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German Empire
Flag of the German Empire
Flag of the German Empire
Full Name Deutsches Kaiserreich
Common Name Germany
Motto Gott mit Uns (God with us)
Anthem Heil dir im Siegerkranz
Official Languages German
Capital Berlin
Government Structure Semi-constitutional monarchy
Head of State Kaiser Wilhelm II
Head of Government Franz von Papen
Currency Papiermark
Established 1871
Area (excluding colonies) More than 543.000 km²
Population (excluding colonies) 75.12 million

Germany, or officially the Deutsches Kaiserreich (German: German Empire) is a country in Central Europe. Its borders are shared to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland, Lithuania and the United Baltic Duchy; to the south by Austria-Hungary and Switzerland; and to the west by the Commune of France, Flanders-Wallonia, and the Netherlands. Through colonial possessions Germany also borders Spain, National France, Liberia, Abyssinia, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, Oman, South Africa, Portugal, Siam, the Qing Empire (which includes the Allgemeine Ostasiatische Gesellschaft in addition to the warlord territory of the Yunnan Clique), the Fengtian Republic and Australasia.

The German Empire is a semi-constitutional monarchy composed by twenty-eight states, ruled by the Hohenzollern dynasty. Germany is currently the most powerful country in the world with its influence stretching throughout the world. The state of Germany was proclaimed on January, 18 1871 in the Hall of Mirrors of Palace of Versailles in the aftermath of the 1871 Franco-Prussian War. As the main victor of the Weltkrieg, Germany controls a vast overseas empire with colonial holdings in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. Germany also leads Mitteleuropa, the military alliance and economic union with several Eastern European nations.

History

Main Article: German Empire/History

Unification

Under the pressure of Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck (the "Iron Chancellor") Germany was finally united: The German Empire was proclaimed in the palace of Louis XIV, Versailles, on January, 18 1871. He died on March, 9 1888; his son, Friedrich III, followed him, due to incurable throat cancer, only 99 days later. Wilhelm II subsequently acceeded to the throne. Considering Bismarck's foreign policy as too soft, the Kaiser dismissed the Iron Chancellor in 1890, replacing him with more malleable replacements.

A Place in the Sun

Wilhelm II was obsessed with his colonial ambitions and began a naval rivalry with Britain on the advices of admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, leading to an increasing isolation of a belligerent Germany. Europe came close to war for the first time in 1911 with the Agadir Crisis, when Wilhelm II claimed Morocco. This crisis, adding to the Kaiser's reputation as an irresponsible firebrand, was defused without a war breaking out - but the outbreak had been merely delayed for a few years. However, as history was soon to show, Wilhelm II's gamble would pay off, he would achieve all his aims and more, and even many of his sharpest critics would be forced to admit as much.

Weltkrieg

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The Kaiser proclaims the beginning of the Weltkrieg, August 1st, 1914.

Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. One month later Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in retaliation, and Germany rallied to her side; soon, the German Empire found itself at war against France, Britain and Russia. Quickly invading Belgium and Luxembourg, the German advance was stopped at the Marne and in Poland, creating the stalemate that would define the war.

In 1917, Russia collapsed into Revolution and thousands of soldiers were transferred from the Eastern Front to the West. The situation at the home front had become bleak; hunger, deprivation, and anger over the war led to a Socialist uprising in November 1918 that quickly spread and eventually required front line units to be fully suppressed, leading to the signing of the Enabling Act by an intimidated Reichstag.

But finally, in March 1919, after four and a half years of attrition warfare, the German offensive on the Western Front finally succeeded in overrunning the Entente defenses. As their army collapsed, the exhausted French government surrendered and allowed the German army to occupy their nation. However, the French Civil War prevented the Germans from fully realizing their territorial demands.

Novemberinsurrections-reichstag

The Reichstag debates the Enabling Act, 13. November 1918.

The debate around a possible intervention in this new war also ended with the still-powerful SPD pressuring the weak Reichskanzler Michaelis into only allowing Ludendorff continued war-time privileges until the end of this renewed conflict. Enraged, Ludendorff ordered the Kaiser to dismiss Reichstag, the Bundesrat and Michaelis and make Paul von Hindenburg new Reichskanzler, thus beginning the Ludendorff dictatorship. Only the FVP and SPD protested this obvious coup d'etat, while the Kaiser willingly obliged.

