The Luftwaffe was the aerial warfare branch of the combined German Wehrmacht military forces during World War II. During the interwar period, German pilots were trained secretly in violation of the treaty at Lipetsk Air Base, with the rise of the Nazi Party and the repudiation of the Versailles Treaty, the Luftwaffe was officially established on 26 February 1935. The Condor Legion, a Luftwaffe detachment sent to aid Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War, provided the force with a testing ground for new doctrines. By the summer of 1939, the Luftwaffe had twenty-eight Geschwaders, during World War II, German pilots claimed roughly 70,000 aerial victories, while over 75,000 Luftwaffe aircraft were destroyed or significantly damaged. Of these, nearly 40,000 were lost entirely, the Luftwaffe proved instrumental in the German victories across Poland and Western Europe in 1939 and 1940. From 1942, Allied bombing campaigns gradually destroyed the Luftwaffes fighter arm, in addition to its service in the West, the Luftwaffe operated over the Soviet Union, North Africa and Southern Europe.
In January 1945, during the stages of the Battle of the Bulge, the Luftwaffe made a last-ditch effort to win air superiority. After the defeat of Germany, the Luftwaffe was disbanded in 1946, the Luftwaffe had only two commanders-in-chief throughout its history, Hermann Göring and Generalfeldmarschall Robert Ritter von Greim. Throughout the war, the force was responsible for war crimes, one of the forerunners of the Luftwaffe, the Imperial German Army Air Service, was founded in 1910 with the name Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches, most often shortened to Fliegertruppe. It was renamed Luftstreitkräfte on 8 October 1916, after the defeat of Germany, the service was dissolved on 8 May 1920 under the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles, which mandated the destruction of all German military aircraft. Since the Treaty of Versailles forbade Germany to have an air force, to train its pilots on the latest combat aircraft, Germany solicited the help of its future enemy, the Soviet Union, which was isolated in Europe.
This base was known as 4th squadron of the 40th wing of the Red Army. Hundreds of Luftwaffe pilots and technical personnel visited and were trained at Soviet air force schools in locations in Central Russia. The first steps towards the Luftwaffes formation were undertaken just months after Adolf Hitler came to power, in April 1933 the Reichsluftfahrtministerium was established. Görings control over all aspects of aviation became absolute, on 25 March 1933 the Deutschen Luftsportverband absorbed all private and national organizations, while retaining its sports title. On 15 May 1933, all military organizations in the RLM were merged, forming the Luftwaffe. The |Nationalsozialistisches Fliegerkorps was formed in 1937 to give pre-military flying training to male youths, military-age members of the NSFK were drafted to the Luftwaffe. As all such prior NSFK members were Nazi Party members, the absence of Göring in planning and production matters was fortunate
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years War was a series of wars in Central Europe between 1618 and 1648. It was one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European history, as well as the deadliest European religious war, resulting in eight million casualties. Initially a war between various Protestant and Catholic states in the fragmented Holy Roman Empire, it developed into a more general conflict involving most of the great powers. These states employed relatively large mercenary armies, and the war became less about religion, in the 17th century, religious beliefs and practices were a much larger influence on an average European than they are today. The war began when the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor, Ferdinand II, tried to impose uniformity on his domains. The northern Protestant states, angered by the violation of their rights to choose that had granted in the Peace of Augsburg. Ferdinand II was a devout Roman Catholic and relatively intolerant when compared to his predecessor and his policies were considered strongly pro-Catholic.
They ousted the Habsburgs and elected Frederick V, Elector of the Rhenish Palatinate as their monarch, Frederick took the offer without the support of the union. The southern states, mainly Roman Catholic, were angered by this, led by Bavaria, these states formed the Catholic League to expel Frederick in support of the Emperor. The Empire soon crushed this rebellion in the Battle of White Mountain. After the atrocities committed in Bohemia, Saxony finally gave its support to the union, wishing to finally crush the Dutch rebels in the Netherlands and the Dutch Republic, intervened under the pretext of helping its dynastic Habsburg ally, Austria. No longer able to tolerate the encirclement of two major Habsburg powers on its borders, Catholic France entered the coalition on the side of the Protestants in order to counter the Habsburgs. Both mercenaries and soldiers in fighting armies traditionally looted or extorted tribute to get operating funds, the war bankrupted most of the combatant powers.
