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Germans
Deutsche
Total population
c. 100–150 million worldwide[1]
German people around the world.svg
Regions with significant populations
 Germany62,482,000[2]
 United States46,000,000 (descent)[3]
 Brazil12,000,000 (descent)[4][5]
 Argentina3,500,000 (descent)[6]
 Canada3,300,000 (descent)[7]
 Chile500,000 (descent)[8]
 France437,000[9]
 Russia402,000[10]
 Netherlands368,512[11]
 Italy310,900[12]
Germans (German: Deutsche) are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe,[30][31][32][33] who share a common German ancestry, culture, and history. German is the shared mother tongue of a substantial majority of ethnic Germans.

The English term Germans has been the name for the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages.[note 3] Ever since the onset of the Protestant Reformation within the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century, German society has been characterized by a Catholic-Protestant divide.[34]

Of approximately 100 million native speakers of German in the world,[35] roughly 80 million consider themselves Germans.[citation needed] There are an additional 80 million people of German ancestry mainly in the United States, Brazil (mainly in the South Region of the country), Argentina, Canada, South Africa, the post-Soviet states (mainly in Russia and Kazakhstan), and France, each accounting for at least 1 million.[note 4] Thus, the total number of Germans lies somewhere between 100 and more than 150 million, depending on the criteria applied[1] (native speakers, single-ancestry ethnic Germans, partial German ancestry, etc.).

Today, people from countries with German-speaking majorities which were earlier part of the Holy Roman Empire, (such as Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and other historically-tied countries like Luxembourg), most often subscribe to their own national identities and may or may not also self-identify as ethnically German.[36]

Etymology

Roman limes and modern boundaries.

The German term Deutsche originates from the Old High German word diutisc (from diot "people"), referring to the Germanic "language of the people". It is not clear how commonly, if at all, the word was used as an ethnonym in Old High German.

Used as a noun, ein diutscher in the sense of "a German" emerges in Middle High German, attested from the second half of the 12th century.[37]

The Old French term alemans is taken from the name of the Alamanni. It was loaned into Middle English as almains in the early 14th century. The word Dutch is attested in English from the 14th century, denoting continental West Germanic ("Dutch" and "German") dialects and their speakers.[38]

While in most Romance languages the Germans have been named from the Alamanni (in what became Swabia) (some, like standard Italian tedeschi, retain an older borrowing of the endonym, while the Romanian 'germani' stems from the historical correlation with the ancient region of Germania), the Old Norse, Finnish, and Estonian names for the Germans were taken from that of the Saxons. In Slavic languages, the Germans were given the name of němьci (singular němьcь), originally meaning "mute."

The English term Germans is only attested from the mid-16th century, based on the classical Latin term Germani used by Julius Caesar and later Tacitus. It gradually replaced Almain, the most common term found in Middle English and late-15th century texts, by the 18th century; the latter having already marginalised the less common medieval variants of the modern word "Dutch".[39][40][41]

History

The Germans are a Germanic people, who as an ethnicity emerged during the Middle Ages. Originally part of the Holy Roman Empire, around 300 independent German states emerged during its decline after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ending the Thirty Years War, with Austria and Prussia-Brandenburg being the largest. These states, except for Austria and the Czech lands which it controlled, the Spanish Netherlands (most of which eventually became Belgium), Liechtenstein, and lands west of the Upper Rhine River (over time added to France) eventually formed into modern Germany in the 19th century.[42]

Origins

Germanic Kingdoms in Europe c. 500 AD

Although there is little substantial proof, the concept of a German ethnicity is linked to Germanic tribes of antiquity in central Europe.[43] The early Germans originated on the North German Plain as well as southern Scandinavia.[43] By the 2nd century BC, the number of Germans[citation needed] was significantly increasing and they began expanding into eastern Europe and southward into Celtic territory.[43] During antiquity these Germanic tribes remained separate from each other and did not have writing systems at that time.[44]

In the European Iron Age the area that is now Germany was divided into the (Celtic) La Tène horizon in Southern Germany and the (Germanic) Jastorf culture in Northern Germany. By 55 BC, the Germans[citation needed] had reached the Danube river and had either assimilated or otherwise driven out the Celts who had lived there, and had spread west into what is now Belgium and France.[44]

Conflict between the Germanic tribes and the forces of Rome under Julius Caesar forced major Germanic tribes to retreat to the east bank of the Rhine.[45] Roman emperor Augustus in 12 BC ordered the conquest of the Germans[citation needed], but the catastrophic Roman defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest resulted in the Roman Empire abandoning its plans to completely conquer Germania.[43] Germanic peoples in Roman territory were culturally Romanized, and although much of Germania remained free of direct Roman rule, Rome deeply influenced the development of German society, especially the adoption of Christianity by the Germans who obtained it from the Romans.[45] In Roman-held territories with Germanic populations, the Germanic and Roman peoples intermarried, and Roman, Germanic, and Christian traditions intermingled.[46] The adoption of Christianity would later become a major influence in the development of a common German identity.[44]

The first major public figure to speak of a German[citation needed] people in general, was the Roman figure Tacitus in his work Germania around 100 AD.[47] However an actual united German identity and ethnicity did not exist then, and it would take centuries of development of German culture until the concept of a German ethnicity began to become a popular identity.[48]