Ludendorff dictatorship

Following their stunning victory against France, German troops were rapidly deployed to secure the occupation of Italy and the Ottoman Empire's southern fronts. A ceasefire was signed in November, but the war with Britain and the remaining Entente forces did not truly end until 1921, when the Peace with Honour was secured.

However, the economic and social problems it had caused continued. The population had been pushed to the brink of starvation by the British blockade, which had only truly ended in 1918, and the economy was in a similarly dire state. Demobilization had created a great mass of unemployed men, straining the urban economy, trade with the USA and other neutral countries was only slowly beginning to pick back up, and the eastern puppets were often in chaos.

The Reichskanzler and the dictator quickly began a series of reform projects to alleviate these problems. The most successful of these was a tax reform spearheaded by Zentrum politician Matthias Erzberger. The reform, which plainly took further power from the constituent countries of the Empire, led to the departure of the Bavarian Zentrum, who formed the Bayerische Volkspartei (BVP). On the other side of the coin, the failed Blood-and-Earth settlement policies disrupted economic ties with Poland, hindering the economic integration of the eastern puppet states into Mitteleuropa.

With the Reichstag still infinitely suspended, newspaper agitation became the modus operandi of the non-parliamentary opposition, leading to a country increasingly divided between supporters and enemies of the regime; the SPD, exempt from the complete ban on all Socialist party activities, followed a strategy of publicly pushing the boundaries of what was legal, therefore rebranding itself as the only true opposition.

The Kaiser increasingly withdrew from public life, leading to rumours about increasing alienation from his most powerful subordinate. And finally, in 1923, disaster struck; the Osthilfeskandal brought together Social Democrats and Liberals with the Kaiser and even Reichskanzler von Hindenburg. Ludendorff found himself banished to his estate and elections were called for the first time in a decade.

The Golden Age of Tirpitz

After a week of feverish campaigning known as Tage der Schreihälse (German: Days of the Squallers), on July 24th, 1923, Ludendorff's DVLP emerged victorious with a vote share of 32%, a harsh blow to Opposition dreams. However, the Kaiser finally picked a new Reichskanzler that proved he would be able to use the calls for reform for his own ends: Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz.

Tirpitz embarked on a program of economic liberalisation. Coming after a period of stagnant internal growth, this coincided with the profits of long-term investments in Mitteleuropa finally arrivng; the result was an economic boom that would last for the duration of von Tirpitz' chancellorship, cementing his immense popularity and reputation as "The Second Bismarck".

However, this concentration on stimulating the private economy left right-wing elements dissatisfied. On May 14th, 1924, several DVLP Reichstag members formed a new party, the Alldeutscher Verband (German: Pan-German Union). With a program of state-controlled economics and Germanic nationalism, this new party seemed to have little chance of success. That changed a year later, when the charismatic fighter pilot Hermann Göring became party chairman and led the party to a 8% victory in the elections of 1928.

Tirpitz ended his agenda of foreign withdrawal in 1925 with the well-executed occupation of British colonial possessions following the outbreak of the British Revolution and an alliance with the Zhili Clique of China the next year. With the establishment of the Freistaat Mittelafrika and the Allgemeine Ostasien-Gesellschaft, the German dream of a "Place in the Sun" was finally fulfilled.

In Europe, he did not have similar success; with the Union of Britain and the Socialist Republic of Italy now firmly established as allies of the Commune of France, he failed in preventing a new German-hostile bloc from forming. A symptom of this failure was the rise in Syndicalist terror, culminating in the assassination of Reichsbank president Karl von Helferrich on August 28th, 1928.

Interregnum

On June 6th, 1930, Reichskanzler von Tirpitz died suddenly during a visit to Hamburg. His death caught the DVLP flat-footed; No other politician was even close to being a possible successor. After von Tirpitz' burial parade through Berlin became the largest mass gathering Germany had ever seen, the media magnate Alfred Hugenberg won the party-internal chairman elections against Ulrich von Hessel.

But even though Hugenberg immediately started a massive campaign to promote himself as the only possible successor of Germany's Second-Greatest Chancellor, the Kaiser did not choose Hugenberg as new Reichskanzler. Instead, after an uncharacteristically long waiting period, Franz von Papen, chairman of the Deutschkonservative Partei - only notable for copying the DVLP program as closely as possible - became Reichskanzler out of the blue on August 3rd.

