Table A. Chronology of Important Events
ca. 500 B.C.-A.D. 100
Germania. Roman army defeated by Suevian tribe at Battle
of the Teutoburg Forest in A.D. 9 and routed from central
Germania. Romans subsequently reconquered Germania west of
the Rhine and Danube rivers and constructed fortified
ca. A.D. 100-600
Collapse of western Roman Empire: last Roman emperor,
Romulus Augustus, deposed in 476 by German armies led by
Odovacar. Frankish tribes settled Gaul (France); Lombards
settled northern Italy; Anglo-Saxons settled Britain.
MEDIEVAL GERMANY (500-1517)
Merovingian Dynasty (ca. 500-751)
Merovingian kings ruled the Frankishtribes. Clovis,
Frankish king 486-511, ruled over Gaul's mixed Germanic-
Roman people. Pepin the Younger, Frankish king 741-68,
founded Carolingian Empire in 752.
Carolingian Empire (752-911)
Frankish rule reached from the Spanish marches into
central Germany. The ""Donation of Pepin"" (754-56)
established the Papal States. Charles the Great
(Charlemagne), Frankish king 768-814, conquered Lombardy
in 774. Carolingian Empire, known as First Reich,
established 800; Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor
(HRE) by pope. Louis I (Louis the Pious) HRE 814-40.
Treaty of Verdun (843) divided Carolingian Empire among
Charlemagne's three grandsons.Germany, France, and Middle
Kingdom delineated and imperial title linked with Middle
Kingdom. Louis II (Louis the German) ruled east Frankish
tribes 843-76. Charles III (Charles the Fat), German king
876-87 and HRE (881). Arnulf of Carinthia, German king
887-99 and HRE (896). Barbarian invasions weakened
Carolingian rule; German duchies of Franconia, Saxony,
Thuringia, Swabia, and Bavaria rose 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.
Saxon Dynasty (919-1024)
Frankish and Saxon nobles elected Henry I(Henry the
Fowler) German king (919-36). Subordination of duchies.
Otto I (Otto the Great), German king 936-73, gained
control of the Middle Kingdom, and the Holy Roman Empire
of the German Nation began. German empire extended to the
Elbe, and in the south to Vienna. Otto II, HRE 973-83.
Otto III, HRE 983-1002. Henry II (Henry the Saint), HRE
Salian Dynasty (1024-1125)
Conrad II, Duke of Franconia, founded Salian Dynasty;
elected HRE (1024-39). Henry III, HRE 1039-56. Henry IV,
HRE 1056-1106, challenged Pope Gregory VII. Investiture
Controversy and civil war, 1075-1122; German empire
weakened and German princes began rise to power. Henry V,
HRE 1106-25. The compromise Concordat of Worms (1122)
settled papal-imperial struggle. Lothar III, Saxon noble,
elected HRE (1125-37).
Hohenstaufen Dynasty (1138-1254)
Hohenstaufen kings struggled to restore imperial
authority. Conrad III elected German king (1138-52).
Frederick I (Frederick Barbarossa), HRE 1152-90,
proclaimed a general peace to restore order and stability.
Beginning of Age of Chivalry. Italian expeditions to
regain imperial control of Middle Kingdom. Henry VI, HRE
1190-97. Civil war, 1198-1214. Frederick II, HRE 1212-50,
restored imperial administration in Italy and Sicily, but
German princes gained concessions. Imperial statute of
1232 established the secular and ecclesiastical princes as
virtually independent rulers within their own territories
(principalities). Great Interregnum, 1256-73; anarchy and
civil war. German princes gained power and vied for
imperial title; Habsburgs of Austria provided all German
kings and emperors from mid-fifteenth century until
dissolution of Holy Roman Empire in 1806.