The Germanic peoples during the Migrations Period came into contact with other peoples; in the case of the populations settling in the territory of modern Germany, they encountered Celts to the south, and Balts and Slavs towards the east. The Limes Germanicus was breached in AD 260. Migrating Germanic tribes commingled with the local Gallo-Roman populations in what is now Swabia and Bavaria. The arrival of the Huns in Europe resulted in Hun conquest of large parts of Eastern Europe, the Huns initially were allies of the Roman Empire who fought against Germanic tribes, but later the Huns cooperated with the Germanic tribe of the Ostrogoths, and large numbers of Germans lived within the lands of the Hunnic Empire of Attila.[49] Attila had both Hunnic and Germanic families and prominent Germanic chiefs amongst his close entourage in Europe.[49] The Huns living in Germanic territories in Eastern Eu

The English term Germans has been the name for the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages.[note 3] Ever since the onset of the Protestant Reformation within the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century, German society has been characterized by a Catholic-Protestant divide.[34]

Of approximately 100 million native speakers of German in the world,[35] roughly 80 million consider themselves Germans.[citation needed] There are an additional 80 million people of German ancestry mainly in the United States, Brazil (mainly in the South Region of the country), Argentina, Canada, South Africa, the post-Soviet states (mainly in Russia and Kazakhstan), and France, each accounting for at least 1 million.[note 4] Thus, the total number of Germans lies somewhere between 100 and more than 150 million, depending on the criteria applied[1] (native speakers, single-ancestry ethnic Germans, partial German ancestry, etc.).

Today, people from countries with German-speaking majorities which were earlier part of the Holy Roman Empire, (such as Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and other historically-tied countries like Luxembourg), most often subscribe to their own national identities and may or may not also self-identify as ethnically German.[36]

The German term Deutsche originates from the Old High German word diutisc (from diot "people"), referring to the Germanic "language of the people". It is not clear how commonly, if at all, the word was used as an ethnonym in Old High German.

Used as a noun, ein diutscher in the sense of "a German" emerges in Middle High German, attested from the second half of the 12th century.[37]

The Old French term alemans is taken from the name of the Alamanni. It was loaned into Middle English as almains in the early 14th century. The word Dutch is attested in English from the 14th century, denoting continental West Germanic ("Dutch" and "German") dialects and their speakers.[38]

While in most Romance languages the Germans have been named from the Alamanni (in what became Swabia) (some, like standard Italian tedeschi, retain an older borrowing of the endonym, while the Romanian 'germani' stems from the historical correlation with the ancient region of Germania), the Old Norse, Finnish, and Estonian names for the Germans were taken from that of the Saxons. In Slavic languages, the Germans were given the name of němьci (singular němьcь), originally meaning "mute."

The English term Germans is only attested from the mid-16th century, based on the classical Latin term Germani used by Julius Caesar and later Tacitus. It gradually replaced Almain, the most common term found in Middle English and late-15th century texts, by the 18th century; the latter having already marginalised the less common medieval variants of the modern word "Dutch".[39][40][41]

History

The Germans are a Germanic people, who as an ethnicity emerged during the Middle Ages. Originally part of the Holy Roman Empire, around 300 independent German states emerged during its decline after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ending the Thirty Years War, with Austria and Prussia-Brandenburg being the largest. These states, except for Austria and the Czech lands which it controlled, the Spanish Netherlands (most of which eventually became Belgium), Liechtenstein, and lands west of the Upper Rhine River (over time added to France) eventually formed into modern Germany in the 19th century.[42]

Origins

Germanic Kingdoms in Europe c. 500 AD

Although there is little substantial proof, the concept of a German ethnicity is linked to Germanic tribes of antiquity in central Europe.[43] The early Germans originated on the North German Plain as well as southern Scandinavia.[43] By the 2nd century BC, the

Used as a noun, ein diutscher in the sense of "a German" emerges in Middle High German, attested from the second half of the 12th century.[37]

The Old French term alemans is taken from the name of the Alamanni. It was loaned into Middle English as almains in the early 14th century. The word Dutch is attested in English from the 14th century, denoting continental West Germanic ("Dutch" and "German") dialects and their speakers.[38]

While in most Romance languages the Germans have been named from the Alamanni (in what became Swabia) (some, like standard Italian tedeschi, retain an older borrowing of the endonym, while the Romanian 'germani' stems from the historical correlation with the ancient region of Germania), the Old Norse, Finnish, and Estonian names for the Germans were taken from that of the Saxons. In Slavic languages, the Germans were given the name of němьci (singular němьcь), originally meaning "mute."

The English term Germans is only attested from the mid-16th century, based on the classical Latin term Germani used by Julius Caesar and later Tacitus. It gradually replaced Almain, the most common term found in Middle English and late-15th century texts, by the 18th century; the latter having already marginalised the less common medieval variants of the modern word "Dutch".[39][40][41]

The Germans are a Germanic people, who as an ethnicity emerged during the Middle Ages. Originally part of the Holy Roman Empire, around 300 independent German states emerged during its decline after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 ending the Thirty Years War, with Austria and Prussia-Brandenburg being the largest. These states, except for Austria and the Czech lands which it controlled, the Spanish Netherlands (most of which eventually became Belgium), Liechtenstein, and lands west of the Upper Rhine River (over time added to France) eventually formed into modern Germany in the 19th century.[42]