Shocked and outraged at this most likely personally motivated crossing, Hugenberg adopted a new party program for the DVLP to differentiate them from the DKP; a restoration of power to local nobles and constituent countries, similar to the particularist platform of Zentrum and BVP, but coupled with a return to state-controlled economics and agricultural subsidies for the East-Elbian Junkers.

This new platform proved futile when on July 16th, 1932, after 2 years of eventless business as usual, von Papen's DKP won a landslide victory, taking 32% and the "new" DVLP sunk to an all-time low of 5%. The SPD stayed the second-largest party with 25%, as they had been for twenty years at this point.

The largest event since then was undefeated Weltkrieg hero Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck becoming honorary chairman for the desolate Nationalliberale Partei in 1934. The Germans have lost any thirst for adventure; all they - and their politicians - hope for is an extension of the status quo for as long as possible. But the Kaiser is getting old, and so is the post-Weltkrieg order. And even if Germany has never been so powerful, neither has it ever had such heavy burdens.

Politics

Main Article: German Empire/Politics

Germany is a federal constitutional monarchy ruled by the German Kaiser (who is also King of Prussia). Although Germany has many political parties, the state policies are rather authoritarian. The Constitution of the Second German Reich has stood in place for 60 years. The Chancellor and Government are appointed by the Kaiser, but legislation needs to be approved by the Reichstag, a chamber elected proportionally by universal male suffrage, and the Bundesrat, consisting of representatives from each of the states. While the Reichstag is far from a rubber-stamp institution, and has become increasingly vocal and assertive over the past thirty years, it is not yet strong enough that it can actually bring down a Government. The relative weakness of the Reichstag has meant that a wide range of voluntarist pressure groups have sprung up, attempting to push forward a range of economic, political and sectional causes. In addition, the various states of the Reich have considerable autonomy and influence over local matters, including education, law enforcement and arts patronage. While many of the smaller states have extremely liberal constitutions, the unequal Estate-based electoral system for the Prussian Landtag remains a bone of contention

Conscription Law: Volunteer Only
Economic Law: Civilian Economy
Trade Law: Export Focus
Head of Government: Franz von Papen
Foreign Minister: Freidrich-Werner von Schulenberg
Economy Minister: Hjalmar Schacht
Security Minister: Johann von Bernstorff
Intelligence Minister: Carl von Schubert


Industry

Kaiserreich has:

  • 25 Military Factories
  • 51 Civilian Factories (36 for Consumer Goods)
  • 20 Dockyards
  • 400 Convoys

After all possible build-ups by German focus tree:

  • +4 Military Factories
  • +3 Civilian Factories
  • +4 Dockyards

Resources (overseas territories not included):

  • 714 units of steel
  • 158 units of aluminium
  • 4 units of chromium
  • 4 units of tungsten
  • 4 units of oil

Military

Army

The Deutsches Heer is a professional force with modern armament and strict training, and the well-known Prussian military quality persists, represented by excellent German generals, all belonging to the Junker aristocratic elite. Germany maintains the second-largest army in the world, after Russia. Most of the ground forces are based in mainland Germany, forming the core of a defence plan created in the late 20's by Grand Admiral and Reichskanzler von Tirpitz: Flanders-Wallonia and the Siegfried Line in Elsass-Lothringen in the west, and the Eastern European satellites as buffer states against Russia in the east. The security of the colonies, save for strategic garrisons in Morocco, Singapore, the Pacific islands and West Africa, are entrusted to private militias raised and maintained by the powerful Stadthalters of Mittelafrika and Allgemeine Ostasiatische Gesellschaft.

Navy

The Kaiserliche Marine is the largest and arguably the most powerful navy in the world, though it's supremacy compared to other contemporary navies is not of the same scale as that of the Royal Navy before the Weltkrieg. Boasting the largest (if a bit dated) battleship fleet in the world, the Kaiserliche Marine is also one of the few navies in the world to own aircraft carriers. With bases around the world, the Kaiserliche Marine is the Empire's main method of enforcing the German interests abroad and maintaining security among the vulnerable sealanes that transport goods to and from the colonies. The Kaiserliche Marine is currently headed by Admiral Ludwig von Reuter.

Air Force

The Luftstreitkräfte is headed by Generalfeldmarschall Manfred von Richthofen, the first one of his kind in the Air Force. The largest air force in the world, the Luftstreitkräfte very much focuses on supporting army operations with a considerable fleet of tactical bombers. The air force also maintains a presence abroad, most prominently at Tsingtao, where an entire Luftlotte is located.

