Historica Germania


Historica Germania is the objective study of German geopolitical and military history. It is chronicled from the ancient period to the end of World War II but divorced from sensationalism that almost always accompanies any such writing. Each segment of history will consider past and current histories, written by historians and politicians, that have helped shape the ethos of the German state and people.

(ca. 500 B.C.-A.D. 100)

Germanic tribes settle in Germania. Roman Army defeated by Suevian tribe at Battle of the Teutonburg Forest in A.D. 9 and pushed west of Rhine River. Romans subsequently reconqu er some territory up to the Rhine and Danube rivers and construct fortified frontiers. (ca. A.D. 100-600) Migration of Germanic peoples. Collapse of western Roman Empire. Last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustus, deposed in 476 by German armies led by Odovacar. Frankish tribes settle Gaul (France); Lombards settle northern Italy; Anglo-Saxons settle Britain.


Merovingian Dynasty (ca. 500-751) Merovingian kings rule Frankish tribes. Clovis, Frankish king (486-511), rules over Gaul's mixed Germanic-Roman people. Pepin the Younger, Frankish king (741-68), founds Carolingian Dynasty in 752. Christianization of Germany under leadership of Saint Boniface (ca. 675-754).

Carolingian Dynasty (752-911) Frankish rule reaches from Spanish marches into central Germany. Charlemagne, Frankish king (768-814), conquers Lombardy in 774. Carolingian Empire established 800; Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor by pope. Louis I (Louis the Pious) Holy Roman Emperor 814-40. Treaty of Verdun (843) divides Carolingian Empire among three of Charlemagne's grandsons. Germany, France, and Middle Kingdom delineated, and imperial title linked with Middle Kingdom. Louis II (Louis the German) rules east Frankish tribes (843-76). Charles III (Charles the Fat), German king (876-87) and Holy Roman Emperor 881. Arnulf of Carinthia, German king (887-99) and Holy Roman Emperor 896. Barbarian invasion weaken Carolingian rule; German duchies of Franconia, Saxony, Lorraine, Swabia, and Bavaria rise to power. Louis IV, German king (900-911). Conrad I (Conrad of Franconia) elected German king (911-18) following extinction of Carolingian Empire in the east.

Saxony Dynasty (919-1024) Frankish and Saxon nobles elect Henry I German king (919-36). Subordination of duchies. Otto I (Otto the Great), German king (936-73), gains control of Middle Kingdom, and Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation begins with his coronation as emperor in 962. German empire extends to Elbe River and southeast to Vienna. Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor (973-83). Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor (996-1002). Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor (1014-24).

Salian Dynasty (1024-1125) Conrad II, Duke of Franconia, founds Salian Dynasty; elected Holy Roman Emperor (1027-39). Henry III, Holy Roman Emperor (1046-56). Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor (1084-1106), challenges Pope Gregory VII. Investiture Contest and civil war, 1075-1122; German empire weakens, and German princes begin rise to power. Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor (1111-25). Compromise Concordat of Worms (1122) settles papal-imperial struggle. Lothar III, Saxon noble, elected Holy Roman Emperor (1133-37).

Hohenstaufen Dynasty (1138-1254) Hohenstaufen kings struggle to restore imperial authority. Conrad III elected German king (1138-52). Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa), Holy Roman Emperor (1155-90), seeks long and unsuccessfully to establish order and stability in the empire. Beginning of Age of Chivalry, marked by high achievements in literature. Italian expeditions to regain imperial control of Middle Kingdom. Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor (1191-97). Civil war (1198-1214). Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor (1220-50), restores imperial administration in Italy and Sicily, but German princes gain concessions. Imperial statute of 1232 establishes secular and ecclesiastical princess as virtually independent rulers within their own territories (principalities). Great Interregnum, 1256-73; anarchy and civil war. German princes gain power and via for imperial rule.

