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reunification

Timeline of German history

500 BC

Germanic tribes from Scandinavia move to Northern Germany

57 BC

During the Gallic Wars, Julius Caesar invades Western regions of Germany

800

The German ruler, Emperor Charlemagne, becomes Roman Emperor

962

German king Otto I. becomes Roman Emperor. This marks the beginning of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nations

996

Bruno of Carinthia becomes the first German pope, Gregory V

1075

In the Investiture Controversy, the Church challenges the authorities of European monarchies. This leads to 47 years of Civil War in Germany

1077

Emperor Henry IV makes his Walk to Canossa from Speyer, Germany

1122

The Concordat of Worms ends the Investiture Controversy

1356

The Golden Bull is issued, which will serve as a form of constitution for the Holy Roman Empire for the next 400 years

1356

Formation of the Hanseatic League, an association of market towns in Northern Germany and beyond. The Hanseatic League also grew to be a defensive union of the cities involved, ensuring mutual protection

1455

The Gutenberg Bible is printed in Mainz by Johannes Gutenberg, who introduced the printing press

1517

Martin Luther writes the Ninety-Five Theses and posts them to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg. This action is widely viewed as the start of the Protestant Reformation

1524

Peasants, farmers, miners and members of the urban lower class in Southern Germany and parts of today’s Austria and Switzerland start a revolt against the aristocracy. The revolt failed one year later

1529

First Siege of Vienna by troops of the Ottoman Empire

1555

The Peace of Augsburg is signed. It is regarded as the first documented example of religious freedom in Europe

1618

The Thirty Years’ War begins. In its essence, the war, which was fought across most of Central Europe, was an armed conflict between Catholics and Protestants and later, by extension, between the long-feuding houses of Habsburg and Bourbon.

1648

The Peace of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years’s War. By then, the war had caused massive devastation to vast regions, a major loss of life on all sides and the bankruptcy of some of the parties.

1701

The Kingdom of Prussia is formed with Frederick I as the first king

1740

The War of the Austrian Succession begins. What started of as a dispute over the next Austrian queen developed into a war involving Russia, Spain, France, Prussia, Great Britain and others. Later, Austria and Prussia fought two more wars over control of Prussia.

1754

The Seven Years’s War over territorial conflicts begins between Great Britain and the French-Spanish dynasty of the Bourbons. The war soon extends to territories outside of Europa and develops into a World War

1789

The transformational ideas of the French Revolution impact Germany

1803

Begin of the Napoleonic Wars which for the next nine years would alter the course of history for large parts of Europe. Napoleon conquered the Rhineland in 1806 and fought many battles on German ground and lost the Battle of Leipzig in 1819

1812

Brothers Grimm publish their first book of fairy tales

1815

At the Congress of Vienna, several boundaries between European countries are redefined in an attempt to secure peace. In its course, the German Confederation is formed out of 39 German states to act as a buffer zone between Prussia and Austria

1832

The Hambach Festival marks the turning point for the German democracy movement and emphasizes the idea of German unity

1833

Founding of the Zollverein, a customs union between most of the German states and some other European countries

1848

As in other European countries, Germany experiences a series of revolutionary protests fighting for more political freedom

1848

In Frankfurt, the first elected parliament for all of Germany convenes at the Paulskirche. The parliament generates a Constitution based on democratic principles which would later serve as a model for the Constitution of 1949

1866

The Austro-Prussian War results in the annexation of  several states by Prussia and the dissolution of the German Confederation. Prussia becomes the most influential member of the North German Confederation.

1871

Prussian King Wilhelm I declares himself German Emperor after Prussia defeated France in a short war and won a part of Alsace. Bismarck is inserted as Chancellor and soon attempts tp weaken the position of the Catholic Church.