Early Habsburg Dynasty (1273-1519)
Rudolf of Habsburg elected German (1273-91); acquired
Austria and Styria in 1282 and made Habsburgs the
strongest German dynasty. Adolf of Nassau elected German
king (1292-98). Albert I (Habsburg) elected German king
(1298-1308). Henry VII of Luxemburg, HRE 1308-13, founded
dynasty that seriously rivaled Habsburgs from its power
base in ohemia. Louis IV (Louis the Bavarian) of House of
Wittelsbach, HRE 1314-47. Charles IV of Luxemburg, HRE
1355-78, issued Golden Bull of 1356, which granted German
princes power to elect emperor and provided basic
constitution of Holy Roman Empire. Wenceslas of Bohemia,
German king 1378-1400. Rupert of Palatinate, German king
(1400-10; Sigismund of Luxemburg, HRE 1400-37, last non-
Habsburg emperor until 1742. Habsburgs: Albert II, German
king 1438-39; Frederick III, HRE 1440-93; Maximilian I,
PROTESTANT REFORMATION AND RELIGIOUS WARS (1517-1648)
Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses in Wittenberg
in 1517 and challenged papal authority. Charles V HRE
1519-56. Publication in 1520 of Luther's three
revolutionary pamphlets. Luther banned by 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, HRE 1556-64. Maximilian II, HRE 1564-76.
Rudolf II, HRE 1576-1612. Matthias, HRE 1612-19. Bohemian
Revolt, 1618; imperial armies defeated Bohemians at Battle
of the White Mountain near Prague in 1620. Thirty Years'
War (1618-48); Peace of Prague signed in 1635;
continuation of war by France; Peace of Westphalia, 1648.
End of Holy Roman Empire as a European power .
RISE OF PRUSSIA (1648-1815)
Frederick William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg-
Prussia (1640-88), of Hohenzollern Dynasty, established
absolute rule. Frederick III, elector of Brandenburg-
Prussia (1688-1713), assumed title of king in 1701.
Frederick William I, Prussian king 1713-40, created
Prussian civil and military bureaucracy. Frederick II
(Frederick the Great), Prussian king 1740-86; Seven Years'
War (1756-63) against Austria demonstrated discipline of
Prussian armies. Frederick William II, Prussian king 1786-
97. Frederick William III, Prussian king 1797-1840.
Privileges of nobility within officer corps cast aside
during War of Liberation against France.
REACTION, REVOLUTION, AND GERMAN UNIFICATION (1815-71)
Congress of Vienna (1814-15) after Napoleon's defeat in
the War of Liberation (1813-15) established German
Confederation of thirty-nine monarchical states. Prince
Klemens von Metternich, Austrian chancellor and foreign
minister (1809-48) headed confederation. Reversion to old
order of social distinctions under Age of Metternich.
Struggle between absolutism and liberalism during
Vormärz (1815-48). Student unions agitated for
democratic reform. Carlsbad Decrees (1819) outlawed
radical student organizations. Weimar, Bavaria, Baden, and
Württemberg enacted constitutions, 1818-19. ""July
Revolution"" in France, 1830, sparked revolutionary
movements in Germany; Hesse and Saxony enacted
constitutions. Brunswick, Hanover, and Oldenburg enacted
constitutions in 1833. Zollverein (Customs Union) created
in 1834. March 1848 revolution in Germany.
Frankfurt Assembly (May 1848)
planned constitutional German nation-state. Frederick
William IV, Prussian king 1840-61, refused German crown in
1849; Frankfurt Assembly dissolved. German Confederation
restored in 1851. Prussia agreed to relinquish plans for a
German union under its leadership in Treaty of Olmütz.
Wilhelm I, Prussian king 1861-88; Otto von Bismarck,
chancellor 1862-90, united Germany. Constitutional
struggle, 1862-66; Prussian king vied with German liberals
in parliament on issue of budget for military expansion;
Schleswig-Holstein War, 1864. Seven Weeks' War (1866)
between Austria and Prussia; German Confederation
dissolved and Austria excluded from German politics.
Austro-Hungarian Empire created in 1867. North German
Confederation (1867) headed by Prussia. Franco-Prussian
War, 1870-71. Second Reich--Germany united as nation-
IMPERIAL GERMANY (1871-1918)
Wilhelm I, German emperor 1871-88. Bismarck, chancellor
1871-90. Antisocialist law enacted 1878. Dual Alliance
(1879): Germany, Austria-Hungary. Domestic alliance
between aristocrats and industrialists. Comprehensive
social legislation program, 1881. Triple Alliance (1882):
Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. German colonies
established 1884-85 in South-West Africa, Togo, the
Cameroons, East Africa, and some Pacific islands.
