German history

Discussion in 'Education' started by elvis, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. elvis
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    elvis BANNED Supporting Member

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    Does anyone know how and when the Kaisers came to power? I heard Kaiser Wilhelm fired the Bismarck. How did that work? Were the Wilhelms the only Kaisers?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Bootneck
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    The first Kaiser came with the unification of Germany and the proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor in 1871. The German Empire ended in 1918 when it became a republic.
     
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    Xenophon Gone and forgotten

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    The term 'Kaiser' is a coruption of 'Caesar' (so is 'Czar' BTW).

    The first Prussian King was once called Fredrick Wilhelm, aka 'the great elector' and his family (Hohenzollern) ruled first Prussia and then a united Germany until 1918.
     
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    Epsilon Delta Jedi Master

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    Beat me to it... I was looking at this one though:

    German Empire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


     
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    Great informative thread, reps all around!
    Elvis, what may I ask, made you bring up the subject?
     
  7. elvis
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    elvis BANNED Supporting Member

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    Taking a Modern German History class.
     
  8. DavidS
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    Germans have always had fantasies of restoring the Holy Roman Empire, which was an attempt at restoring the Western Roman Empire or Byzantine Empire. This, thankfully, has never come to pass.
     
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    mightypeon Active Member

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    Hehe, as the resident German history freak, allow me to reiterate on the subject.

    Watch out, Huge Wall of text detected ahead.

    As has been noted, the Term Kaiser (just like the Russian Czar) is a Germanification of the Roman Caesar.
    One could make a point that Charlemange (if he existed, it is quite likely that there were a number of Charlemanges who were fused into one person) was the first "Kaiser". Charlemange also saw himself in the tradition of the Western Roman Empire.
    Charlemanges Kingdom became diveded between his grandsons and his son, leading to split into Western Frankia (which later became France), Lotharingia (and area encompassing Savoie, Burgundy, Alsace-Lorraine and the modern day Netherlands) and eastern Frankia, which later became Germany, Austria and northern Italy.
    Lothairingia was hit by an infant king an readily devoured by its two powerfull neighbours.
    This lead to Western and eastern Frankia vieing for dominance, with the Pope, England, the Skandinavians and the Hungarians beeing other influential players. At one point, western Frankia officially "left" the "Roman Empire" as the former territory of Charlemange was still beeing called. The Term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" came into existence much much later.

    Eastern Frankia soon became an electoral Kingdom (while Western Frankia stayed a "normal" monarchy, the battle of Bouviennes was of pivotal importance here). Which means that the successor to the King was chosen by a circle of Electors, as opposed to beeing inherited.
    This forced the German Kings (all Electors were German/Austrian, a fact that lead to a lot of hostility from the Italian-speaking parts of the Roman Empire) to usually give additional concession to the Electors in order to secure their succession. After beeing Elected by the "electoral college" an aspiring duke was only the "King of the Germans" though. To become Emperor, he needed to be annointed by the Pope. Given that some Popes had the opinion that they should be the Emperor, such attempts were not easy at all. The Popes tended to have the support of the Italian parts namely the powerfull city of Milan, as these parts often disliked the King of the Germans due to not getting concessions from him.
    Other parts of Italy supported the "King of the Germans" since they felt threatened by a possible papal/Milan supremacy.

    In general, the German electors prefered to elect a duke who was strong enough to aid them in a defensive war against France, Skandinavian nations or Poland, but not strong enough to bow them.

    The Hohenzollerns came into power when Emperor Zigmund (of the House of Luxemburg, also King of Poland and Hungary), installed them into the mark Brandenburg. This gave them one of the largest continous territories in the Empire, and enabled them to enact something equivalent to a coordinated foreign policy.
    The only other minor states in the German part Empire that had something approaching an independent foreign policy were Bohemia (before it became a part of the habsburg crown), Bavaria (which also had a fairly contingous territory) and the Palatinate (well, their independent foreign policy sparked the 30 years war).
    In the non German speaking parts, Milan, Venice, Genoa and Savoie were "medium powers". While Genoa and Venice mainly cared about their colonial ambition in the Mediterran, Milan tried to subjugate evey Italian minor it could, and Savoieis full attention was taken up with the huge task of not beeing Eaten by France.

    Austria was the dominating state of the Empire for several reasons:
    1. Its territory was fairly contingous and rich with minerals.
    2. It bordered some not so strong states (Hungary or Poland certainly were no pushovers, but they werent France either) not belonging to the Empire, which allowed them to expand without coming into conflict with Imperial laws.
    3. It got freaking lucky with "inheriting" the Netherlands and Bohemia.
    Two highly developed and profitable regions.
    4. Its powerbase was close enough to Italy to exert enough influence on the Pope and Venice/Milan.

    Brandenburg Prussia tended to be the main antagonist of the Habsburg Emperors.
    They frequently clashed over territories, as well as over royal ambitions of the Brandenburgs. France usually supported Brandenburg, as they backed whichever german Princeling could challenge Habsburg dominance.

    A very nice game on that time period is Europa Universalis 3, especially with some mods installed.
     

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