost a quarter of the total area of the earth, and had controlled about 500 million people. The empire was spreading English language. As a result, the language is the second most used language across the world today. This is by far one of the most influential empires to ever exist in the history of mankind.

Mongol Empire

Empire Area: 33.2 million km

Under the Control of: Kublai Khan in 1268

In his youthful days, Temujin, who came to be known as Genghis Khan, had vowed to rule over the entire world. In doing this, he first brought together the Mongolian tribes who were initially scattered. To begin on his mission, he set out for China, where he established the Mongol empire, the largest contiguous empire known to mankind. Although the Mongols were some of the most ruthless and fearless fighters, they lacked administrative skills. As a result, the kingdom had no unity and it was defeated by Ming builders. The Mongols empire is remembered to date for its brutality.

Russian Empire

Empire Area: 24.8 million km

Under the Control of: Alexander II in 1866

This empire had a ground cover that total up to about 15 percent of the total land on earth. By the year 1913, the kingdom had a population of 176.4 million. Before the World War I, the Russian empire was one of the great European powers. The empire was brought to an end by the bloody Russian Revolution that occurred in 1917 and became the last European absolute monarchy.

Spanish Empire

Empire Area: 16 million km

Under the Control of: King Charles III from 1759 to 1788

This was one of the first global empires that started during the age of Exploration. It comprised of colonies like Europe, Asia, the Americas, Oceania and Africa. It was during this period that Spain gained substantial political as well as economic power. The total area covered by this empire is about 13% of the total landmass of the earth and had a total of 68.2 million people for the period between 1740 and 1790.

Umayyad Arab Caliphate

Empire Area: 13.2 million km

Under the Control of: HishamibnAbd al-Malik between 723 and 743

This is the second most influential of the four Islamic caliphates, which was set up after the death of Mohamed. The empire was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty. This family was originated from Mecca. The name Umayyad was derived from the great-grandfather in the initial Umayyad caliph, UmayyaibnAbd Shams. The capital of this empire was in Damascus. The empire covered more than five million square miles, hence the largest empire in history and the fifth largest contiguous empire. The Umayyad managed to establish the biggest Arab-Muslim state of all the ancient empires.

Qing Empire

Empire Area: 13 million km

Under the Control of: Emperor Qianlong in 1851

The Qing Dynasty is the last known ruling dynasty in china, which existed between 1644 and1912. By the year 1851, the dynasty had a population of 432 million. The dynasty was succeeded by the Republic of China. The dynasty was introduced by Aisin Gioro, a Manchu clan in the current northeast China, initially known as Manchuria. Later on, the dynasty expanded by conquering China proper and its surroundings to form the Great Qing Empire. The Qing Dynasty was later overthrown through the Xinhai Revolution in 1912.

French Empire

Empire Area: 12.5 million km

Under the Control of: President Albert Lebrun in 1938

The region that was under this empire was initially under French rule. This was between the 17th century and the 1960′s. For the period between the 19th and the 20th century, this empire was the second largest empire in the world, with the British Empire taking the first position. This empire existed during the greatest civilizations in history, when the France people believed that the higher races had the right to civilize the lower ones. As a result, the empire extended to Southeast Asia and Africa.

Portuguese Empire

Empire Area: 12.4 million km

The Portuguese Empire, also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire, was the first global empire. It started in 1415 and lasted for about six centuries. The territory that was under this empire is currently part of 53 sovereign states. The history of this empire stretched back to the time when Ceuta was captured and ended when Macau was handed over to East Timor in 2002. The advancement in maritime, cartography and navigation technology allowed the Portuguese sailors to rediscover new places and routes within the surrounding territories.

Ming Empire

Empire Area: 6.5 million km

Under the Control of: Jingtai Emperor in 1450

This empire is described by many as the greatest era, with regards to social stability and orderly government. It is also the second to the last royal era in the history of China and the last dynasty in the country to be ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Later on, the dynasty crumbled due to man-made and natural catastrophes. It was then succeeded by the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty in China.

6 of the World's Most Worrisome Disputed Territories

Many such areas have long existed without incident, but others are poised to flare into violence.

When it comes to territorial disputes across the globe, the list is long and ever-changing. There are now more than 150 disputes under way that involve territory, mostly in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific region, but also in Europe and the Americas. Some disputes are on the distant horizon (Antarctica), some are long-simmering (Jammu and Kashmir), and others—like Crimea—are at their boiling point.

