Wikipedia 10K Redux by Reagle from Starling archive. Bugs abound!!!
Germany is a major IndustrializedCountry in the middle of EuropE. The official name is "Bundesrepublik Deutschland" (Federal Republic of Germany). Germany measures about 800 km (about 500 mi) from north to south; the country extends about 600 km (about 400 mi) from west to east and has is with a total area of 356 970 km² the fourth largest country in Europe. G. is an union of 16 states ("Bundesländer"), from north to south: SchleswigHolstein, MecklenburgVorpommern, NiederSachsen, HamburG, BremeN, NordrheinWestfalen, HesseN, SachsenAnhalt, BrandenburG, BerliN, Hessen, ThüringeN, Sachsen, RheinlandPfalz, SaarlanD, BadenWürtemberg, BayerN. It's adjacent in the north to the NorthSea, DenmarK, BalticSea, in the east to PolanD, CzechRepublic, in the south to the SwitzerlanD and AustriA and in the West to the NetherlandS, FrancE, LuxembourG and BelgiuM. There were about 82 million residents at the end of 1999, inclusive 7.3 million foreigners. Germany takes part in the NATO, the EuropeanUnion and the EuroCurrency. Before G. was unified under OttoVonBismarck in 1871 there had been many little states, principalities and kingdoms, after then Germany experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth. Germany was a main participant in WorldWarOne from 1914-1918. After G. was defeated, it lost also its colonies and big parts of the army (TreatyOfVersailles). 1918 the German emperor WilliamTheSecond resigned and the Weimar Republic constitutes itself. The worldwide depression of the 1930s plunged the country once more into disaster. Millions of unemployed Germans, disillusioned by capitalist democracy, turned either to the Communist Party or to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), the fascist party of NationalSocialism. By 1930 the Nazis were the second largest party in the Reichstag. 1933 the Nazis got the power and formed an terrible regime under the dictatorship from AdolfHitler. All people, which are not conform with the Nazis, had been threatened, many of them there murdered. The Nazis and their accomplice murdered some millions Jews (HolocausT), communists, pastors, democrats, gypsies, gays, lesbians and many other. To get "Lebensraum" (living space) they started WorldWarTwo by occupying PolanD 1939. At the PotsdamConference 1945, after the loss of World War II the Allies had divided the soon-to-be-defeated Germany into four military occupation zones—French in the southwest, British in the northwest, American in the south, and Soviet in the east. Berlin, in the Soviet sector, was also divided into four zones. As part of the ColdWar the zones developed 1949 in the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland, aka WestGermany) and the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik, aka EastGermany). WestGermany was allied with the United States of America, UK and France. It was a western capitalistic country with a so called Social Market Economy. EastGermany was at first occupied and later allied with and controlled by the UnionOfSovietSocialistRepublics (Russia). It was a fairly unfree country (for example, its citizens were generally unable to leave) with a USSR-style communist economy. EastGermany was probably the richest, most advanced country in the Soviet bloc. Berlin was divided in the to parts West-Berlin (capitalistic) and "Berlin, capital of the DDR". West-Berlin was surrounded by the BerlinWall from August, 13th 1961until 1989. In 1989 EastGermany opened its borders again and in 1990 the two Germanys were reunified, which in actuality meant that EastGermany was annexed by WestGermany, as the new country kept the name Bundesrepublik Deutschland, used the West German "Deutsche Mark" for currency, and the capital remained at Bonn. (Around 1994 it was moved back to Berlin, where it had been before World War II.) Citizens from each side were not necessarily unanimously behind this move that was orchestrated by HelmutKohl, then the Federal Chancellor of the BRD. This was illustrated by a clever spray-paint slogan I saw on a wall in Jena (a university town in EastGermany) ca. 1992: "Lasst euch nicht BRD-igen!" = "Don't let yourselves be West Germanized!" But also "Don't let yourselves be buried!" by a play on homonyms. Overall, most were very excited about reunification until the reality of extra taxes, unemployment in the East, etc. set in in the mid 1990s. Today Germany is doing fairly well economically, being one of the stronger countries in Europe and the world. It's among the top 5 countries in Internet access worldwide. Many Germans speak English and/or French, in addition to German and their local dialect of German (of which there are many). Since 1998 the [http://www.bundesregierung.de government] is build from a coalition of the [http://www.spd.de Social Democratic Party Germanys] and [http://www.gruene.de Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen](The Green Party / ecological oriented party). Chancellor is Gerhard Schröder. The next election for the [http://www.bundestag.de German Parliament] will be in the autumn of 2002. BTW: It's not true that all Germans like "Sauerkraut and Eisbein", and not many people there are wearing short leather trousers even not in BavariA.