region in central Europe can be traced to Roman commander Julius Caesar, who referred to the unconquered area east of the Rhine as Germania, thus distinguishing it from Gaul (France), which he had conquered. The victory of the Germanic tribes in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (AD 9) prevented annexation by the Roman Empire, although the Roman provinces of Germania Superior and Germania Inferior were established along the Rhine. Following the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, the Franks conquered the other West Germanic tribes. When the Frankish Empire was divided among Charles the Great’s heirs in 843, the eastern part became East Francia. In 962, Otto I became the first Holy Roman Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, the medieval German state.
In the Late Middle Ages, the regional dukes, princes, and bishops gained power at the expense of the emperors. Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation against the Catholic Church after 1517, as the northern states became Protestant, while the southern states remained Catholic. The two parts of the Holy Roman Empire clashed in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648), which was ruinous to the twenty million civilians living in both parts. The Thirty Years’ War brought tremendous destruction to Germany; more than 1/4 of the population and 1/2 of the male population in the German states were killed by the catastrophic war. 1648 marked the effective end of the Holy Roman Empire and the beginning of the modern nation-state system, with Germany divided into numerous independent states, such as Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Austria and other states, which also controlled land outside of the area considered as “Germany”.
After the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars from 1803–1815, feudalism fell away and liberalism and nationalism clashed with reaction. The German revolutions of 1848–49 failed. The Industrial Revolution modernized the German economy, led to the rapid growth of cities and to the emergence of the socialist movement in Germany. Prussia, with its capital Berlin, grew in power. German universities became world-class centers for science and humanities, while music and art flourished. The unification of Germany (excluding Austria and the German-speaking areas of Switzerland) was achieved under the leadership of the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck with the formation of the German Empire in 1871 which solved the Kleindeutsche Lösung, the small Germany solution (Germany without Austria), or Großdeutsche Lösung, the greater Germany solution (Germany with Austria), the former prevailing. The new Reichstag, an elected parliament, had only a limited role in the imperial government. Germany joined the other powers in colonial expansion in Africa and the Pacific.
By 1900, Germany was the dominant power on the European continent and its rapidly expanding industry had surpassed Britain’s, while provoking it in a naval arms race. Germany led the Central Powers in World War I (1914–1918) against France, Great Britain, Russia and (by 1917) the United States. Defeated and partly occupied, Germany was forced to pay war reparations by the Treaty of Versailles and was stripped of its colonies as well as of home territory to be ceded to Czechoslovakia, Belgium, France and Poland. The German Revolution of 1918–19 put an end to the federal constitutional monarchy, which resulted in the establishment of the Weimar Republic, an unstable parliamentary democracy.
In the early 1930s, the worldwide Great Depression hit Germany hard, as unemployment soared and people lost confidence in the government. In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. The Nazi Party then began to eliminate all political opposition and consolidate its power. Hitler quickly established a totalitarian regime. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands, threatening war if they were not met. First came the remilitarization of the Rhineland in 1936, the annexing of Austria in the Anschluss and parts of Czechoslovakia with the Munich Agreement in 1938 (although in 1939 Hitler annexed further territory of Czechoslovakia). On 1 September 1939, Germany initiated World War II in Europe with the invasion of Poland. After forming a pact with the Soviet Union in 1939, Hitler and Stalin divided Eastern Europe. After a “Phoney War” in spring 1940, the Germans swept Denmark and Norway, the Low Countries and France, giving Germany control of nearly all of Western Europe. Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941.
Racism, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the Nazi regime. In Germany, but predominantly in the German-occupied areas, the systematic genocide program known as The Holocaust killed 11 million including Jews, German dissidents, gipsies, disabled people, Poles, Romanies, Soviets (Russian and non-Russian), and others. In 1942, the German invasion of the Soviet Union faltered, and after the United States had entered the war, Britain became the base for massive Anglo-American bombings of German cities. Germany fought the war on multiple fronts through 1942–1944, however following the Allied invasion of Normandy (June 1944), the German Army was pushed back on all fronts until the final collapse in May 1945.
