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History of the Second Reich
Otto von Bismarck was the mastermind who united all of Germany. Known as the Iron Chancellor, he served during the reigns of Emperors William I and Frederick III. In 1864 Prussia and Austria occupied the Danish provinces of Schleswig and Holstein; after Bismarck maneuvered Austria into the Seven Weeks' War in 1866, Prussia annexed the two provinces, as well as Hanover and other north German states. Bismarck reorganized Germany and excluded Austria. The states north of the Main River united with Prussia in 1867 in the North German Confederation.
In 1870 Bismarck tricked France into declaring war. Defeated, France was forced to cede Alsace-Lorraine, a humiliation that France sought to avenge in 1914. The south German states joined Prussia in a new German empire. The king of Prussia, William I, was proclaimed emperor (or kaiser) of the Second Reich in 1871 at Versailles.
Bismarck built up Germany's industries. He also laid the foundation for a colonial realm in Africa (Togoland, Cameroon, German Southwest Africa, German East Africa), China (Jiaozhou Bay in Shandong Province), and the Pacific (Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, Bismarck Archipelago, Caroline Islands).
William II succeeded Frederick III in 1888. He dismissed Bismarck and built the country into a military nation. In 1914 Germany backed Austria against Russia and launched World War I.
World War 1Germany, faced with war on two fronts, decided to begin the Schlieffen Plan. The idea was that by traveling through Belgium, they could invade France from the North, take Paris, and knock France out of the war. They could then focus on Russia and defeat them with the help of Austria-Hungary. However, Germany failed to take Paris, and was soon bogged down to trench warfare. However, back in the East, Austria-Hungary had pushed out all of the invading Russians by the end of 1914. The German army could now invade Russia with AH help. The Ottoman Empire also joined the war, and starting in 1915, the Central Powers launched a three front war against Russia: in Poland, Western Russia, and in Caucasus. They soon had captured a large amount of Russian industry and agriculture, and the First Russian Revolution began. Back on the Western front, the third battle of Ypres has begun. The Western front was soon equipped with millions of men coming back from the Eastern front, seeing as Russia was knocked out of the war. A two-million man advance on Paris began, and the Battle of Paris soon followed. By this point, all Allied reserves had been called up and draft was in place. The Germans had reached the edge of Paris in 1917, and the battle began. The French Government had already fled West, and gave the order to blow up the Eiffel Tower and parts of the city. The French army reluctantly agrees, but because they were running low on Shells, they let the Germans fire theirs instead. Meanwhile, back in Belgium, English troops had landed and established a beachhead. However, Germany had a large number of troops on standby, should they be needed in Paris, and all of them were used to combat the incoming British forces. By the start of 1918, all British troops had been kicked out. Paris was soon lost after this, and France surrendered. Weaker France was established as a puppet state in Southern France, and Northern France was annexed by Germany. The war was won, and between 1918 and 1920 saw little action besides a failed attempt by the U.S and Britain to land in France. In 1919, peace talks began. In 1920 the Treaty of Paris was signed. These were the terms of the treaty:
- Germany is allowed to keep its land in France and Poland
- Austria-Hungary is allowed to keep its land in the Balkans and Western Russia.
- Bulgaria gets a slice of land in the Balkans as well.
- The Ottoman get to keep their gains, plus Egypt is to become a Country to separate Great Britain's Colonies and the Ottoman Empire.
- Great Britain, Canada and America all must accept defeat in the war.
- The Allies must pay war reparations for war damage, starting in 1921.
The Germany in 1920 was very different than the Germany in 1914. Though the war wasn't exactly over by Christmas, it did give an enormous source of Pride for Germany, as well the elimination two of its enemies, Russia and France, though it gained a new one, the US. Germany had the world's second biggest economy, behind the U.S, but ahead of Austria-Hungary. Also, German car companies become world wide known. The Volkswagen is the most popular choice of vehicle for Germans. Germany's economy was also helped by the low tax rates that could be sustained thanks to the reparations payed by Great Britain and the U.S. This has mostly affected Great Britain, as they have struggled to provide payments and now have hyper-inflation due to the massive printing of British Pounds. In 1921, German troops entered Bulgaria to help them get out of the civil disarray that followed after Serbian Rebels helped overthrow the government. In 1922, they also sent Industrial plans and designs to help them get caught up, in exchange for 10% of all goods produced there for five years. Also, in 1922 Free Trade of Automobiles began between Germany and Austria-Hungary. The next year Germany produced the first Talking Movie, called WWI: Victory for Civilization. Protests begin in Poland and France against the German government. Mein Kempf is written and published in Germany, but is a failure. German elections have the first Nazis win the war. The rest of the 20s has the Nazis rise in power as other politicians suddenly "disappear" and have Nazis take their place. Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany and starts enacting anti-Semitic laws. The next year after a failed assassination attempt on Hitler, he disbands the Constitution, never for it to return. He begins massive military build ups, and the rest of the decade was quiet, except for the invasion of the Netherlands. The early 30s were a time of rising tensions between the Moscow Pact and the Central Powers.
To be finished later.