Origins

Although there is little substantial proof, the concept of a German ethnicity is linked to Germanic tribes of antiquity in central Europe.[43] The early Germans originated on the North German Plain as well as southern Scandinavia.[43] By the 2nd century BC, the number of Germans[citation needed] was significantly increasing and they began expanding into eastern Europe and southward into Celtic territory.[43] During antiquity these Germanic tribes remained separate from each other and did not have writing systems at that time.[44]

In the European Iron Age the area that is now Germany was divided into the (Celtic) La Tène horizon in Southern Germany and the (Germanic) Jastorf culture in Northern Germany. By 55 BC, the Germans[citation needed] had reached the Dan

In the European Iron Age the area that is now Germany was divided into the (Celtic) La Tène horizon in Southern Germany and the (Germanic) Jastorf culture in Northern Germany. By 55 BC, the Germans[citation needed] had reached the Danube river and had either assimilated or otherwise driven out the Celts who had lived there, and had spread west into what is now Belgium and France.[44]

Conflict between the Germanic tribes and the forces of Rome under Julius Caesar forced major Germanic tribes to retreat to the east bank of the Rhine.[45] Roman emperor Augustus in 12 BC ordered the conquest of the Germans[citation needed], but the catastrophic Roman defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest resulted in the Roman Empire abandoning its plans to completely conquer Germania.[43] Germanic peoples in Roman territory were culturally Romanized, and although much of Germania remained free of direct Roman rule, Rome deeply influenced the development of German society, especially the adoption of Christianity by the Germans who obtained it from the Romans.[45] In Roman-held territories with Germanic populations, the Germanic and Roman peoples intermarried, and Roman, Germanic, and Christian traditions intermingled.[46] The adoption of Christianity would later become a major influence in the development of a common German identity.[44]

The first major public figure to speak of a German[citation needed] people in general, was the Roman figure Tacitus in his work Germania around 100 AD.[47] However an actual united German identity and ethnicity did not exist then, and it would take centuries of development of German culture until the concept of a German ethnicity began to become a popular identity.[48]

The Germanic peoples during the Migrations Period came into contact with other peoples; in the case of the populations settling in the territory of modern Germany, they encountered Celts to the south, and Balts and Slavs towards the east. The Limes Germanicus was breached in AD 260. Migrating Germanic tribes commingled with the local Gallo-Roman populations in what is now Swabia and Bavaria. The arrival of the Huns in Europe resulted in Hun conquest of large parts of Eastern Europe, the Huns initially were allies of the Roman Empire who fought against Germanic tribes, but later the Huns cooperated with the Germanic tribe of the Ostrogoths, and large numbers of Germans lived within the lands of the Hunnic Empire of Attila.[49] Attila had both Hunnic and Germanic families and prominent Germanic chiefs amongst his close entourage in Europe.[49] The Huns living in Germanic territories in Eastern Europe adopted an East Germanic language as their lingua franca.[50] A major part of Attila's army were Germans, during the Huns' campaign against the Roman Empire.[51] After Attila's unexpected death the Hunnic Empire collapsed with the Huns disappearing as a people in Europe–who either escaped into Asia or otherwise blended in amongst Europeans.[52]

The migration-period peoples who later coalesced into a "German" ethnicity were the Germanic tribes of the Saxons, Franci, Thuringii, Alamanni and many of the Bavarii. These five tribes, sometimes with inclusion of the Frisians, are considered as the major groups to take part in the formation of the Germans.[citation needed] By the 9th century, the large tribes which lived on the territory of modern Germany had been united under the rule of the Frankish king Charlemagne, known in German as Karl der Große.[53][54][55][56] Much of what is now Eastern Germany became Slavonic-speaking (Sorbs and Veleti), after these areas were vacated by Germanic tribes (Vandals, Lombards, Burgundians, and Suebi amongst others) which had migrated into the former areas of the Roman Empire.

A German ethnicity emerged in the course of the Middle Ages, ultimately as a result of the formation of the Kingdom of Germany within East Francia and later the Holy Roman Empire, beginning in the 9th century. The process was gradual and lacked any clear definition, and the use of exonyms designating "the Germans" develops only during the High Middle Ages. The title of rex teutonicum "King of the Germans" is first used in the late 11th century, by the chancery of Pope Gregory VII, to describe the future Holy Roman Emperor of the German nation Henry IV.[57] Natively, the term diutscher (German) was used for the people of Germany beginning in the 12th century.

After Christianization, the Roman Catholic Church and local rulers led German expansion and settlement in areas inhabited by Slavs and Balts, known as Ostsiedlung. During the wars waged in the Baltic by the Catholic German Teutonic Knights; the lands inhabited by the ethnic group of the Old Prussians (known then simply as "Prussians"), were conquered by the Germans. The Old Prussians were an ethnic group related to the Latvian and Lithuanian Baltic peoples.[58] The former German state of Prussia took its name from the Baltic Prussians, although it was led by Germans who had assimilated the Old Prussians; the Old Prussian language was extinct by the 17th or early 18th century.[59] The Slavic people of the Teutonic-controlled Baltic were assimilated into German culture and eventually there were many intermarriages of Slavic and German families, including into Prussia's aristocracy known as the JunkersAfter Christianization, the Roman Catholic Church and local rulers led German expansion and settlement in areas inhabited by Slavs and Balts, known as Ostsiedlung. During the wars waged in the Baltic by the Catholic German Teutonic Knights; the lands inhabited by the ethnic group of the Old Prussians (known then simply as "Prussians"), were conquered by the Germans. The Old Prussians were an ethnic group related to the Latvian and Lithuanian Baltic peoples.[58] The former German state of Prussia took its name from the Baltic Prussians, although it was led by Germans who had assimilated the Old Prussians; the Old Prussian language was extinct by the 17th or early 18th century.[59] The Slavic people of the Teutonic-controlled Baltic were assimilated into German culture and eventually there were many intermarriages of Slavic and German families, including into Prussia's aristocracy known as the Junkers.[60] Prussian military strategist Karl von Clausewitz is a famous German whose surname is of Slavic origin.[60] Massive German settlement led to the assimilation of Baltic (Old Prussians) and Slavic (Wends) populations, who were exhausted by previous warfare.

