German Empire

German nation-state in Central Europe from 1871 to 1918

The German Empire or Germany ("Deutsches Reich" or "Deutsches Kaiserreich"or Deutschland in the German language) is the name for a group of German countries from January 18, 1871 to November 9, 1918. This is from the Unification of Germany when Wilhelm I of Prussia was made German Kaiser to when the third Emperor Wilhelm II was removed from power at the end of the First World War. In the 1920s, German nationalists started to call it the "Second Reich".

German Empire
Deutsches Kaiserreich
Motto: Gott mit Uns
(German: "God with us”)
Heil dir im Siegerkranz (unofficial)
The German Empire in 1914
The German Empire in 1914
52°31′N 13°24′E / 52.517°N 13.400°E / 52.517; 13.400
Common languagesGerman
Polish (Posen, Upper Silesia, Masuria)
French (Lothringen region of Elsass-Lothringen)
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
• 1871-1888
Wilhelm I
• 1888-1888
• 1888-1918
Wilhelm II
• 1871-1890
Otto von Bismarck
• 3 Oct-9 Nov 1918
Max von Baden
• Victory in the Franco-Prussian War
January 18 1871
• Proclamation of the Weimar Republic
November 9 1918
1910540,766 km2 (208,791 sq mi)
• 1871
• 1890
• 1910
ISO 3166 codeDE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
North German Confederation
Weimar Republic

The name of Germany was "Deutsches Reich" until 1945. "Reich" can mean many things, empire, kingdom, state, "richness" or "wealth". Most members of the Empire were previously members of the North German Confederation.

At different times, there were three groups of smaller countries, each group was later called a "Reich" by some Germans. The first was the Holy Roman Empire. The second was the German Empire. The third was the Third Reich.

The words "Second Reich" were used for the German Empire by Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, a nationalist writer in the 1920s. He was trying to make a link with the earlier Holy Roman Empire which had once been very strong. Germany had lost First World War and was suffering big problems. van den Bruck wanted to start a "Third Reich" to unite the country. These words were later used by the Nazis to make themselves appear stronger.

States in the Empire change

State Capital
Kingdoms (Königreiche)
  Prussia (Preußen) Berlin
  Bavaria (Bayern) Munich
  Saxony (Sachsen) Dresden
  Württemberg Stuttgart
Grand duchies (Großherzogtümer)
  Baden Karlsruhe
  Hesse (Hessen) Darmstadt
  Mecklenburg-Schwerin Schwerin
  Mecklenburg-Strelitz Neustrelitz
  Oldenburg Oldenburg
  Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach) Weimar
Duchies (Herzogtümer)
  Anhalt Dessau
  Brunswick (Braunschweig) Braunschweig
  Saxe-Altenburg (Sachsen-Altenburg) Altenburg
  Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha) Coburg
  Saxe-Meiningen (Sachsen-Meiningen) Meiningen
Principalities (Fürstentümer)
  Lippe Detmold
  Reuss, junior line Gera
  Reuss, senior line Greiz
  Schaumburg-Lippe Bückeburg
  Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt Rudolstadt
  Schwarzburg-Sondershausen Sondershausen
  Waldeck-Pyrmont Arolsen
Free Hanseatic cities (Freie Hansestädte)
Imperial territory (Reichsland)
  Alsace-Lorraine (Elsaß-Lothringen) Straßburg

Related pages change