Many fear a spillover effect from Crimea. There is wide concern that Russia's apparent success in annexing the peninsula could set a dangerous precedent for further Russian incursions into Ukraine and other nearby countries, or that other countries may feel emboldened by Russia's actions.

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier went so far as to say Russia has "opened a Pandora's box" with its swift and widely condemned annexation of Crimea. Yet Richard Haass, an American diplomat and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, points to the specifics of that crisis, saying he does "not think the situation in Crimea is necessarily easily replicated," because of the demographic and historical particulars, as well as the imbalance of military forces between Russia and the Ukraine.

Few subjects are more politically sensitive than territorial disputes the UN declined to comment for this story, citing those sensitivities. But as Haass says, "There is no shortage of disputes either about territory or with a territorial dimension." Some of the world's most contentious and vexing disputes involve territory in:

The Black Sea peninsula with its predominantly ethnic Russian population became a part of Ukraine in 1954, when both Russia and Ukraine were part of the Soviet Union. The recent military occupation by Russian forces and subsequent referendum to join Russia has been condemned by many world leaders as illegitimate. The West has imposed sanctions.

By contrast, Cuba, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Syria have recognized Russia's control over the area China abstained from voting on a UN Security Council draft resolution that would have condemned the referendum in Crimea as illegal. (A UN General Assembly vote on March 27 condemned the occupation by 100 to 11, with 58 abstentions.)

But "Crimea is concerning because it sets a precedent for what the international system will bear," says Jeffrey Mankoff, deputy director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. "There is concern that China, for instance, may take [Russia's annexation of Crimea] as a lesson" it will apply to some of its own territorial disputes: that the international consequences of violating borders might not be as severe as once thought.

A chain of remote, energy-rich islands known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan and the Diaoyu Islands in China are the subject of a territorial and maritime dispute between the two powers that has been escalating in recent years, especially over the past few months. (See "Why Are China and Japan Sparring Over Eight Tiny, Uninhabited Islands?")

China has been trying to assert control over airspace in the East China Sea that overlaps with a zone declared by Japan more than four decades ago, after years of post-World War II control by the U.S. Japan argues that the islands were vacant (when no one occupies or controls territory, it is considered terra nullius, "land belonging to no one") until 1895 when its government laid claim to them China argues that it owned the islands before then.

China is involved in multiple other territorial disputes, including the long struggle over Tibet, which "is an example of a dispute where there is one state and an area inside it wants to be separate," says Ron Hassner, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, who has written extensively about territory disputes. Tibet would top his list of current disputes, he says, because of its large territory and population. (He says the oldest still-active dispute on record is between England and Spain over Gibraltar.) He adds, "Another form of territorial dispute is when two states argue over a piece of land that lies between them, such as Jammu and Kashmir."

The former princely state of India and Pakistan (once part of the British Empire, now part of India, Pakistan, and China) has been disputed since the British relinquished control of the subcontinent in the 1940s. A heavily militarized, 450-mile-long (724-kilometer-long) Line of Control has long pitted Indian and Pakistani forces against each other in this contested Himalayan region.

The stakes were raised in 1998 when Pakistan started to catch up with India technologically and both countries publicly tested their nuclear weapons. In some ways that escalation, however, may be part of what is containing the crisis. "In many cases, these disputes simply linger," says Haass. "It becomes politically too difficult to compromise and militarily too dangerous to press your case."

Golan Heights, Gaza Strip, and West Bank

The geographical areas disputed by Israelis and Palestinians are "tiny pieces of land," says UC Berkeley's Hassner. Because of the small number of people and the limited extent of the territory, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would not make Hassner's top five list, "but they get a lot of exposure." Just this week at least three Palestinians were killed and more than a dozen people were injured during an Israeli raid on a refugee camp in the West Bank.

When it comes to territorial disputes, says Haass, "the Golan Heights is a classic one." That dispute between Syria and Israel has been under way for decades. "But right now Syria has bigger fish to fry with its civil war," says Haass. "The Golan Heights is not a priority or preoccupation right now" as Syria grapples with its own rebels inside its borders.

The former Spanish colony of Western Sahara in northwest Africa has been in political limbo since Spain withdrew from the area in 1976. Although the action was not recognized internationally, Morocco succeeded in annexing the approximately 100,000 square miles (259,000 square kilometers) of resource-rich desert territory shortly thereafter, and it has remained disputed ever since.

"Morocco has steadily built a series of walls known as the 'Berm' some 2,000 miles [3,219 kilometers] long to essentially push the indigenous population, the Sahrawis, out of the area," says Hassner. In 2010, just ahead of UN-mediated talks on the future of the territory, several people were killed in violent clashes between Moroccan security forces and protesters near the capital, Laayoune.