At the same time, naval innovations led to a German domination of trade in the Baltic Sea and parts of Eastern Europe through the Hanseatic League. Along the trade routes, Hanseatic trade stations became centers of the German culture. German town law (Stadtrecht) was promoted by the presence of large, relatively wealthy German populations, their influence and political power. Thus people who would be considered "Germans", with a common culture, language, and worldview different from that of the surrounding rural peoples, colonized trading towns as far north of present-day Germany as Bergen (in Norway), Stockholm (in Sweden), and Vyborg (now in Russia). The Hanseatic League was not exclusively German in any ethnic sense: many towns who joined the league were outside the Holy Roman Empire and a number of them may only loosely be characterized as German. The Empire itself was not entirely German either. It had a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual structure, some of the smaller ethnicities existing and languages used at different times in certain areas were Dutch (also a West Germanic language which was similar to German dialects spoken to the east of it), Italian, French, Czech, and Polish.[61]

By the Middle Ages, large numbers of Jews lived in the Holy Roman Empire and had assimilated into German culture, including many Jews who had previously assimilated into French culture and had spoken a mixed Judeo-French language.[62] Upon assimilating into German culture, the Jewish German peoples incorporated major parts of the German language and elements of other European languages into a mixed language known as Yiddish.[62] However tolerance and assimilation of Jews in German society suddenly ended during the Crusades with many Jews being forcefully expelled from Germany and Western Yiddish disappeared as a language in Germany over the centuries, with German Jewish people fully adopting the German language.[62]

From the late 15th century, the Holy Roman Empire came to be known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. The Thirty Years' War, a series of conflicts fought mainly in the territory of modern Germany, weakened the coherence of the Holy Roman Empire, leading to the emergence of different, smaller German states known as Kleinstaaterei in 18th-century Germany.

The Napoleonic Wars were the cause of the final dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and ultimately the cause for the quest for a German nation state in 19th-century German nationalism. After the Congress of Vienna, Austria and Prussia emerged as two competitors within the German realm. Austria, trying to remain the dominant power in Central Europe, led the way in the terms of the Congress of Vienna. The Congress of Vienna was essentially conservative, assuring that little would change in Europe and preventing Germany from uniting.[63] These terms came to a sudden halt following the Napoleonic Wars were the cause of the final dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire, and ultimately the cause for the quest for a German nation state in 19th-century German nationalism. After the Congress of Vienna, Austria and Prussia emerged as two competitors within the German realm. Austria, trying to remain the dominant power in Central Europe, led the way in the terms of the Congress of Vienna. The Congress of Vienna was essentially conservative, assuring that little would change in Europe and preventing Germany from uniting.[63] These terms came to a sudden halt following the Revolutions of 1848 and the Crimean War in 1856, paving the way for the unification of most of Germany in the 1860s. By the 1820s, large numbers of Jewish German women had intermarried with Christian German men and had converted to Christianity.[64] Jewish German Eduard Lasker was a prominent German nationalist figure who promoted the unification of Germany in the mid-19th century.[65]

German nationalism became the sole focus of the German Question which was the question of how Germany was going to be best unified into a nation-state. The idea of unifying all German-speakers into one state was known as the Großdeutsche Lösung ("Greater German solution") and was propagated mostly by the Austrian Empire and the German Austrians. The other option, the Kleindeutsche Lösung ("Little German solution") only advocated unifying the northern German states without Austria and the German Austrians was supported predominantly in the Kingdom of Prussia.[66] The idea of including the Austrian Empire into a German nation-state was a problem because it included many non-German ethnic groups and many areas which had never been part of the Holy Roman Empire or the later German Federations and did not want to become part of a German nation-state.[67] In 1866, the feud between Austria and Prussia finally came to a head. In the final battle of the German war (Battle of Königgrätz) the Prussians defeated the Austrians and proceeded to create the North German Confederation with some south German states, including Austria, remaining independent.[68]

In 1870, after France attacked Prussia, Prussia and its new allies in Southern Germany (among them Bavaria but excluding Austria) were victorious in the Franco-Prussian War. Prussia created the German Empire in 1871 as a German nation-state, excluding the multi-ethnic Austrian Habsburg monarchy and Liechtenstein. Integrating the Austrian Germans, including Germans in the Czech Kingdom ruled by the Austrian Empire, into the German nation-state nevertheless remained a strong desire for many people of Germany and Austria, especially among the liberals, the social democrats and also the Catholics who were a minority within the Protestant Germany.

