The German Empire (Deutsches Reich) is German nation-state, situated in Central Europe. It was formed as result of unification of German states finalised in 1871. Head of Germany is called Emperor (ger.: Kaiser) and is hereditary, but its position is mostly representative and biggest power is held by democratically elected Chancellor (ger.: Kanzler; Reichskanzler).
Germany is one of the great powers, boasting second largest economy in the world. Its navy and army are also one of the largest, but from the second half of 20th century, the German Empire de-emphasised continued military buildup and focused on peaceful development of the economy and soft power.
Germany rapidly developed after unification. From predominantly rural nation, it became urban and industrialised rapidly, outperforming all European countries. After removal of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the German Empire, Emperor Wilhelm II attempted to build up conditions for a European war, by creating an alliance with Britain. Rebellions in colonies in second decade of 20th century and increasing strain in the budget they were causing prompted Germany to sell its African possession to France and United Kingdom.
Germany provoked a war with Austria-Hungary in 1929, massively defeating and occupying the country. The country was partitioned and German-speaking parts were annexed, completing the process of German unification. In 1936, German led alliance clashed with French and Russian led alliance, the war ending in a slight French victory over Germany, but a complete dissolution of Russian Empire.
In 1945, Wilhelm II died and was succeeded by Emperor Ferdinand. He and his successors devoted themselves to democratisation of the country. He also followed a policy of positive relations and trade with other European countries. He attempted a rapprochement with France, to no avail.
Germanic tribes inhabited Central Europe and Scandinavia as early as 1000 BCE. Some of them were subjugated by the Roman Empire, but the tide has turned from 260 CE and Germanic people occupied ever larger tracts of land.
Germanic people adopted Christianity as their religion. Largest German nation in Early Middle Ages was Frankish Empire. After its dissolution, its Eastern part became the first German state, Holy Roman Empire. Throughout Middle-Ages, German settlers colonised lands further to the East.
Protestant reformation begun in Germany and was result of publication of Martin Luther's Thesis. This lead to a period of religious wars and large decline of Holy Roman Empire. Holy Roman Empire became increasingly more decentralised and dominated by Austria. In 18th century, however Kingdom of Prussia became prominent.
After the Napoleonic Wars, Holy Roman Empire was dissolved and supplanted by German Confederation. As Prussia became more powerful, it gained bigger ambitions to unite the Germans. Austro-Prussian War ended in a massive defeat and forced Austria to give up its German ambitions. Subsequent Franco-German War led to unification of German states against common enemy. German Empire was officially proclaimed on 10 December 1870.
19th and early 20th century
In 1890, after Russo-German Re-insurance Treaty had lapsed, it was renewed and led to a tighter bond and eventually an alliance between these two monarchies. During the July Crisis, German Empire pressured its ally, Austria-Hungary to agree to Serbian compliance to the Austrian Ultimatum, fearing a war between two of its allies.
Continued rebellion in colonies and massive strain on budget they caused, combined with the economic crisis, disillusioned Emperor Wilhelm II with the idea of colonialism and between 1916-1924, Germany sold most of its possessions for six billion marks. This led to warming relations with United Kingdom and slightly alleviated tensions with France, which were very strained as result of the war 50 years earlier.
Rapprochement with the west and Italo-German alliance of 1922 led Germany to continue to neglect its eastern allies. This led to war with Austria-Hungary in 1929. Germany and Italy quickly defeated inferior Austrian Army. As opposed to the war 60 years earlier, Germany didn't stop at victorious battles, occupying the Empire in its entirety and dissolving it. German speaking parts were incorporated into Germany proper, which was usually welcomed by local population, glad to be part of German nation-state. The remaining territory was to be organised into subordinate nation-states. Italy was allowed to annex Istria, Julian March and almost all of Dalmatia.
1929 Polish uprising and riots of other ethnic groups proved that German hegemony was impossible and Germany had to give new states virtually complete independence, except for customs union and vague military alliance. As time progressed, those states achieved full independence, and are now members of European Federation together with Germany.
Following, French sponsored French riot in eastern Lothringen, suppressed by Germany, war broke out in May 1936. France, Russia, Ottoman Empire and Greece (Entente) declared war on German Empire. In response, German allies, Italy, Bulgaria and newfound states in Central Europe, joined the war.
After declaration of war, German troops marched into Luxemburg for security reasons. Despite initial promises to Luxembourger Grand Duke that Luxembourg will retain its independence, the nation was officially annexed in 1937. At the beginning of the war, France attempted an offensive through Lothringen, called Metz offensive. The French were able to push about 10 km into German territory. German counteroffensive retook it rapidly but was stopped from crossing French mainland, unable to pierce French defences.
The Russians launched an offensive against the Germans in East Prussia and were rather successful tactically but due to massive losses, they were forced to pull out. Relative weakness of Germans on this front ensured its initial stability. France, aware of its inability to defeat German fleet transferred its fleet to the Mediterranean, where it defeated Italian fleet and in 1937 occupied Sardinia.