Besides Crimea, Russia has other territorial disputes on its hands, including a 60-year dispute with Japan over a chain of islands in the Pacific it calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories. After a 2008 "five-day war" with Georgia, Russia also now effectively controls Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two regions that once were firmly considered part of Georgia. But the region many are eyeing warily right now is a tiny strip of land called Transdniestria, an unrecognized breakaway state that lies along Moldova's border with Ukraine.

Transdniestria proclaimed independence from Moldova and allegiance to Moscow in the early 1990s and has been considered a "frozen conflict" ever since, but with an ongoing Russian military presence there. After Russia's recent actions in Ukraine, local leaders expressed their firm desire to be annexed next. NATO's supreme commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, said that request would give Russian President Vladimir Putin a pretext to send in troops, as he did in Crimea.

"There is absolutely sufficient [Russian] force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transdniestria if the decision was made to do that," he said at a recent meeting in Brussels. "And that is very worrisome."

  • OFFICIAL NAME: Federal Republic of Germany
  • FORM OF GOVERNMENT: Federal republic
  • CAPITAL: Berlin
  • POPULATION: 80,457,737
  • MONEY: Euro
  • AREA: 134,838 square miles (349,223 square kilometers)
  • MAJOR RIVERS: Rhine, Elbe, Main, Danube


Germany's central and southern regions have forested hills and mountains cut through by the Danube, Main, and Rhine river valleys. In the north, the landscape flattens out to a wide plain that stretches to the North Sea. Between these extremes, Germany is a country of incredible variety.

Germany's location at the heart of Europe has shaped its history both for good and bad. It borders nine neighbors, more than any other European country.

Germany's largest wooded area, and its most famous, is in the southwest near the Swiss border. This is the Black Forest, a mountainous region full of pines and fir trees. This forest contains the source of the Danube, one of Europe's longest rivers.

Map created by National Geographic Maps


Today almost one in every ten Germans comes from a foreign country. That is more than at any time in history. The largest minority are Turkish, who started coming in the 1950s to work. About two-thirds of Germans are Christians.

Germany has been called the "Land of Poets and Thinkers." Germans are famous in all forms of art, but particularly classical music. Germany's famous composers include Bach, Brahms, Schumann, Wagner, and Beethoven.


The German government works hard to protect the country's wildlife. There are 97 nature reserves in Germany, the biggest of which is the Black Forest. Despite these efforts, though, many species are at risk of extinction, including certain species of whales, beavers, and minks.

Germany's major unspoiled habitats are in two main regions. The flat northern coast is home to sea life and wading birds, while the forested hills and mountains in the south are the best place to find wildcats, boar, ibex, and other large mammals.

The lakes and wetlands along Germany's coastlines are important stopover points for many migrating birds. The government has set up reserves for the birds' protection.


After losing World War II, Germany was in ruins. West Germany recovered to become Europe's richest country, but East Germany, under communist control, fell far behind. After reunification in 1989, Germany spent billions of dollars to modernize the East.


Humans settled in northern Europe about 10,000 years ago, after the end of the last Ice Age. The first people to speak a language similar to modern German probably lived in the area about 5,000 years ago. It was still thousands of years, though, before Germany was created.

Early Germany was a patchwork of small states ruled by dukes and kings. But in 1871, the country was united, through force and alliances, by a politician named Otto von Bismarck.

In the late 19th century Germany began competing with other European countries to set up colonies in Africa and Asia. These tensions led to World War I in 1914, the worst conflict the world had ever seen. Germany and its allies lost the war to Britain, France, the Soviet Union (now called Russia), and the United States.

Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party came to power in 1933 promising to make Germany great again. In 1939, Hitler invaded Poland, starting World War II. During the war, Hitler created camps in Germany where millions of Jewish people and others were murdered. The war ended in 1945 with the Germans' defeat and Hitler committing suicide.

After World War II, Germany was divided into West and East. The country became the center of a standoff between the Soviet Union and Western powers. This confrontation, which lasted 44 years, was called the Cold War. In 1989, East Germany opened its borders and the Cold War came to an end.

Vegetables are traditionally grown in fields or gardens. Only about one per cent of Germany’s vegetable growing areas are covered by greenhouses.

More than 10 per cent of all agricultural holdings are dedicated to organic farming. Organic farmers’ output is usually lower, but their revenue is higher.

