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A civilization in Civilization Revolution 2
|Begin the game with||Automatic upgrades for elite units|
At the time of the Roman Empire, the area that would become Germany was inhabited by fierce Germanic tribes. Despite repeated efforts by many determined Roman generals including Julius Caesar, Rome was never able to fully conquer the northern "barbarians," and by the fourth century AD the western portion of the weakened Empire was largely overrun by the German tribes (who in turn were fleeing the advances of the Huns from the east).
Over the next thousand years Germany would remain divided between many feudal kingdoms. Periodically a great ruler - Frederick Barbarossa (1155-1190), for example - might temporarily unite the region, but the unification rarely lasted beyond the ruler's death.
Out of the hundreds of states that made up Germany, it was the kingdom of Prussia that would eventually succeed in bringing them together. Beginning as a small duchy on the shores of the Baltic Sea, the rulers of Prussia gradually accumulated more and more territory through a combination of warfare and marriage agreements. King Frederick William I (1713-40) trained the Prussian army to be one of the finest in Europe, and his son Frederick II (1740-86) - also known as Frederick the Great - used it to win a series of military victories against the larger kingdoms of Austria and Russia.
Following its humiliation and defeat in the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon, Prussia reorganized itself along more modern lines. Under the brilliant statesman and strategist Otto von Bismarck, within a decade Prussia had unified Germany - or, as some would say, Prussia had conquered it.
The same nationalism that had brought unity would also bring disaster. Ignoring the careful diplomacy that had isolated Prussia's opponent in each of Bismarck's wars, Germany rushed into World War I against a coalition of Britain, France, and Russia. Despite initial successes, the war eventually turned into a stalemate that Germany could not win, especially once the United States entered the war on the Entente side in 1917.
Already staggering under a vengeful peace imposed by the Western Allies following World War I, the worldwide economic collapse that began in 1929 proved the catalyst for political extremism. Mobilizing the political and economic resentments generated by defeat and depression, the fascist National Socialist (Nazi) party came to power, and in 1933 Adolph Hitler became chancellor.
World War II is appropriately called "Hitler's War." Spearheaded by Panzer formations using revolutionary new tactics, Hitler came close to realizing his aim of establishing German hegemony in Europe. But the turning point of the war came with his decision to send his Panzers into Soviet Russia. Though at the end of 1942 an ultimate German victory still seemed possible, by spring 1945 the Third Reich was prostrate. As a legacy of surrender and the ensuing Cold War, Germany was divided into two zones of military occupation. While under Soviet rule East Germany suffered and stagnated, West Germany's recovery from total economic and political prostration at the end of World War II was of such dramatic proportions as to become a modern legend.
The swift and unexpected downfall of the Soviet order in Europe led to a unification treaty, ratified by the West German Bundestag and the East German People's Chamber in September 1990. After 45 years of division, Germany was once again a united nation. Today Germany is one of the world's economic powerhouses, and a leading force in the European Union.
Two of history's most influential Europeans were German: Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press in the West and Martin Luther, founder of Protestantism.
The world's first modern automobiles were created in Germany in the late nineteenth century.
Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Wagner and Bach, five of the most famous musicians in history, were all German-borne. Must be something in the water.