After the war broke out, Germany needed to ensure safety of their southern flank and attempted to bring Romania and Serbia to their sphere. It was accomplished by a treaty, known as Vienna Award, which ceded Southern Transylvania and Banat to Romania and Vojvodina to Serbia. In 1936, Italy occupied Albania to assist the Bulgarians against Ottoman Empire and Greece. Both fronts became a stalemate. In 1937, Serb coup d'etat overthrew pro-German government. In response, Germany attacked and rapidly conquered Serbia. New puppet state was formed, Serbia-Montenegro, ruled by Montengrin monarch.
In 1937, German and Romanian troops launched an invasion of Russia. Disorganised and under-supplied Russian troops were breaking down and routing and invasion troops took over huge swaths of land, approaching St Petersburg and Kiev, before spreading too thin.
In 1938, Bulgarian-German troops captured Istanbul. Ottoman troops signed a peace, without territorial concessions, much to Bulgarian disappointment. Soon after that, the Greeks have given up.
Massive French offensive in 1938 broke thorough Italian defences in Piedmont. Italy made a separate peace,breaking their alliance with Germany. In 1939, France had tried last resort offensive against the Germans through Muhlhausen. Despite making initial gains, it died out after taking over about 30 km of German land.
The war became a stalemate, where further prolonging was becoming more detrimental to both sides. Therefore in 1939, peace had been signed. Both sides were to recognise border changes made during the war and France was awarded last German colonial possessions - German Pacific. However, they failed to fulfill their primary goal - reconquer Elsass-Lothirngen, which sealed its fate as a German Reichsland.
German was the founding member of European Federation in 1956.
An Arab uprising in the Ottoman Empire in 1958 led to a worldwide oil crisis, which hit every developed country, including Germany. The crisis was a symbolic end of the post-war prosperity (so called German economic miracle) and marked the period of sluggish growth and high unemployment in all developed countries and rise of developing countries, which resulted in movement of companies away from Europe. In late 1960s, the Social Democratic Party of Germany attempted to combat the economic downturn with increased infrastructure investment and government spending, which, while created growth, led also to growth of debt and 1980s debt crisis.
Austerity measures taken by the SPD lowered the debt, but the party lost in elections to a liberal party - FVP. FVP emphasised government investment, but only in areas that were able to spur growth, especially in education and new technologies. In 1980s, German hi-tech sector overtook that of Japan, creating new industrial centres, most notably revitalising Rhine-Ruhr area. The period from 1989 is often called the second German economic miracle.
In 2011, controversial Emperor Johann acceded to the throne. German republican movement begun to gain traction.
Politics and government
Emperor is the official head of state, but in practice, his position is rather weak. Title of Emperor is hereditary and is held by the House of Hohenzollern. Johann I is the current Emperor.
State and government
The legislative power is vested in the unicameral parliament, known as the Nationaltag (National Diet). The head of government, Chancellor holds the biggest power. Chancellor presides over other ministers, as head of the executive branch.
Parliamentary elections are held every four years. The Chancellor is elected indirectly by the parliament.
All citizens have a constitutional right to found or join a political party.
FVP (yellow) is the largest German party, currently ruling in coalition with KP. Historically a centrist social liberal party, in recent times it became more neo-liberal. It supports free market and free trade. According to the party platform, the party aims to promote growth and innovation, support science and education and expand civil rights. They also support continued European integration. They generally support rights for women and minorities. They promote entrepreneurship, business-friendliness and good governing. They are also the most secularist of the three main parties. Even though it is not in the official party line, big portion of FVP members and electorate are republicans. Its outperforming both the SPD and KVP is mostly attributed to scandals surrounding Emperor Johann. Head of DFP, Anne Schmidtke, is currently the German Chancellor.
Sozialdemokratische Partiei Deutschland
SPD (red) is currently in opposition. SPD is a centre-left social democratic party. They support trade unionism, Keynesian economics and social justice. SPD mostly protects the rights of the working class. They are unofficially aligned with the German Trade Union Federation. SPD supports European Federation, but is opposed to its further enlargement and excessive free trade, fearing outsourcing, that would harm the German workers. Before the 2013 elections they were the ruling party for 8 terms, with only two terms of interval.
KP (blue) is the largest opposition party. It is a centre right party. It consists of two major factions: liberal conservative and christian democratic. The liberal conservative factions represents mostly the wealthy Germans, usually owners of bigger businesses, managers and bankers. The favour non-interventionist state, linear taxation and general tax cuts. They are also more supportive of minority rights. The christian democratic wing supports interventionism and social equality. They support a more active role of religion in politics and traditionally oppose rights of women and sexual minorities (although in practice, they don't want to repeal marriage equality). Both group favour economic integration of Europe, but KP is generally opposed to open doors immigration and free movement of people. Before 1978, KP was the biggest party, although growing secularisation and rise of the third world, threatening economic domination of the western countries led to general disappointment with the conservatives.
National Partei Deutschland
NPD (gray) is a right wing, nationalist opposition party. Main postulates of NPD are anti-European integration, anti-secularism and a strong monarchy.
Partei Neues Deutschland
PND (maroon) is a left wing, democratic socialist party. It opposes European Federation. It is also openly republican and supports government intervention and trade unionism.
Germany is organised into first level units called districts (ger.: Bezrike):
GDP: 9.74 trillion DPM ($9.15 trillion in OTL)
GDP per capita: 86,714 DPM (81,511$ in OTL)