Reclaiming the Zuiderzee

Storms and floods in 1916 provided the impetus for the Dutch to start a major project to reclaim the Zuiderzee. From 1927 to 1932, a 19-mile (30.5-kilometer) long dike called Afsluitdijk (the "Closing Dike") was built, turning the Zuiderzee into the IJsselmeer, a freshwater lake.

On February 1, 1953, another devastating flood hit the Netherlands. Caused by a combination of a storm over the North Sea and spring tide, waves along the sea wall rose to 15 feet (4.5 meters) higher than mean sea level. In some areas, the water peaked above existing dikes and spilled upon unsuspecting, sleeping towns. Just over 1,800 people in the Netherlands died, 72,000 people had to be evacuated, thousands of livestock died, and there was a tremendous amount of property damage.

This devastation prompted the Dutch to pass the Delta Act in 1958, changing the structure and administration of the dikes in the Netherlands. This new administrative system, in turn, created the project known as the North Sea Protection Works, which included building a dam and barriers across the sea. This vast engineering feat is now considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Further protective dikes and works including dams, sluices, locks, levees, and storm surge barriers were built, beginning to reclaim the land of the IJsselmeer. The new land led to the creation of the new province of Flevoland from what had been sea and water for centuries.

Partitions of Poland

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Partitions of Poland, (1772, 1793, 1795), three territorial divisions of Poland, perpetrated by Russia, Prussia, and Austria, by which Poland’s size was progressively reduced until, after the final partition, the state of Poland ceased to exist.

The First Partition occurred after Russia became involved in a war against the Ottoman Turks (1768) and won such impressive victories, particularly in the Danubian principalities, that Austria became alarmed and threatened to enter the war against Russia. Frederick II (the Great) of Prussia, however, in order to avoid an escalation of the Russo-Turkish War, determined to calm Austro-Russian relations by shifting the direction of Russia’s expansion from the Turkish provinces to Poland, which not only had a structurally weak government but also, since 1768, had been devastated by a civil war and by Russian intervention and was, therefore, incapable of resisting territorial seizures.

On August 5, 1772, Russia, Prussia, and Austria signed a treaty that partitioned Poland. Ratified by the Polish Sejm (legislature) on September 30, 1773, the agreement deprived Poland of approximately half of its population and almost one-third (about 81,500 square miles [211,000 square km]) of its land area. Russia received all the Polish territory east of the line formed roughly by the Dvina and Dnieper rivers. Prussia gained the economically valuable province of Royal Prussia, excluding the cities of Gdańsk (Danzig) and Toruń, and also gained the northern portion of the region of Great Poland (Wielkopolska). Austria acquired the regions of Little Poland (Małopolska) south of the Vistula River, western Podolia, and the area that subsequently became known as Galicia.

Almost 20 years later Poland, which had made efforts to strengthen itself through internal reforms, adopted a new, liberal constitution (May 3, 1791). That action, however, resulted in the formation of the conservative Confederation of Targowica (May 14, 1792), which asked Russia to intervene to restore the former Polish constitution. Not only did Russia accept the confederates’ invitation, but Prussia also sent troops into Poland, and on January 23, 1793, the two powers agreed upon the Second Partition of Poland. Confirmed in August and September 1793 by the Polish Sejm—surrounded by Russian troops—the Second Partition transferred to Russia the major remnant of Lithuanian Belorussia and the western Ukraine, including Podolia and part of Volhynia, and allowed Prussia to absorb the cities of Gdańsk and Toruń as well as Great Poland and part of Mazovia. The Second Partition accounted for an area of about 115,000 square miles (300,000 square km).

In response to the Second Partition, the Polish officer Tadeusz Kościuszko led a national uprising (March–November 1794). Russia and Prussia intervened to suppress the insurgents, and on October 24, 1795, they concluded an agreement with Austria that divided the remnants of Poland (about 83,000 square miles [215,000 square km]) between themselves. By the Third Partition of Poland, which was not finally settled until January 26, 1797, Russia incorporated Courland, all Lithuanian territory east of the Neman (Nieman) River, and the rest of the Volhynian Ukraine Prussia acquired the remainder of Mazovia, including Warsaw, and a section of Lithuania west of the Neman and Austria took the remaining section of Little Poland, from Kraków northeastward to the arc of the Northern Bug River.

Those territorial divisions were altered in 1807, when the emperor Napoleon of France created the duchy of Warsaw out of the central provinces of Prussian Poland, and in 1815, when the Congress of Vienna created the Congress Kingdom of Poland. However, the main result of the partitions—i.e., the elimination of the sovereign state of Poland—was in effect until after World War I, when the Polish republic was finally restored (November 11, 1918).