The Thirty Years War ended with the treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, the war altered the previous political order of European powers. Lutherans living in a prince-bishopric could continue to practice their faith, Lutherans could keep the territory they had taken from the Catholic Church since the Peace of Passau in 1552. Those prince-bishops who had converted to Lutheranism were required to give up their territories and this added a third major faith to the region, but its position was not recognized in any way by the Augsburg terms, to which only Catholicism and Lutheranism were parties. The Dutch revolted against Spanish domination during the 1560s, leading to a war of independence that led to a truce only in 1609. This dynastic concern overtook religious ones and led to Catholic Frances participation on the otherwise Protestant side of the war and Denmark-Norway were interested in gaining control over northern German states bordering the Baltic Sea
Bishopric of Brandenburg
The Bishopric of Brandenburg was a Roman Catholic diocese established by King Otto I of Germany in 948, in the territory of the Marca Geronis east of the Elbe river. The bishopric was a diocese of the Archbishopric of Magdeburg. The Prince-bishopric of Brandenburg was a state of the Holy Roman Empire for some time, the Brandenburg bishops never managed to gain control over a significant territory, being overshadowed by the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which was originally seated in the same city. Only in 1929 the - meanwhile former - immunity district was incorporated into the city itself, the foundation charter of the Brandenburg diocese is dated 1 October 948, though the actual founding date remained disputed among historians. With the foundation, King Otto aimed at the Christianization of the Polabian Slavs, Brandenburg was originally a suffragan of the Archbishopric of Mainz, but in 968 it came under the jurisdiction of the Magdeburg archbishops. The Great Slav Rising of 983 practically annihilated it, when revolting Lutici tribes conquered Brandenburg, Brandenburg bishops continued to be appointed, but they were merely titular, residing in Magdeburg or acting as auxiliary bishops in the western territories of the Empire.
Not until the subjugation of the Wends in the 12th century by Margrave Albert the Bear. Bishop Wigers established a Premonstratensian convent at Leitzkau, the incorporation into the Premonstratensian Order was confirmed by Pope Clement III in 1188. As rulers of imperial immediacy, regnant in a, dispersed territory partitioned into the four bailiwicks of Brandenburg/Havel, Teltow, the prince-bishops from the early 14th century onwards resided in their fortress in Ziesar on the road to Magdeburg. The last actual bishop was Matthias von Jagow, who took the side of the Protestant Reformation, list of Former Roman Catholic dioceses of Germany This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, Samuel Macauley, ed. article name needed. New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge and New York and Wagnalls
Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe. It includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,021 square kilometres, with about 82 million inhabitants, Germany is the most populous member state of the European Union. After the United States, it is the second most popular destination in the world. Germanys capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while its largest conurbation is the Ruhr, other major cities include Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Leipzig. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity, a region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period the Germanic tribes expanded southward, beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation, in 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire.
After World War I and the German Revolution of 1918–1919, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic, the establishment of the national socialist dictatorship in 1933 led to World War II and the Holocaust. After a period of Allied occupation, two German states were founded, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, in 1990, the country was reunified. In the 21st century, Germany is a power and has the worlds fourth-largest economy by nominal GDP. As a global leader in industrial and technological sectors, it is both the worlds third-largest exporter and importer of goods. Germany is a country with a very high standard of living sustained by a skilled. It upholds a social security and universal health system, environmental protection. Germany was a member of the European Economic Community in 1957. It is part of the Schengen Area, and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999, Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G8, the G20, and the OECD.
The national military expenditure is the 9th highest in the world, the English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz popular, derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- people, the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a mine in Schöningen where three 380, 000-year-old wooden javelins were unearthed
Brennabor-Werke AG was a German manufacturer of infant buggies, motorcycles and, for two decades, of powered motor vehicles. It was based in Brandenburg an der Havel and operated between 1871 and 1945, the company was set up in 1871 by three brothers named Adolf and Hermann Reichstein. The brothers had already been producing basket-work child buggies and childrens two-wheelers in 1870, from 1892 the bicycles were branded with the Brennabor name. By the 1930s the company had grown to become Europe’s largest produced of infant buggies and was a leading bicycle producer. Volume production of motor bikes began in 1901, and from 1903 the company was producing, at this stage only to order, three-. 1908 saw the beginning of production of cars, and this was the year that the company’s own racing team began to enjoy world-wide success in motor sport. However, car production was suspended in 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War, after the war, in 1919, the company presented the Brennabor Typ P, a car targeted at the upper middle classes, and volume production began in 1921.
