Germany (Officially: German Empire, later United Republic of Germany) is a nation-state and a great power, located in central Europe, proclaimed on January 18, 1871.
Pre Great War history
After unification, Germany became one of the foremost countries in the world, in cultural, industrial and military field. Period from 1870-1910 saw huge growth in terms of population. After von Bismarck's removal, full power laid in the hands of Wilhelm II. Rather than slow and steady growth proposed by Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Wilhelm II decided to follow policies of direct clash.
The Great War
Germany sought to establish alliance with other powers, known as Central Powers. Its main signatories included Germany, Austria-Hungary , Ottoman Empire and Italy . The war broke out in 1914 and plans to quickly take over Paris failed, leading to a long and bloody trench warfare. Simultaneously, Russian Front begun with initial failures but soon turned into rapid advance into Russia.
Effects on population
Due to initial optimism and belief that war will be short-lasting, it was very popular among the people. Lands to the east were damaged in early Russian operations. As the war was prolonging, the society was growing increasingly war-weary. In 1918, tensions reached almost boiling point, during massive communist strikes, but crisis was averted by liberalisation of the constitution and occupation of the east fueled the economy allowing some social reforms to be enacted.
Post Great War history
Domestic instability In 1918 and 1919, Germany came very close to an armed uprising. Instead of attempt to suppress the rebels, Wilhelm II made some concessions, like increasing the power of Reichstag and promised many more social reforms. This led to a decrease in militancy. In spite of all of that, German economy was in ruins and promises of reforms were not being kept. On 16 March, Wilhelm II said that "Berlin never saw a republic and never will." This caused revolution to begin, largely backed by the army.
German civil war
On 21 March 1920, sailors revolted and seized control of coastal city of Kiel. In only 3 days, most of coast and large cities was under communist control. First state to be completely taken over was Bavaria. Council of Soldiers and Workers (Arbeiter- und Soldanrat) took power and declared Bavaria, Bavarian Council Republic (Bayerische Räterrepublik). Bavarians, execpt from taking power away from royal administrators, didn't fight against private property, as such measures were expected to be taken from the new government of Germany. The emperor tried to eradicate small country, but his attempts failed, partially because of popular support for revolution, partially because many soldiers defected to Bavaria. In March and early May, he lost control over Rheinprovinz, Westfallen, Hannover and Schleswig-Holstein. Seeing the opportunity, Polish nationalists revolted in Provinz Posener, in what came to be known as Posener Uprising. Against better judgment, Kaiser ordered troops to put down rebellion, believing that territorial integrity was of foremost importance, not believing that communist will be capable of taking power in Berlin. Polish uprising eventually failed, but situation for the monarch was only getting worse. Communist states in southern-eastern, central and north-eastern Germany proclaimed Free Socialist Republic of Germany (Freie Sozialistiche Republik Deutschalnd) on 2 July and claimed to be only legitimate state of German nation. Seeing as situation worsens (Berlin has fallen to the revolutionaries), Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated on 19 September. Last pro-emperor general was defeated in Ostpreußen. Germany was united under Communist Party of Germany.
Socialist state and economy
In early stage of revolution, private property was not seized. Communist party believed that transition, in order to be as harmless and organic as possible, must happen gradually. This policy was called SchrittSoz (short for Schrittweise Sozialism; step-by-step socialism). After proclamation of Free Socialist Republic of Germany, only the largest industries (like Krupp or Vereinigte Stahlwerke) were nationalised and medium and small firms were allowed to stay in private hands. German government set goal to attempt to increase industrial output of Germany. Inefficient agricultural distribution, based either on backwards Junkers' large farms or small scale farming, was perceived as major obstacle. This caused gradual implementation of socialism to be swapped in 1921 with new policy of maximizing national power in the field of manufacturing. The government coined plan called Rotdämmerung (Red Dawn). It consisted of three phases
- Phase 1 (Agriculture, logging, and fishing)
- Phase 2 (Construction, mining, energy)
- Phase 3 (Chemical industry, manufacturing, arms industry)
The goal of first phase was increasing food production to increase to 250% of 1921 production, but it fell short of it, due to funds lacking as a result of need to rebuild Germany from Great War and incompetence of people responsible for planning. In spite of that, the result in 1927 (180% of 1921 production) was still considered a success, but caused German politicians to create a strict system of awards and punishments for economists and economy planners, including famous University of Industry and Economy in Munich, which taught famous economists such as Arnim Peschke or Imke Zoppoth.