This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.

The Alaskan Purchase

The U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 is considered to be one of the largest land deals in history. Fearing another war with Britain after the Crimean War, Russia rushed to sell Alaska to the United States for just $7.2 million, or about two cents per acre, to prevent nearby British Columbia from taking over the territory, and to bolster its struggling finances.  

Today, Alaska is, of course, worth much more than that. The state encompasses 586,412 square miles or more than 375 million acres.   Even at a cost of just $100 per acre, that would equate to more than $37 billion. Plus, the state churns out hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil each year.

Red Cross COVID-19 Test Center Speicherstadt

You don't need to run to a test center from May 26th. You can have yourself tested free of charge between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. here in the Speicherstadt in a public DRK test center, which is located very close to our entrance. An appointment booking is essential, as otherwise long waiting times can occur. (in case, you can also do without an appointment, but then you may have to expect long waiting times). Please book an appointment for EVERY person to be tested.

Select the following test center on the login page:

DRK Hamburg-Harburg e.V.
Kehrwieder 2 (Speicherstadt)
20457 Hamburg

The appointments are offered there in 15 minute time slots, your test takes place within these 15 minutes and several people can always register for a time slot, which can lead to short waiting times here on site. Please only be there on time and not ahead of time.


Germany gained importance as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, which was the first Reich (this word means empire). It was started by Charlemagne who became the first Holy Roman Emperor in 800 AD, and it lasted until 1806, the time of the Napoleonic Wars. [13]

In 1866 Prussia won the war against Austria and their allies. During this time Prussia founded the North German Confederation. The treaty of unification of Germany was made in Versailles after Germany won the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. [14] This began the Second Reich. The biggest state in the new German Empire was Prussia. The rulers were called Kaisers or "German Emperors", but they did not call themselves "Emperors of Germany". There were many smaller states in the Empire, but not Austria.

Germany stayed an empire for 50 years. It joined the other European empires in the Scramble for Africa and fought wars to make large parts of Africa and Oceania its colonies. [15] It killed many Nama and Herero people who did not want to be ruled by Germany. [15] [16] Today, those colonies have become seven states: Togo, Cameroon, Namibia, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Papua New Guinea. [15]

In World War I, Germany joined Austria-Hungary, and again declared war on France. [14] The war became slow in the west and became trench warfare. Many men were killed on both sides without winning or losing. In the Eastern Front the soldiers fought with the Russian Empire and won there after the Russians gave up. The war ended in 1918 because the Germans could not win in the west and gave up. Germany's emperor also had to give up his power, and most of Germany's African colonies were taken by other European empires. [14] [17] France took Alsace from Germany and Poland got the Danzig corridor. After a revolution, the Second Reich ended, and the democratic Weimar Republic began.

After the war, there were a lot of problems with money in Germany because of the Peace Treaty of Versailles, which made Germany pay for the costs of World War I and the worldwide Great Depression. [18]

The Third Reich was Nazi Germany it lasted 12 years, from 1933 to 1945. [19] It started after Adolf Hitler became the head of government. On 23 March 1933, the Reichstag (parliament) passed the Enabling Act, which let Hitler's government command the country without help from the Reichstag and the presidency. This gave him total control of the country and the government. [20] Hitler, in effect, became a dictator.

Hitler wanted to unify all Germans in one state and did this by taking over places where Germans lived, such as Austria and Czechoslovakia Hitler also wanted the land in Poland that Germany had owned before 1918, but Poland refused to give it to him. He then invaded Poland. This started World War II on 1 September 1939. In the beginning of the war, Germany was winning and even successfully invaded France. It managed to take over much of Europe. However, Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941 and after the Battle of Kursk, the German Eastern Front began a slow retreat until war's end. On 8 May 1945, Germany gave up after Berlin was captured, Hitler had killed himself a week earlier. Because of the war, Germany lost a lot of German land east of the Oder-Neiße line, and for 45 years, Germany was split into West Germany and East Germany. Other events happened during the war in Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust, the mass genocide of Jews and other peoples, for which some Nazis were punished in the Nuremberg Trials.

In 1989 there was a process of reforms in East Germany, which lead to the opening of the Berlin Wall and to the end of socialist rule in Germany. These events are known as the Wende or the Friedliche Revolution (Peaceful Revolution) in Germany. After that, East Germany joined West Germany in 1990. [21] The new Germany is a part of the European Union. [22]

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