Under occupation by the Allies, German territories were split up, Austria was again made a separate country, denazification took place, and the Cold War resulted in the division of the country into democratic West Germany and communist East Germany. Millions of ethnic Germans were deported or fled from Communist areas into West Germany, which experienced rapid economic expansion, and became the dominant economy in Western Europe. West Germany was rearmed in the 1950s under the auspices of NATO, but without access to nuclear weapons. The Franco-German friendship became the basis for the political integration of Western Europe in the European Union. In 1989, the Berlin Wall was destroyed, the Soviet Union collapsed and East Germany was reunited with West Germany in 1990. In 1998–1999, Germany was one of the founding countries of the eurozone. Germany remains one of the economic powerhouses of Europe, contributing about one-quarter of the eurozone’s annual gross domestic product. In the early 2010s, Germany played a critical role in trying to resolve the escalating euro crisis, especially with regard to Greece and other Southern European nations. In the middle of the decade, the country faced the European migrant crisis as the main receiver of asylum seekers from Syria and other troubled regions.discovery of the Homo heidelbergensis mandible in 1907 affirms archaic human presence in Germany by at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete set of hunting weapons ever found anywhere in the world was excavated from a coal mine in Schöningen, Lower Saxony. Between 1994 and 1998, eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins between 1.82 and 2.25 m (5.97 and 7.38 ft) in length were eventually unearthed.
In 1856 the fossilized bones of an extinct human species were salvaged from a limestone grotto in the Neander valley near Düsseldorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. The archaic nature of the fossils, now known to be around 40,000 years old, was recognized and the characteristics published in the first ever paleoanthropologic species description in 1858 by Hermann Schaaffhausen. The species was named Homo neanderthalensis – Neanderthal man in 1864.
The remains of Paleolithic early modern human occupation uncovered and documented in several caves in the Swabian Jura include various mammoth ivory sculptures that rank among the oldest uncontested works of art and several flutes, made of bird bone and mammoth ivory that are confirmed to be the oldest musical instruments ever found. The 40,000-year-old Löwenmensch figurine represents the oldest uncontested figurative work of art and the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels has been asserted as the oldest uncontested object of human figurative art ever discovered. 
Germanic tribes, 750 BC – 768 AD
Early modern Germany
death of Frankish king Pepin the Short in 768, his oldest son “Charlemagne” (“Charles the Great”) consolidated his power over and expanded the Kingdom. Charlemagne ended 200 years of Royal Lombard rule with the Siege of Pavia, and in 774 he installed himself as King of the Lombards. Loyal Frankish nobles replaced the old Lombard aristocracy following a rebellion in 776. The next 30 years of his reign were spent ruthlessly strengthening his power in Francia and on the conquest of the Slavs and Pannonian Avars in the east and all tribes, such as the Saxons and the Bavarians. On Christmas Day, 800 AD, Charlemagne was crowned Imperator Romanorum (Emperor of the Romans) in Rome by Pope Leo III.
Fighting among Charlemagne’s three grandsons over the continuation of the custom of partible inheritance or the introduction of primogeniture caused the Carolingian empire to be partitioned into three parts by the Treaty of Verdun of 843. Louis the German received the Eastern portion of the kingdom, East Francia, all lands east of the Rhine river and to the north of Italy. This encompassed the territories of the German stem duchies – Franks, Saxons, Swabians, and Bavarians – that were united in a federation under the first non-Frankish king Henry the Fowler, who ruled from 919 to 936. The royal court permanently moved in between a series of strongholds, called Kaiserpfalzen, that developed into economic and cultural centers. Aachen Palace played a central role, as the local Palatine Chapel served as the official site for all royal coronation ceremonies during the entire Medieval period until 1531.
The Holy Roman Empire, maps
The division of the Carolingian Empire by the Treaty of Verdun in 843
Territorial evolution of the Holy Roman Empire from 962 to 1806
The Holy Roman Empire at its greatest territorial extent under Hohenstaufen emperor Frederick II, 13th century