In 1945, after the end of
World War II, Germany
was divided into two parts: East
Germany and West
Germany. East Germany, also called the German Democratic Republic, was
placed under Soviet rule. West Germany, or the Federal Republic of Germany,
comprised the areas that the British, French, and American troops occupied
during the war. In 1955, the Federal Republic of Germany gained independence
as a democratic state. Until 1989, the Berlin
Wall split the city of Berlin in two and served as the dividing line
between the communist and democratic German republics. East Berlin was named
the capital of East Germany.
In 1989, after 40 years of separation, the Berlin
Wall was dismantled in the midst of
demonstrations in East Germany. After the
fall of the wall, East and West Germany
agreed to reunite and became one unified
Germany in 1990. Since reunification,
Germany has undergone massive changes.
Having spent decades developing different
political, economic, and social structures,
Germans have found consolidation more difficult
than they first anticipated. For instance,
the German government has had to reorganize
itself. Five years after reunification,
Germany joined the European Union and continues
work together with other European nations.
There are many fantastic castles in
Germany, several from medieval times. Kings
often built these castles to defend a piece
of land or a group of people under their
reign. Today, some castles remain standing
and have been restored to their former glory,
but others only exist as ruins.
Germany boasts a great number of musical
geniuses. Many famous classical composers
were from Germany. One world renowned composer, Johann
Sebastian Bach, was born in the town
of Eisenach, Germany. Germans consider Bach
so influential that this year they dedicated
an entire year of musical performances to
him. Another well known German composer was Richard
Strauss. Strauss composed the opera Don
Juan and Don
Quixote, and was a talented conductor
as well as a skilled musician.
Germany has hosted the Olympic Games a number
of times. Though the athletic events proved
thrilling at these Games, international political
conflicts also colored the competitions.
Summer Olympic Games in Berlin and the Winter
Games in Garmisch-Partenkirchen of the
same year were extremely controversial, as
they were held during a time when Adolf Hitler
was rising to power. Trouble again struck
Games in 1972, when terrorists broke
into the athletes' village and took some
participants hostage. Despite the trauma,
the Games continued and athletes posted some
remarkable individual records and team times.
There is a lot more to learn about Germany!
- Explore these sites for facts and figures
- See photos of
the Berlin Wall.
- Enjoy classical music from some famous German
- Explore some of Germany's
grandest castles. Read about their
history, tour the grounds, and learn about
the cities where they are located.
More Countries (past
hosts of Olympic Games)