During the 19th century, rapid population growth due to lower death rates in Germany, combined with poverty, spurred millions of Germans to emigrate, chiefly to the United States. Today, roughly 17% of the United States' population (23% of the white population) is of mainly German ancestry.Franco-Prussian War. Prussia created the German Empire in 1871 as a German nation-state, excluding the multi-ethnic Austrian Habsburg monarchy and Liechtenstein. Integrating the Austrian Germans, including Germans in the Czech Kingdom ruled by the Austrian Empire, into the German nation-state nevertheless remained a strong desire for many people of Germany and Austria, especially among the liberals, the social democrats and also the Catholics who were a minority within the Protestant Germany.

During the 19th century, rapid population growth due to lower death rates in Germany, combined with poverty, spurred millions of Germans to emigrate, chiefly to the United States. Today, roughly 17% of the United States' population (23% of the white population) is of mainly German ancestry.[69][70][71]

The dissolution of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire after World War I led to a strong desire of the population of the new Republic of German Austria to be integrated into Germany or Switzerland.[72] This was, however, prevented by the Treaty of Saint Germain and the Treaty of Versailles.[73][74] In 1930, three years before the Nazi era, there were roughly 94 million people all over the world claiming German ancestry, or about 4.5% of the world population at the time.[75][76][note 5]

During the Third Reich, the Nazis, led by Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, attempted to unite all the people they claimed were "Germans" (Volksdeutsche) under the slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer ("One People, One Empire, One Leader"). This policy began in 1938 with Hitler's foreign policy Heim ins Reich ("back home to the Reich") which aimed to persuade all Germans living outside of the Reich to return "home" either as individuals or regions to a Greater Germany.[77] During World War II, Heinrich Himmler who was issued with the policy of "strengthening of ethnic Germandom" created a Volksliste ("German People's List") which was used to classify all those living in the German occupied territories into different categories according to criteria by Himmler.[78] The policy of uniting all Germans included ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe,[79] many of whom had emigrated more than one hundred fifty years before and developed separate cultures in their new lands. This idea was initially welcomed by many ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland with the Czech kingdom,[80] Austria,[81] Poland, Danzig and western Lithuania, particularly the Germans from Klaipeda (Memel). The Swiss resisted the idea. They had viewed themselves as a distinctly separate nation since the Peace of Westphalia of 1648.

After World War II, Eastern European countries such as the Soviet Union, Third Reich, the Nazis, led by Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, attempted to unite all the people they claimed were "Germans" (Volksdeutsche) under the slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer ("One People, One Empire, One Leader"). This policy began in 1938 with Hitler's foreign policy Heim ins Reich ("back home to the Reich") which aimed to persuade all Germans living outside of the Reich to return "home" either as individuals or regions to a Greater Germany.[77] During World War II, Heinrich Himmler who was issued with the policy of "strengthening of ethnic Germandom" created a Volksliste ("German People's List") which was used to classify all those living in the German occupied territories into different categories according to criteria by Himmler.[78] The policy of uniting all Germans included ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe,[79] many of whom had emigrated more than one hundred fifty years before and developed separate cultures in their new lands. This idea was initially welcomed by many ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland with the Czech kingdom,[80] Austria,[81] Poland, Danzig and western Lithuania, particularly the Germans from Klaipeda (Memel). The Swiss resisted the idea. They had viewed themselves as a distinctly separate nation since the Peace of Westphalia of 1648.

After World War II, Eastern European countries such as the Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia expelled the ethnic Germans from their territories. Many of those had inhabited these lands for centuries, developing a unique culture. Germans were also forced to leave the former eastern territories of Germany, which were annexed by Poland (Silesia, eastern Pomerania, parts of Brandenburg and the southern part of East Prussia) and the Soviet Union (northern part of East Prussia). Between 12 and 16.5 million ethnic Germans and German citizens were expelled westwards to allied-occupied Germany or Austria.

After World War II, Austrians increasingly saw themselves as a separate nation from the German nation. In 1966, 47% people in Austria viewed themselves as Austrians. In 1990, the number increased to 79%.[82] Recent polls show that no more than 6% of the German-speaking Austrians consider themselves as "Germans".[83] An Austrian identity was vastly emphasized along with the "first-victim of Nazism theory."[84] Today over 80 percent of the Austrians see themselves as an independent nation.[85]

Before the collapse of communism and the reunification of Germany in 1990, Germans constituted the largest divided nation in Europe by far.[86][87][note 6] Between 1950 and 1987, about 1.4 million ethnic Germans and their dependents, mostly from Poland and Romania, arrived in Germany under special provisions of right of return. With the collapse of the Iron Curtain since 1987, 3 million "Aussiedler" – ethnic Germans, mainly from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union – took advantage of Germany's law of return to leave the "land of their birth" for Germany.[88]

Approximately 2 million, just from the territories of the former Soviet Union

Approximately 2 million, just from the territories of the former Soviet Union, have resettled in Germany since the late 1980s.[89] On the other hand, significant numbers of ethnic Germans have moved from Germany to other European countries, especially Switzerland, the Netherlands, Britain, Spain, and Portugal.

In its State of World Population 2006 report, the United Nations Population Fund lists Germany with hosting the third-highest percentage of the main international migrants worldwide, about 5% or 10 million of all 191 million migrants.[90]

The native language of Germans is German, a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch, and sharing many similarities with the North Germanic and Scandinavian languages. Spoken by approximately 100 million native speakers,[91] German is one of the world's major languages and the most widely spoken first language in the European Union. German has been replaced by English as the dominant language of science-related Nobel Prize laureates during the second half of the 20th century.[92] It was a lingua franca in the Holy Roman Empire.