Frederick III, German emperor March 9-June 15, 1888.
Wilhelm II, German emperor 1888-1918. Bismarck's fall,
1890. Leo von Caprivi, chancellor 1890-94. Prince Chlodwig
zu Hohenlohe, chancellor 1894-1900. Naval Bill (1898)
began naval race against Britain. Bernhard von Bülow,
chancellor 1900-1909. Moroccan crisis, 1905, in which
Germany intervened in French and British sphere of
influence. Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, chancellor 1909-
17. Moroccan crisis, 1911, in which Germany sent gunboat
to port of Agadir. New Naval Bill, 1912. Balkan Wars,
1912-13, a nationalist rebellion against Ottoman rule.
Assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand (June
28, 1914) in Sarajevo, Bosnia; Austria's declaration of
war on Serbia. World War I (1914-18); Germans defeated.
WEIMAR REPUBLIC (1918-33)
November Revolution, 1918; Wilhelm II's abdication. Social
Democrats proclaimed republic. German armistice (November
11). Suppression of revolt by Spartacus League 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. Occupation of
Ruhr by French and Belgian troops, 1923. Hitler's beer
hall putsch attempted in Munich. Gustav Stresemann,
chancellor August-November 1923 and foreign minister 1923-
29, formulated policy of rapprochement with West. Dawes
Plan on reparations, 1924. French-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 joined League of Nations, 1926. Young Plan on
reparations, 1929; Allied troops withdrawn from Rhineland,
1930. Depression Years (1929-33) andcabinet crises.
Heinrich Brüning, chancellor 1930-32; government by
presidential decree (Article 48 of the Weimar
Constitution). Franz von Papen, chancellor May-December
1932; Hitler's National Socialists won 230 Reichstag seats
in July 1932 elections and emerged as Germany's strongest
political party. Kurt von Schleicher, chancellor December
1932-January 1933. President Hindenburg appointed Hitler
to chancellorship on January 30, 1933.
THIRD REICH (1933-45)
Reichstag fire, February 1933; Hitler demanded
presidential emergency decree. Enabling Act (March 1933)
accorded Hitler's cabinet dictatorial powers. Germany
declared one-party National Socialist state, July 1933.
Death of Hindenburg, August 1934; Hitler combined offices
of president and chancellor. German rearmament, 1935.
Rhineland remilitarized in 1936 and Berlin-Rome Axis
formed. At secret conference (November 1937) Hitler
announced intention to begin eastward expansion. Austrian
Anschluss (annexation) in March 1938. Czechoslovak
Sudetenland annexed, October 1938. Germany occupied Czech-
populated provinces of Bohemia and Moravia, March 1939.
Poland invaded in September 1939. World War II (1939-45).
GERMAN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (1949-)
Yalta Conference (February 1945) determined division of
Germany into occupation zones. Soviet occupation zone came
under political and economic domination of Soviet Union;
Communist Party of Germany and Social Democrats merged to
form Socialist Unity Party of Germany on April 1946.
German Democratic Republic (East Germany) proclaimed
October 7, 1949; German Communist, Walter Ulbricht, first
secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (1949-
71). Stalinization, 1949-55. East Germany joined Comecon
(see Glossary) in 1950. Workers' uprising, June 1953. East
Germany granted formal sovereignty by Soviet Union, 1954.
Joined Warsaw Pact in 1956. Berlin Wall built August 1961.
New Economic System--economic reform program, 1963-67.
Ulbricht dismissed May 1971; Honecker named new party
leader, and détente negotiations begun. Ideological
Abgrenzung (demarcation) between East Germany and
West Germany. Four Power Agreement on Berlin, 1971. Basic
Treaty between East Germany and West Germany (1972)
recognized two German states. Admission to United Nations,
1973. Tenth Party Congress (1981) confirmed East Germany's
commitment to Soviet Union.
Data as of July 1987