Foreign Relations

The Kaiserreich,

  • Leads an alliance (known as Mitteleuropa) including Flanders-Wallonia, Finland, United Baltic Duchy, Lithuania, Ukraine and White Ruthenia.
  • Maintains a colonialist relationship with Abyssinia, Qing Empire and Poland
  • Has friendly relations with Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Ottoman Empire and Spain
  • Declared hostility against Commune of France, Socialist Republic of Italy, Union of Britain, Canada and National France

Colonies and Dependencies

German colonial possessions in Europe: Crete, Malta

German colonial possessions in Africa: The Freistaat Mittelafrika, the Suez Canal Zone, German Somaliland, Madagascar, Mauritius Island, Reunion Island, Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Morocco

German colonial possessions in Asia: Allgemeine Ostasiatische Gesellschaft, German Indochina, the Kiaochow Bay Concession, Singapore, German Borneo, German Yemen, Ceylon, and Hainan Island

German colonial possessions in Oceania: Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, the Bismarck Archipelago, the German Solomon islands, Bougainville Island, Angenehm Island, the Marshall Islands, the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands, and German Samoa

Culture

Women in Germany

While economic and social forces have ensured that women fill many jobs in the major cities, particularly in service industries and clerical work, the conservative Reich establishment has thus far prevented them from having a vote in Reichstag elections (although some of the more progressive states, such as Wurttemburg and Baden, have permitted female voting in Regional Assemblies). However, the long presence of female politicians in public life, not least of whom is Rosa Luxemburg, grandmother of German Socialism, has made Frauenwahlrecht a hot political issue.

Literature

Germany´s top author at the moment is Erich Paul Remark, whose anti-war book 'Durchbruch' (1929), followed by 'Der Weg vorwärts' (1931) have become immensely popular, despite opposition from the Großer Generalstab. He is currently working on his third book, set after the final armistice with Britain. Some rumors speak of an alternate history novel, "Führerreich", telling the story of a Germany which lost the Weltkrieg. Nobel Price Thomas Mann is a well-known admirer of the Kaiser, and has often been named a potential foreign minister due to his personal prestige. Ernst Jünger, who inaugurated the fashion of the "Weltkrieg diaries" (depictions of the war from the point-of-view of the soldiers), is currently a high-ranking official in the Mittelafrikan administration. German writers have also been involved in extreme politics: Bertolt Brecht's plays barely avoided censorship due to their celebration of syndicalist values, although this has been diluted somewhat in those plays which he has made with his far more conservative collaborator Oswald Spengler, while Alfred Rosenberg's nationalist read-through of German philosophy (Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche) has a limited but noticeable audience in Germany.

Music

While Germany officially endorses classical music - especially Wagner, Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Händel and all German composers, it isn´t quite as popular as it once was. Even the Kaiser has begun worshipping Scott Joplin. The spouse of Kronprinz Wilhelm, Princess Cecilie, is a well-known friend of contemporary musicians. Prestigious composers amongst the likes of Siegfried Alkan, Bogislaw Hubermann, Wilhelm Kempff, Elly Ney, Wilhelm Furtwängler and Herbert von Karajan often perform small concerts for the royal family at Cecilienhof Palace.

Cinema

Babelsberg studios, in Berlin's suburbs, are the greatest in Europe and rival even Hollywood in production, quality and number of films. German cinema has become a worldwide industry, and the dream factory for the whole of Europe. Moreover, in large part due to the efforts of the now deceased Friedrich Murnau, it has managed to surpass its tentative roots as a mere government propaganda tool, and take a more artistic approach. Popular with the German public are the likes of Hans Albers and Marlene Dietrich, and the renowned comics of Ernst Lubitsch, though Fritz Lang's works are often considered too dark and realistic for viewer's tastes.

Painting, sculpture, architecture

The Dada wave has also spread to Germany, a divided country who enjoyed the favorable conclusion of the Weltkrieg while it suffered of the long war and blockade: Max Ernst and George Grosz's work, for instance, is characterized by the trauma of the war years. In urbanism, Walter Gropius and his young rival, Albert Speer, struggle for the attention of the German government, intent on majestic monuments in memory of the Weltkrieg. Arno Breker's statues, first conceived as a celebration of the German man, were censored due to their nudity, judged indecent by German authorities.

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