Early Habsburg Dynasty (1273-1519) Rudolf of Habsburg elected German king (1273-91); acquires Austria and Syria in 1282 and makes Habsburg strongest German dynasty. Adolf of Nassau elected German king (1292-98). Albert I (Habsburg) elected German king (1298-1308). Henry VII of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor (1312-13), founds dynasty that seriously rivals Habsburg from its power base in Bohemia. Loius IV (Louis the Bavarian) of House of Wittelsbach, Holy Roman Emperor (1328-47). Charles IV of Luxembourg, Holy Roman Emperor (1355-78), issues Golden Bull of 1356, which grants German princes power to elect emperor and provides basic constitution of Holy Roman Empire. Wenceslas of Bohemia, German king (1378-1400). Rupert of Palatinate, German king (1400-10); Sigismund of Luxembourg, German king (1410-37), Holy Roman Emperor (1433-37), last non-Habsburg emperor until 1742; with one exception, Habsburg of Austria provide all emperors from mid-fifteenth century until dissolution of of Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor (1452-93). Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor (1508-1519).


Martin Luther posts his ninety-five theses in Wittenberg in 1517 and challenges papal authority. Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1519-56). Publication in 1520 of Luther's three revolutionary pamphlets. Luther banned from church and empire in 1521. Charles V's wars against France in 1521-26, 1526-29, 1536-38, and 1542-44. Vienna threatened by Turks in 1529. Diet of Augsburg, 1530; Protestant :Augsburg Confession" presented, and Protestant League of Schmalkalden formed by German princes. War of Schmalkalden (1546-47) between Charles V and Protestant princes. Peace of Augsburg, 1555; Catholicism and Lutheranism formally recognized in Germany, and each prince given right to decide religion to be practiced in his territory. Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (1558-64). Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor (1564-76). Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor (1619-37), Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor (1576-1612). Matthius, Holy Roman Emperor (1612-1619). Bohemian Revolt, 1618; imperial armies defeated Bohemians at Battle of White Mountain near Prague in 1620. Thirty Years' War (1618-48); Treaty of Prague signed in 1635; continuation of war by France; Treaty of Westphalia, 1648. End of Holy Roman Empire as a major European power.


Photo used with permission of Kameraden, Unabhängige Zeitschrift für Alte und Junge Soldaten.
Frederick William I

Frederick William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia (1640-88), of Hohenzollern Dynasty, establishes absolute rule. Fredeick I, elector of Brandenburg-Prussia (1688-1713), assumes title of king in 1701. Frederick William I, Prussian king (1713-40), creates civil and military bureaucracy. Frederick II (Frederick the Great), Prussian king (1740-86), reforms his country as enlightened despot. War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) and Seven Years' War (1756-63) against Austria under Maria Thresea (1740-80) expand Prussian territory. Frederick William II, Prussian king (1786-97), Frederick William III, Prussian king (1797-1840). French invade Rheinland in 1792 and eventually control Germany. Prussia, Austria, and Russia defeat Napoleon at Battle of Leipzig ion 1813.

Photo used with permission of Kameraden, Unabhängige Zeitschrift für Alte und Junge Soldaten.
Frederick the Great
Photo used with permission of Kameraden, Unabhängige Zeitschrift für Alte und Junge Soldaten.
Gerhard Scharnhorst


Congress of Vienna (1814-15) after Napoleon's defeat in War of Liberation (1813-15) establishes German Confederation of thirty-seven states. Prince Clemens von Metternich, Austrian chancellor and foreign minister (1809-48), heads confederation. Reversion to old order of social distinction under Age of Metternich. Struggle between absolutism and liberalism. Student unions agitate for democratic reform. Carlsbad Decrees (1819) outlaw radical student organizations. Weimar, Bavaria, Baden, and Württemberg enact constitutions, 1918-19. "July Revolution" in France, 1830, spraks revolutionary movements in Germany; Hesse and Saxony enact constitutions. Brunswick, Hanover. and Oldenburg enact constitutions in 1833. Zollverein (Customs Union) created in 1834. March 1848 revolution in Germany. National Assembly at Frankfurt (1848-49) bplans constitutional German nation-state. Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Prussian king (1840-58) refuses German crown in 1849; National Assembly dissolved. German Confederation restored in 1851. Prussia agrees to relinquish plans for a German union under its leadership in Treaty of Olmütz. Wilhelm I, Prussian king (1858-88); Otto von Bismarck, chancellor (1862-90), unities Germany. Constitutional struggle, 1862-66; Prussian king vies with German liberals in parliament on issue of budget for military expansion; Prussia defeats Austria in Seven Weeks' War (1866); German Confederation dissolved, Austria excluded from German politics. Austria-Hungary created in 1867. North German Confederation formed, headed by Prussia. Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). Germany united as nation-state- German Empire.