In 1924 Brennabor was employing approximately 6,000 people, during the mid-1920s Brennabor became Germany’s largest car producer, and it was still in second place, behind Opel, in 1927/28. In 1919 the company formed an alliance with two manufacturers, NAG and Hansa-Lloyd, the resulting tripartite grouping being known as GDA. The association lasted until 1928 but never progressed to the point of becoming a formal merger between the member companies, in 1923/24 Brennabor led the way, as one of the first German auto-makers to adopt US-style production line techniques. However, Brennabor had no small car model to compete with Opel’s Laubfrosch, the German economy was particularly badly hit by the world economic crisis of the 1920s, and the company saw demand and production volumes cut back at the end of the decade. There was insufficient funding for any progression to volume production of any front-wheel-drive model,1932 saw an eight-month hiatus in automobile production, production resumed at the end of the Autumn/Fall, but came to a permanent end in 1933.
In the 1940s the site would be taken over and used for the creation of a Heavy tractor factory, since 1991 the former factory has housed a training centre owned by a subsidiary of the auto-engineering company, ZF Group. Werner Oswald, Deutsche Autos Band 2 – 1920–1945, Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-613-02170-6 Archiv Mario Steinbrink, Interessengemeinschaft Brennabor, www. brennabor-brb. de Pavel/Krause/Brekow, Von Brennabor bis ZF Brandenburg. Brandenburgisches Verlagshaus,1996, ISBN 3-89488-107-0 Stapf/Reichstein, aus dem Leben der Industriellen-Familie Reichstein 1839–1971 Kerschsteiner Verlag,2005, ISBN 3-931954-12-9 Interessengemeinschaft Brennabor Information on some Brennabort two-wheelers, with photos
East Germany, formally the German Democratic Republic, was an Eastern Bloc state during the Cold War period. The Soviet zone surrounded West Berlin, but did not include it, as a result, the German Democratic Republic was established in the Soviet Zone, while the Federal Republic was established in the three western zones. East Germany, which lies culturally in Central Germany, was a state of the Soviet Union. Soviet occupation authorities began transferring administrative responsibility to German communist leaders in 1948, Soviet forces, remained in the country throughout the Cold War. Until 1989, the GDR was governed by the Socialist Unity Party, though other parties participated in its alliance organisation. The economy was centrally planned, and increasingly state-owned, prices of basic goods and services were set by central government planners, rather than rising and falling through supply and demand. Although the GDR had to pay war reparations to the USSR. Nonetheless it did not match the growth of West Germany.
Emigration to the West was a significant problem—as many of the emigrants were well-educated young people, the government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall. Many people attempting to flee were killed by guards or booby traps. In 1989, numerous social and political forces in the GDR and abroad led to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the following year open elections were held, and international negotiations led to the signing of the Final Settlement treaty on the status and borders of Germany. The GDR was dissolved and Germany was unified on 3 October 1990, the GDR bordered the Soviet sector of Allied-occupied Berlin known as East Berlin which was administered as the states de facto capital. It bordered the three sectors occupied by the United States, United Kingdom and France known collectively as West Berlin. The three sectors occupied by the Western nations were sealed off from the rest of the GDR by the Berlin Wall from its construction in 1961 until it was brought down in 1989, the official name was Deutsche Demokratische Republik, usually abbreviated to DDR.