1882

Bismarck forms the Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy as a counterweight to the Triple Entente between Britain, France and Russia

1886

Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz invent the combustion engine for automobiles

1890

In the Heligoland-Zanzibar treaty, Germany gains a strategically important island in the North Sea from Britain in exchange for its African colony

1914

Germany joins World War I after its ally Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The Emperor joined the war in the hope of uniting the German people behind the monarchy, although the country soon proved to be  ill-prepared. Britain starts a naval supply blockade of Germany

1916

During the nine-months Battle of Verdun, more than 700,000 French and German soldiers are killed

1918

After the German Revolution, a revolt led by sailors, the Emperor is overthrown

1919

Following a constitutional assembly in Weimar, the Federal Republic of Germany is proclaimed. The Weimar Republic soon faced challenges such as political extremism and the burdens charged to it under the Treaty of Versailles, with which Germany accepted guilt for the war

1920

Workers revolt in parts of the country after a general strike which had followed an unsuccessful coup attempt

1923

When Germany fails to pay reparations stemming from the Treaty of Versailles, France and Belgium occupy the Ruhr area

1923

The Munich Beer Hall Putsch conducted by Hitler and his Nazi party fails

1925

The Locarno Treaties, intended to normalize relations to Germany, are signed by the allies of World War I. Germany joins League of Nations

1929

Germany is hit hard by the Great Depression

1933

After the Nazi party received the most votes in the general elections, Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor. When a fire breaks out in the parliament building, the Nazis present this as a sign for communist uprising and decree the limitation of many civil rights. Also in 1933, the Nazis party decreed the Enabling Act, which gave legislative powers to the cabinet.

1934

Upon the death of President Paul von Hindenburg, Hitler assumes presidential powers as well and from now on pronounces himself Führer

1938

Austria is annexed by Germany. Although this annexation violated the Treaty of Versailles, there was no action taken by the Allies. In November, the Reichskristallnacht occurs: Thousands of Jewish houses, businesses and synagogues are destroyed, Jewish Germans arrested or killed

1939

After the annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia, Germany invades and occupies Poland. As a result, France, Great Britain and others declare war on Germany. The deportation of Jews begins

1940

Germany invades Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Luxembourg and France, which later in 1940 surrenders

1941

The Germans start supporting Italian military actions on African soil. Greece and Yugoslavia surrender to Germany, which in turn starts the invasion of the former ally Russia. In December, the United States officially declare war on Germany and the axis

1942

At the Wannsee Conference, the “Final Solution to the Jewish question” is made. In August, the battle of Stalingrad begins which will prove to be a turning point in German warfare in the East. In the North African theatre, Germany also suffers heavy losses.

1943

The US send several corps to Europe and begin air raids on Germany, drastically increasing the number of civilian casualties. The Nazis extend conscription to include teens and women and declare “total war”. German troops in Africa surrender

1944

During D-Day, 155,000 troops land in France and continue towards Germany. In October, the first German city, Aachen, is conquered by the allies. Stauffenberg’s assassination attempt on Hitler fails in July. Hitler leaves his war headquarters and moves into a bunker in Berlin.

1945

Concentration camps are liberated one-by-one. Hitler’s generals ignore the Führer’s orders to destroy Germany and in April, Hitler commits suicide. Germany surrenders unconditionally, the country is divided into four areas of control between Russia, France, Britain and the US

1948

The Deutsche Mark is introduced as Germany’s new currency

1948

The Berlin Blockade begins. With it, the Soviet Union blocks all allied access to Berlin. The allies organize the airlift to supply West Berlin.

1949

The German Democratic Republic in the East and the Federal Republic of Germany in the West are founded, Adenauer becomes first Chancellor

1951

Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany form the European Coal and Steel Community, one of the predecessors of the European Union

1952

East Germany begins with the fortification of the Inner German border, allegedly to protect itself against capitalist influences

1953

A strike by construction workers in East Berlin leads to an uprising. The government answers violently, leaving more than 500 dead

1955

West Germany joins the NATO, East Germany joins the Warsaw Pact

1961

The Berlin Wall is built as an instrument to halt defection to West Germany

1972

During the Olympic Summer Games in Munich, Palestinian terrorists kill 11 members of the Israeli team

1977

Several acts of terrorism by leftwing radicalists occur in what would later be called the German Autumn

1989

On November 9th, after weeks of peaceful mass demonstrations in East Germany, primarily in Leipzig every Monday evening, the East German government announces the opening of the border crossings to the West to anyone.

1990

Germany is reunited

1993

By ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union is created

1999

During the war in former Yugoslavia, German troops for the first time since World War II are assigned outside of the country under NATO order

2002

The Euro is introduced, replacing the Deutsche Mark and other national currencies across Europe