Dialects

Country German-speaking population (outside German-speaking countries)
 United States 5,000,000[96]
 Brazil 3,000,000[96]
 Russia 2,000,000[96]
 Argentina 500,000[96]
 Canada 450,000[96]–620,000[97]
 Italy 250,000[96]
 Hungary 220,000[96]
 Poland 148,000[98]
 Australia 110,000[96]
 Mexico 100,000 (Mennonites)[99]
 South Africa 75,000 (German expatriate citizens)[96]
 Sweden 72,000[100]
People of German origin are found in various places around the globe. United States is home to approximately 50 million German Americans or one third of the German diaspora, making it the largest centre of German-descended people outside Germany. Brazil is the second largest with 5 million people claiming German ancestry. Other significant centres are Canada, Argentina, South Africa and France each accounting for at least 1 million. While the exact number of German-descended people is difficult to calculate, the available data makes it safe to claim the number is exceeding 100 million people.[1]

Culture

Literature

Walk of Ideas, Berlin, a sculpture honoring Johannes Gutenberg and some of Germany's most influential writers

German literature can be traced back to the Middle Ages, with the most notable authors of the period being Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Nibelungenlied, whose author remains unknown, is also an important work of the epoch, as is the Thidrekssaga. The fairy tales collections collected and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century became famous throughout the world.

Theologian Luther, who translated the Bible into German, is widely credited for having set the basis for the modern "High German" language. Among the most admired German poets and authors are Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Hoffmann, Brecht, Heine, and Schmidt. Nine Germans have won the Nobel Prize in literature: Theodor Mommsen, Paul von Heyse, Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Nelly Sachs, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, and Herta Müller.

Philosophy

Germany's influence on philosophy is historically significant and many notable German philosophers have helped shape Western philosophy since the Middle Ages. The rise of the modern natural sciences and the related decline of religion raised a series of questions, which recur throughout German philosophy, concerning the relationships between knowledge and faith, reason and emotion, and scientific, ethical, and artistic ways of seeing the world.

German philosopher Immanuel Kant

German philosophers have helped shape western philosophy from as early as the Middle Ages (Albertus Magnus). Later, Leibniz (17th century) and most importantly Kant played central roles in the history of philosophy. Kantianism inspired the work of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as well as German idealism defended by Fichte and Hegel. Engels helped develop communist theory in the second half of the 19th century while Heidegger and Gadamer pursued the tradition of German philosophy in the 20th century. A number of German intellectuals were also influential in sociology, most notably Adorno, Habermas, Horkheimer, Luhmann, Simmel, Tönnies, and Weber. The University of Berlin founded in 1810 by linguist and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt served as an influential model for a number of modern western universities.

In the 21st century, Germany has been an important country for the development of contemporary analytic philosophy in continental Europe, along with France, Austria, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries.[104]

Science

Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg, who is credited with the invention of movable type printing in Europe; Middle Ages, with the most notable authors of the period being Walther von der Vogelweide and Wolfram von Eschenbach. The Nibelungenlied, whose author remains unknown, is also an important work of the epoch, as is the Thidrekssaga. The fairy tales collections collected and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century became famous throughout the world.

Theologian Luther, who translated the Bible into German, is widely credited for having set the basis for the modern "High German" language. Among the most admired German poets and authors are Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Hoffmann, Brecht, Heine, and Schmidt. Nine Germans have won the Nobel Prize in literature: Theodor Mommsen, Paul von Heyse, Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Nelly Sachs, Hermann Hesse, Luther, who translated the Bible into German, is widely credited for having set the basis for the modern "High German" language. Among the most admired German poets and authors are Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kleist, Hoffmann, Brecht, Heine, and Schmidt. Nine Germans have won the Nobel Prize in literature: Theodor Mommsen, Paul von Heyse, Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Nelly Sachs, Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, and Herta Müller.

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing of the Enlightenment.

  • Gerhart Hauptmann, a German dramatist and novelist who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1912.

  • Thomas Mann, a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate.

  • Günter Grass was a recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature.

  • Herta Müller, of Banat Swabian origin, was born into a German minority in Romania. She is the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature for her novel Atemschaukel.

  • Philosophy

    Germany's influence on philosophy is historically significant and many notable German philosophers have helped shape Western philosophy since the Middle Ages. The rise of the modern natural sciences and the related decline of religion raised a series of questions, which recur throughout German philosophy, concerning the relationships between knowledge and faith, reason and emotion, and scientific, ethical, a

    Germany's influence on philosophy is historically significant and many notable German philosophers have helped shape Western philosophy since the Middle Ages. The rise of the modern natural sciences and the related decline of religion raised a series of questions, which recur throughout German philosophy, concerning the relationships between knowledge and faith, reason and emotion, and scientific, ethical, and artistic ways of seeing the world.

    German philosophers have helped shape western philosophy from as early as the Middle Ages (Albertus Magnus). Later, Leibniz (17th century) and most importantly Kant played central roles in the history of philosophy. Kantianism inspired the work of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as well as German idealism defended by Fichte and Hegel. Engels helped develop communist theory in the second half of the 19th century while Heidegger and Gadamer pursued the tradition of German philosophy in the 20th century. A number of German intellectuals were also influential in sociology, most notably Adorno, Habermas, Horkheimer, Luhmann, Simmel, Tönnies, and Weber. The University of Berlin founded in 1810 by linguist and philosopher Wilhelm von Humboldt served as an influential model for a number of modern western universities.