West Germans, the media and statesmen purposely avoided the official name and its abbreviation, instead using terms like Ostzone, Sowjetische Besatzungszone. The centre of power in East Berlin was referred to as Pankow. Over time, the abbreviation DDR was used colloquially by West Germans. However, this use was not always consistent, for example, before World War II, Ostdeutschland was used to describe all the territories east of the Elbe, as reflected in the works of sociologist Max Weber and political theorist Carl Schmitt
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federated states of Germany. It lies in the northeast of the country covering an area of 29,478 square kilometers and has 2.48 million inhabitants, the capital and largest city is Potsdam. Brandenburg surrounds but does not include the capital and city-state Berlin forming a metropolitan area. Brandenburg is one of the states that was re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former East Germany. Governed by the Hohenzollern dynasty from 1415, it contained the future German capital Berlin, after 1618 the Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia were combined to form Brandenburg-Prussia, which was ruled by the same branch of the House of Hohenzollern. In 1701 the state was elevated as the Kingdom of Prussia, Brandenburg is situated in territory known in antiquity as Magna Germania, which reached to the Vistula river. By the 7th century, Slavic peoples are believed to have settled in the Brandenburg area, the Slavs expanded from the east, possibly driven from their homelands in present-day Ukraine and perhaps Belarus by the invasions of the Huns and Avars.
They relied heavily on river transport, the two principal Slavic groups in the present-day area of Brandenburg were the Hevelli in the west and the Sprevane in the east. Beginning in the early 10th century, Henry the Fowler and his successors conquered territory up to the Oder River, Slavic settlements such as Brenna and Chośebuz came under imperial control through the installation of margraves. Their main function was to defend and protect the eastern marches, in 948 Emperor Otto I established margraves to exert imperial control over the pagan Slavs west of the Oder River. Otto founded the Bishoprics of Brandenburg and Havelberg, the Northern March was founded as a northeastern border territory of the Holy Roman Empire. However, an uprising of Wends drove imperial forces from the territory of present-day Brandenburg in 983. The region returned to the control of Slavic leaders, the Roman Catholic Church brought bishoprics which, with their walled towns, afforded protection from attacks for the townspeople.
With the monks and bishops, the history of the town of Brandenburg an der Havel, in 1134, in the wake of a German crusade against the Wends, the German magnate, Albert the Bear, was granted the Northern March by the Emperor Lothar III. He formally inherited the town of Brandenburg and the lands of the Hevelli from their last Wendish ruler, after crushing a force of Sprevane who occupied the town of Brandenburg in the 1150s, Albert proclaimed himself ruler of the new Margraviate of Brandenburg. Albert, and his descendants the Ascanians, made progress in conquering, Christianizing. Within this region and German residents intermarried, during the 13th century, the Ascanians began acquiring territory east of the Oder, known as the Neumark. In 1320, the Brandenburg Ascanian line came to an end, under the Luxembourgs, the Margrave of Brandenburg gained the status of a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire
Kingdom of Prussia
It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the kings of Prussia were from the House of Hohenzollern. Prussia was a power from the time it became a kingdom, through its predecessor, Brandenburg-Prussia. Prussia continued its rise to power under the guidance of Frederick II, more known as Frederick the Great. After the might of Prussia was revealed it was considered as a power among the German states. Throughout the next hundred years Prussia went on to win many battles and it was because of its power that Prussia continuously tried to unify all the German states under its rule. Attempts at creation of a federation remained unsuccessful and the German Confederation collapsed in 1866 when war ensued between its two most powerful states and Austria. The North German Confederation which lasted from 1867–1871, created a union between the Prussian-aligned states while Austria and most of Southern Germany remained independent.
The North German Confederation was seen as more of an alliance of military strength in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War, the German Empire lasted from 1871–1918 with the successful unification of all the German states under Prussian hegemony. This was due to the defeat of Napoleon III in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71, in 1871, Germany unified into a single country, minus Austria and Switzerland, with Prussia the dominant power. Prussia is considered the predecessor of the unified German Reich. The Kingdom left a significant cultural legacy, today notably promoted by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, in 1415 a Hohenzollern Burgrave came from the south to the March of Brandenburg and took control of the area as elector. In 1417 the Hohenzollern was made an elector of the Holy Roman Empire, after the Polish wars, the newly established Baltic towns of the German states including Prussia, suffered many economic setbacks. Many of the Prussian towns could not even afford to attend political meetings outside of Prussia, the towns were poverty stricken, with even the largest town, having to borrow money from elsewhere to pay for trade.