First phase of Red Dawn included nationalization of Junkers land and merging small farms into larger units, which would then hire the farmers. Many farmers didn't want to voluntarily merge their possessions and Communist government abstained from using violence and encouraged people with refunds. Second part of the plan involved mechanization, especially in the form of tractors. Invention of Haber process of synthesising ammonia as fertilizer (originally intended as Great War weapon) helped economic boom.
Second stage involved increasing of raw material output, mostly in the form of coal, but years of 1927-1933 saw large increase in production of lignite, natural gas, iron, copper, nickel, potassium, zinc and antimony. Raw material output increased to 200% of 1927 production, which came close to set goal of 215%.
Last phase involved production of manufactured goods. It was the most successful (265% increase against 260% expectation) and most consumer oriented, as it included products such as automobiles, household appliances, furniture and clothing industry. Overall, Red Dawn was considered a great success, as it proved, that Communist Party of Germany was successful.
Germany on arena of international politics
Collapse of Austria-Hungary
Civil unrest in Austria-Hungary, was an opportunity to regain influence in its former ally, which suspended diplomatic relations with Germany after socialist revolution. On January 1921, on the brink of civil war in Austria, German forces entered Austria-Hungary and led to diplomatic talks between secessionists. The plan led to creation of 7 new states. Germany installed socialists in power. Second part involved cession of former Austro-Hungarian territories to existing countries. Poland (which was already German puppet socialist state) received region including Krakow and Lwow. Serbia received Voivodina, but under condition that it would become a territory of planned country of Yugoslavia. While Serbs initially were opposed, Germany threatened to give Voivodina back to Croatia and Hungary. Thus Yugoslavia was formed as a member of German sphere of influence. Germany then set their eyes to Romania, which was another former ally of Germany. It also contained valuable crude oil deposits in Ploiesti. Being promised Transylvania, Romania was forced to allow German occupation. The monarch was deposed of and loyal to Germany government was created. Cession of Transylvania to Romania led to protests by Hungarians, who considered Transylvania, especially Szekely Land part of their patrimony. A compromise was drafted, that gave Hungar back Szekely Land and continuous land, including cities of Cluj and Oradea. In May 1921, in a referendum, Austrians decided to join Germany.
Germany and Soviet Union
Socialist Germany was friendly to Soviet Union, from the moment it formed. In 1924, a crisis between Soviet Union and Germany erupted, following death of Lenin. Lenin appointed Trotsky as his successor, but troika consisting of Kamenev, Stalin and Zinoniev attempted to seize power for themselves. Germany threatened with intervention. Troika was forced to resign and its members were arrested. Trotsky was appointed premier of the Soviet Union and created, along with other socialist states socialist organisation and military alliance - Komintern. It also severely limited Soviet Union sovereignty, ensuring German having a say in internal matters of Soviet Union. In 1926, Germany allowed for cession of East Ukrainian People's Republic to Ukrainian SSR.
Germany and Central powers
German relations with Central Power soured after socialists came to power. Ottoman Empire, Italy and Bulgaria were all monarchies and weren't friendly to idea of socialist republic. Italy did not recognize new German government, until they were given Trieste, Pola and southern part of Tirol. Nevertheless, diplomatic relations didn't improve. After socialist coup d'etat, Italy acceded Komintern. Germany then set its sight on Balkans and Turkey, but no opportunity showed up and Germany was not ready for another war.