    In the 21st century, Germany has been an important country for the development of contemporary analytic philosophy in continental Europe, along with France, Austria, Switzerland and the Scandinavian countries.[104]

    Science

    Germany has been the home of many famous inventors and engineers, such as Johannes Gutenberg, who is credited with the invention of movable type printing in Europe; Hans Geiger, the creator of the Geiger counter; and Konrad Zuse, who built the first electronic computer.[105] German inventors, engineers and industrialists such as Zeppelin, Daimler, Diesel, Otto, Wankel, Von Braun and Benz helped shape modern automotive and air transportation technology including the beginnings of space travel.[106][107]

    The work of David Hilbert, Max Planck and Albert Einstein was crucial to the foundation of modern physics, which Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger developed further.[108] They were preceded by such key physicists as Hermann von Helmholtz and Joseph von Fraunhofer, among others. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays, an accomplishment that made him the first winner of the David Hilbert, Max Planck and Albert Einstein was crucial to the foundation of modern physics, which Werner Heisenberg and Erwin Schrödinger developed further.[108] They were preceded by such key physicists as Hermann von Helmholtz and Joseph von Fraunhofer, among others. Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays, an accomplishment that made him the first winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.[109] The Walhalla temple for "laudable and distinguished Germans", features a number of scientists, and is located east of Regensburg, in Bavaria.[110][111]

    A statue commemorating Johannes Gutenberg for his invention of the first movable type; printing press.

  • The magnificent panorama of the metal interlinking in the bowels of the world's first computer c

    The magnificent panorama of the metal interlinking in the bowels of the world's first computer created by Konrad Zuse.

  • The Geiger counter, invented by Hans Geiger, is a type of par

    The Geiger counter, invented by Hans Geiger, is a type of particle detector that measures ionizing radiation.

  • Music

    In the field of music, Germany (including Austria up until the 1860s) claims some of the most renowned classical composers of the world including Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, who marked the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music. Other composers of the Austro-German tradition who achieved international fame include Brahms, Wagner, Haydn, Schubert, Händel, Schumann, Liszt, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Johann Strauss II, Bruckner, Mahler, Telemann, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Orff, and most recently, Henze, Lachenmann, and Stockhausen.

    As of 2008, Germany is the fourth largest music market in the world[112] and has exerted a strong influence on Dance and Rock music, and pioneered trance music. Artists such as Herbert Grönemeyer, Scorpions, Rammstein, Nena, Dieter Bohlen, Tokio Hotel and Modern Talking have enjoyed international fame. German mus

    As of 2008, Germany is the fourth largest music market in the world[112] and has exerted a strong influence on Dance and Rock music, and pioneered trance music. Artists such as Herbert Grönemeyer, Scorpions, Rammstein, Nena, Dieter Bohlen, Tokio Hotel and Modern Talking have enjoyed international fame. German musicians and, particularly, the pioneering bands Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk have also contributed to the development of electronic music.[113] Germany hosts many large rock music festivals annually. The Rock am Ring festival is the largest music festival in Germany, and among the largest in the world. German artists also make up a large percentage of Industrial music acts, which is called Neue Deutsche Härte. Germany hosts some of the largest Goth scenes and festivals in the entire world, with events like Wave-Gothic-Treffen and M'era Luna Festival easily attracting up to 30,000 people. Amongst Germany's famous artists there are various Dutch entertainers, such as Johannes Heesters.[114]

    Richard Strauss is considered a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras.

  • Richard Wagner greatly influenced the development of classical music; his Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music.

  • Richard Wagner greatly influenced the development of classical music; his Tristan und Isolde is sometimes described as marking the start of modern music.

  • Nena, a singer and actress, who brought Neue Deutsche Welle to international attention with her song 99 Luftballons.

  • Modern Talking, a synthpop duo consisting of Thomas Anders and Dieter Boh

    Modern Talking, a synthpop duo consisting of Thomas Anders and Dieter Bohlen, became one of the most successful German acts in the 1980s.

  • Cinema

    Max Skladanowsky. It was particularly influential during the years of the Weimar Republic with German expressionists such as Robert Wiene and Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau. The Nazi era produced mostly propaganda films although the work of Leni Riefenstahl still introduced new aesthetics in film. From the 1960s, New German Cinema directors such as Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Rainer Werner Fassbinder placed West-German cinema back onto the international stage with their often provocative films, while the DEFA film studio controlled film production in the GDR.

    More recently, films such as Das Boot (1981), The Never Ending Story (1984) Run Lola Run (1998), Das Experiment (2001), Good Bye Lenin! (2003), Gegen die Wand (Head-on) (2004) and Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004) have enjoyed international success. In 2002 the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film went to Caroline Link's Nowhere in Africa, and in 2007 to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others. The Das Boot (1981), The Never Ending Story (1984) Run Lola Run (1998), Das Experiment (2001), Good Bye Lenin! (2003), Gegen die Wand (Head-on) (2004) and Der Untergang (Downfall) (2004) have enjoyed international success. In 2002 the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film went to Caroline Link's Nowhere in Africa, and in 2007 to Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's The Lives of Others. The Berlin International Film Festival, held yearly since 1951, is one of the world's foremost film and cinema festivals.[115]

    A sign advertising the Berlin International Film Festival

  • A poster for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari directed by Robert Wiene

  • Architectur

    A poster for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari directed by Robert Wiene

    Architecture

    Architectural contributions from Germany include the Carolingian and Ottonian styles, important precursors of Romanesque. The region then produced significant works in styles such as the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.

