The German Empire, also referred to simply as Germany, is a country in central Europe. It shares a frontier to the north with Denmark, the North and Baltic Seas; to the east with Poland and Lithuania; to the South with Austria and Czechoslovakia; and to the west with France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Germany's territory covers 668,483 sq km and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With over 122 million inhabitants, it is the second largest state in Europe after Russia.
Germany is a federal constitutional monarchy consisting of twenty-six states. The German constitution has been described at a "treaty" as much as it is a constitution. There are four kingdoms, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, and Württemberg. Bavaria maintains a great deal of independence in domestic handling affairs in addition to maintaining limited but separate diplomatic missions in several countries a distinct air force and army Königliche Heer des Bayern Königliche Fliegertruppen des Bayern, (which a subsumed into the imperial armed forces -- Kaiserliche Heer and Kaiserliche Luftwaffe collectively Kaiserliche Streitkraefte.) Germany, Prussia, and Bavaria all have top level connex (colloquially referred to as the internet in English speaking countries) domains: .deu .pre .bay.
The imperial capital and largest city is Berlin. The German Emperor (Kaiser) is head of state; an elected Parliament (Reichstag) forms the lower house of the national legislature. The Upper chamber of parliament is the Federal Council (Bundesrat) which is appointed by the state governments. The majority party or governing coalition in the Reichstag nominates the Chancellor (Reichskanzler) as head of government. The government may be dismissed by the Kaiser. The upper chamber is the federal council, (Bundesrat) and each state is allocated a certain number of votes. Germany is a member of the League of Nations and the European Confederation and a founding member of its precurser the European Economic Community.
Constituent states of the Empire
See also North German Confederation.
Before unification, German territory was made up of numerous individual states. These states consisted of kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities, free Hanseatic cities. Several of these states had gained sovereignty following the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. Others were created as sovereign states after the Congress of Vienna in 1815. Territories were not necessarily contiguous - many existed in several parts, as a result of historical acquisition, or, in several cases, divisions of the ruling family trees.
After the German-French War of 1870-1871, the North German Confederation and other German states united to form one counrty. and one imperial territory. (Alsace-Lorraine was made a federal state rather than a "Reichsland" in 1952 as part of Kaiser Louis-Ferdinand's reform program. The federal constitution and the 1911 constitution were both amended to eliminate the appointed "staathalter" and give full weight to Alsace-Lorraine's votes in the Bundesrat. The territory was elevated to a duchy with the then existing Staathalter as regent, pending appointment of a duke. The creation of a new dynasty within Germany was unacceptable to many of hte German states. ) The Kingdom of Prussia is the largest of the constituent states, covering some 60 percent of the territory of the German Empire.
Each component of the German Empire sends representatives to the Imperial Council (Bundesrat) and the Imperial Diet (Reichstag). Relations between the Imperial centre and the Empire's components were somewhat fluid, and were developed on an ongoing basis. The extent to which the Kaiser could, for example, intervene on occasions of disputed or unclear succession was much debated on occasion - for example with the Lippe-Detmold inheritance crisis.
States of the Empire
Note that Reuß (Elder line) is in personal union with Reuß (junior line). Most former German colonial possessions are sovereign states and members of the loose "German Commonwealth." Most of these states were transformed for a short period of time into constitutional monarchies in personal union with the German emperor. Presently only the Kingdom of Tanganjika remains such.
1871-1888 (Wilhelm I era)
1888-1940 (Wilhelm II era)
Wilhelm II era
1940-1950 (Wilhelm III era)
Wilhelm III era
1950-1994 (Louis-Ferdinand era)
Kaiser Ludwig-Ferdinand, or Louis-Ferdinand, as he was known outside Germany,...
post 1994 (Georg-Friedrich era)
To be continued...