Poverty in these towns was partly caused by Prussias neighbors, who had established and developed such a monopoly on trading that these new towns simply could not compete and these issues led to feuds, trade competition and invasions. However, the fall of these gave rise to the nobility, separated the east and the west. It was clear in 1440 how different Brandenburg was from the other German territories, not only did it face partition from within but the threat of its neighbors. It prevented the issue of partition by enacting the Dispositio Achillea which instilled the principle of primogeniture to both the Brandenburg and Franconian territories, the second issue was solved through expansion
Aktion T4 was the postwar designation for a programme of involuntary euthanasia in Nazi Germany. Under the programme certain German physicians were authorized to select patients deemed incurably sick, after most critical medical examination, about half of the victims were from church-run asylums. Several reasons for the programme have been offered, including eugenics, reducing suffering, racial hygiene, cost effectiveness and pressure on the welfare budget. After the nominal end of the programme, physicians in German and Austrian facilities continued many of the practices of Aktion T4, the unofficial continuation of the policy led to additional deaths by medicine and similar means, resulting in 93,521 beds emptied by the end of 1941. The technology and techniques developed were instrumental in the implementation of Nazi genocides, the term Aktion T4 came into use after the war, before that German terminology included Euthanasie and Gnadentod. The euthanasia programme was part of the evolution of the policy of murder that culminated in the extermination of Jews of Europe during the Holocaust.
In his book Mein Kampf, Hitler wrote that one day racial hygiene, the idea of sterilising those carrying hereditary defects or exhibiting what was thought to be hereditary antisocial behaviour was widely accepted. Canada, Denmark and the US had passed laws for the sterilisation of people before Germany. Studies conducted in the 1920s ranked Germany as a country that was unusually reluctant to introduce sterilisation legislation, the policy and research agenda of racial hygiene and eugenics were promoted by Emil Kraepelin. Sterilisation was legalised for chronic alcoholism and other forms of social deviance and it is estimated that 360,000 people were sterilised under this law between 1933 and 1939. In 1935, Hitler told the Leader of Reich Doctors, Gerhard Wagner and he wrote that he intended to radically solve the problem of the mental asylums in such an event. Although officially started in September 1939, Aktion T4 was initiated with a case in late 1938. Hitler instructed his personal physician, Karl Brandt, to evaluate a familys petition for the killing of their blind.
The child, born near Leipzig and identified as Gerhard Kretschmar eventually, was killed in July 1939, Hitler instructed Brandt to proceed in the same manner in all similar cases. Three weeks after the killing of the boy, the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of Hereditary and it was to prepare and proceed with the registration of sick children or newborns identified as defective. Secret killing of infants began in 1939 and increased after the war started, by 1941 more than 5,000 children had been killed. Hitler was in favour of killing those whom he judged to be unworthy of life and this issue, according to the Nazi regime, assumed new urgency in wartime. The German eugenics movement had an extreme wing even before the Nazis came to power, as early as 1920, Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding advocated killing people whose lives were unworthy of life
Berlin is the capital and the largest city of Germany as well as one of its constituent 16 states. With a population of approximately 3.5 million, Berlin is the second most populous city proper, due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one-third of the area is composed of forests, gardens, rivers. Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world, following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of all-Germany. Berlin is a city of culture, media. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations. Berlin serves as a hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. The metropolis is a popular tourist destination, significant industries include IT, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology and electronics. Modern Berlin is home to world renowned universities, orchestras and its urban setting has made it a sought-after location for international film productions.
The city is known for its festivals, diverse architecture, contemporary arts. Since 2000 Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene, the name Berlin has its roots in the language of West Slavic inhabitants of the area of todays Berlin, and may be related to the Old Polabian stem berl-/birl-. All German place names ending on -ow, -itz and -in, since the Ber- at the beginning sounds like the German word Bär, a bear appears in the coat of arms of the city. It is therefore a canting arm, the first written records of towns in the area of present-day Berlin date from the late 12th century. Spandau is first mentioned in 1197 and Köpenick in 1209, although these areas did not join Berlin until 1920, the central part of Berlin can be traced back to two towns. Cölln on the Fischerinsel is first mentioned in a 1237 document,1237 is considered the founding date of the city. The two towns over time formed close economic and social ties, and profited from the right on the two important trade routes Via Imperii and from Bruges to Novgorod.