Wilhelm I, German emperor (1871-88), Bismarck, chancellor (1871-90). Kulturkampf against Roman Catholic Church begins 1873. Antisocialist legislation enacted 1878. Dual Alliance (1879) between Germany and Austria-Hungary. Domestic Alliance bewteen aristocrats and industrialists in Tariff Agreement of 1879. Comprehensive social legislation program begins 1881. Triple Alliance (1882) among Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. German colonies establsihed 1884-85 in South-West Africa, Togo, the Cameroons, East Africa, and some Pacific islands. Frederick III, German emperor (9 March-15 June 1888). Wihelm II, German emperor (1888-1918). Bismarck's fall 1890. Leo von Caprivi, chancellor (1890-94). Prince Choldwig zu Hohenlohe, chancellor (1894-1900). Naval Bill 1898 begins naval race against Britain. Bernhard von Bülow, chancellor (1900-09). Moroccan crisis 1905, in which Germany intervenes in French and British sphere of influence. Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, chancellor (1909-17). Moroccan crisis, 1911, in which Germany sends gunboat to Agadir. New Navy Bill, 1912. Balkan Wars, 1912-13, a nationalist rebellion against Ottoman rule. Assassination of Austria's Archduke Franz Ferdinand (28 June 1914) in Sarajevo triggers events that culminate in World War I (1914-18); Germany defeated.


November Rebellion, 1918; Wilhelm II's abdication. Social Democrats proclaim republic. Suppression of left-wing revolt by army in January 1919. Treaty of Versailles, 1919. Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert elected president (1919-25). Right-wing Kapp Putsch attempted , 1920. Communist revolts in central Germany, Hamburg, and Ruhr district, 1921. Astronomical inflation, 1922-23. Occupation of Ruhr by French and Belgian troops, 1923. Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch attempted in Munich, 1923. Gustav Streseman, chancellor (Aug-Nov 1923) amd foreign minister (1923-29), formulates policy of rapproachment with West. Dawes Plan on reparations, 1924. French and Belgian troops withdrawn from Ruhr, 1925. Paul von Hindenburg, World War I army commander, elected president (1925-34). Locarno treaties, 1925, and Treaty of Berlin with Soviet Union, 1926. Germany joins League of Nations, 1926. Young Plan on reparations, 1929; Allied troops withdraw from Rheinland, 1930. Economic depression and cabinet crisis, 1929-33. Heinrich Brüning, chancellor 1930-32; government by decree (Article 48 of Weimar Constitution). Franz von Papen, chancellor (May-December 1932); Hitler's National Socialists win Reichstag elections and emerge as Germany's strongest political party, July 1932. Kurt von Schleicher, chancellor (December 1932-January 1933). President Hindenburg appoints Hitler to chancellorship, 30 January 1933.


Reichstag fire; Hitler demands presidential emergency decree, February 1933. Enabling Act accords Hitler's cabinet dictatorial powers, March 1933. Germany declared one-party National Socioalist state, July 1933. Death of Hindenburg, August 1934; Hitler combines office of president and chancellor. German rearmament, 1935. Rhineland remilitarized and Berlin-Rome Axis formed 1936. At secret conference, Hitler announces intentions to begin eastward expansion, November 1937. Austrian Anschluß (annexation), March 1938. Czechoslovak Sudentenland annexed, October 1938. Germany occupies Czech-populated provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, March 1939. Poland invaded, September 1939. World War II (1939-45). Germany defeated.