In 1307, they formed an alliance with a common external policy, in 1415 Frederick I became the elector of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, which he ruled until 1440. In 1443 Frederick II Irontooth started the construction of a new palace in the twin city Berlin-Cölln
The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and their market towns. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s and it stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages and early modern period. Hanse, spelled as Hansa, was the Middle Low German word for a convoy, the League was created to protect the guilds economic interests and diplomatic privileges in their affiliated cities and countries, as well as along the trade routes the merchants visited. The Hanseatic cities had their own system and furnished their own armies for mutual protection. The hegemony of Lübeck peaked during the 15th century, Lübeck became a base for merchants from Saxony and Westphalia trading eastward and northward. This area was a source of timber, amber, the towns raised their own armies, with each guild required to provide levies when needed. The Hanseatic cities came to the aid of one another, and commercial ships often had to be used to carry soldiers, Visby functioned as the leading centre in the Baltic before the Hansa.
Sailing east, Visby merchants established a trading post at Novgorod called Gutagard in 1080, Merchants from northern Germany stayed in the early period of the Gotlander settlement. Later they established their own trading station in Novgorod, known as Peterhof, in 1229, German merchants at Novgorod were granted certain privileges that made their position more secure. Hansa societies worked to remove restrictions to trade for their members, before the official foundation of the League in 1356, the word Hanse did not occur in the Baltic language. The earliest remaining documentary mention, although without a name, of a specific German commercial federation is from London 1157. That year, the merchants of the Hansa in Cologne convinced Henry II, King of England, to them from all tolls in London. The allied cities gained control over most of the trade, especially the Scania Market. In 1266, Henry III of England granted the Lübeck and Hamburg Hansa a charter for operations in England, much of the drive for this co-operation came from the fragmented nature of existing territorial government, which failed to provide security for trade.
Over the next 50 years the Hansa itself emerged with formal agreements for confederation and co-operation covering the west and east trade routes. The principal city and linchpin remained Lübeck, with the first general Diet of the Hansa held there in 1356, other such alliances formed throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Yet the League never became a closely managed formal organisation, over the period, a network of alliances grew to include a flexible roster of 70 to 170 cities. The league succeeded in establishing additional Kontors in Bruges and these trading posts became significant enclaves
The end of the unification process is officially referred to as German unity, celebrated on 3 October. Following German reunification, Berlin was once designated as the capital of united Germany. The East German regime started to falter in May 1989, when the removal of Hungarys border fence with Austria opened a hole in the Iron Curtain and it caused an exodus of thousands of East Germans fleeing to West Germany and Austria via Hungary. The united Germany is the continuation of the Federal Republic. For political and diplomatic reasons, West German politicians carefully avoided the term reunification during the run-up to what Germans frequently refer to as die Wende, after 1990, the term die Wende became more common. The term generally refers to the events led up to the actual reunification, in its usual context. When referring to the events surrounding unification, however, it carries the connotation of the time. However, anti-communist activists from Eastern Germany rejected the term Wende as it was introduced by SEDs Secretary General Egon Krenz, the capital city of Berlin was divided into four occupied sectors of control, under the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and France.
Germans lived under such imposed divisions throughout the ensuing Cold War, into the 1980s, the Soviet Union experienced a period of economic and political stagnation, and they correspondingly decreased intervention in Eastern Bloc politics. In 1987, US President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at Brandenburg Gate challenging Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down this wall that had separated Berlin. The wall had stood as an icon for the political and economic division between East and West, a division that Churchill had referred to as the Iron Curtain. In early 1989, under a new era of Soviet policies of glasnost and taken to more progressive levels by Gorbachev. Further inspired by images of brave defiance, a wave of revolutions swept throughout the Eastern Bloc that year. In May 1989, Hungary removed their border fence and thousands of East Germans escaped to the West, events rapidly came to a head in early 1990. First, in March, the Party of Democratic Socialism—the former Socialist Unity Party of Germany—was heavily defeated in East Germanys first free elections.
A grand coalition was formed under Lothar de Maizière, leader of the East German wing of Kohls Christian Democratic Union, on a platform of speedy reunification, East Germanys economy and infrastructure underwent a swift and near-total collapse. While East Germany had long been reckoned as having the most robust economy in the Soviet bloc, the East German mark had been practically worthless outside East Germany for some time before the events of 1989–90 further magnified the problem. Discussions immediately began for a merger of the German economies