    The nation was particularly important in the early modern movement through the Deutscher Werkbund and the Bauhaus movement identified with Walter Gropius. The Nazis closed these movements and favoured a type of neo-classicism. Since World War II, further important modern and post-modern structures have been built, particularly since the reunification of Berlin.

    Bauhaus

    Religion

    Reformation changed this drastically. In 1517, Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church as he saw it as a corruption of Christian faith. Through this, he altered the course of European and world history and established Protestantism.[116] The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history. The war was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most of the countries of Europe. The war was fought largely as a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire.[117]

    According to the latest nationwide census, Roman Catholics constituted 29.5% of the total population of Germany, followed by the Evangelical Protestants at 27.9%. Other Christian denominations, other religions, atheists or not specified constituted 42.6% of the population at the time. Among "others" are Protestants not included in Evangelical Church of Germany, and other Christians such as the Restorationist New Apostolic Church. Protestantism was more common among the citizens of Germany.[118] The North and East Germany is predominantly Protestant, the South and West rather Catholic. Nowadays there is a non-religious majority in Hamburg and the East German states.the latest nationwide census, Roman Catholics constituted 29.5% of the total population of Germany, followed by the Evangelical Protestants at 27.9%. Other Christian denominations, other religions, atheists or not specified constituted 42.6% of the population at the time. Among "others" are Protestants not included in Evangelical Church of Germany, and other Christians such as the Restorationist New Apostolic Church. Protestantism was more common among the citizens of Germany.[118] The North and East Germany is predominantly Protestant, the South and West rather Catholic. Nowadays there is a non-religious majority in Hamburg and the East German states.[119]

    Historically, Germany had a substantial Jewish minority. Only a few thousand people of Jewish origin remained in Germany after the Holocaust, but the German Jewish community now has approximately 100,000 members, many from the former Soviet Union. Germany also has a substantial Muslim minority, most of whom are immigrants from Turkey.

    German theologians include Luther, Melanchthon, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, and Rudolf Otto. Also Germany brought up many mystics including Meister Eckhart, Rudolf Steiner, Jakob Boehme, and some popes (e.g. Benedict XVI).

    The Meister Eckhart portal of the Erfurt Church

  • Religion in the Holy Roman Empire on the eve of the Thirty Years' War

  • Sport forms an integral part of German life, as demonstrated by the fact that 27 million Germans are members of a sports club and an additional twelve million pursue such an activity individually.[120] Football is by far the most popular sport, and the German Football Federation (Deutscher Fußballbund) with more than 6.3 million members is the largest athletic organisation in the country.[120] It also attracts the greatest audience, with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending Bundesliga matches and millions more watching on television.

    Other popular sports include Field hockey, handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, and Winter sports.[120] Historically, German sportsmen have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games, ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count, combining East and West German medals. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Germany finished sixth overall, whereas in the 2010 Winter Olympics Germany finished second.

    There are also many Germans in the American Other popular sports include Field hockey, handball, volleyball, basketball, ice hockey, and Winter sports.[120] Historically, German sportsmen have been successful contenders in the Olympic Games, ranking third in an all-time Olympic Games medal count, combining East and West German medals. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Germany finished sixth overall, whereas in the 2010 Winter Olympics Germany finished second.

    There are also many Germans in the American NBA. In 2011, Dirk Nowitzki won his first NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks by upsetting the Miami Heat. He was also named that year's NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

    Berlin Marathon

  • Michael Schumacher has claimed 91 race victories and 7 championships in his F1 career.

  • Dirk Nowitzki (in green), Dallas Mavericks power forward, 2011 NBA Champion and Finals MVP

  • Society

    Dallas Mavericks power forward, 2011 NBA Champion and Finals MVP

    Society

    [121] The country has established a high level of gender equality, promotes disability rights, and is legally and socially tolerant towards homosexuals. Gays and lesbians can legally adopt their partner's biological children, and civil unions have been permitted since 2001.[122] Former Foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and the former mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, are openly gay.[123]

    During the last decade of the 20th century, Germany changed its attitude towards immigrants. Until the mid-1990s the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration, even though about 20% of the population were of non-German origin. Today the government and a majority of the German society are acknowledging that immigrants from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds are part of the German society and that controlled immigration should be initiated based on qualification standards.[124]

    Since the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the internal and external evaluation of Germany's national image has changed.[125] In the annual Nation Brands Index global survey, Germany became significantly and repeatedly more highly ranked after the tournament. People in 20 different states assessed the country's reputation in terms of culture, politics, exports, its people and its attractiveness to tourists, immigrants and

    During the last decade of the 20th century, Germany changed its attitude towards immigrants. Until the mid-1990s the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration, even though about 20% of the population were of non-German origin. Today the government and a majority of the German society are acknowledging that immigrants from diverse ethnocultural backgrounds are part of the German society and that controlled immigration should be initiated based on qualification standards.[124]

    Since the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the internal and external evaluation of Germany's national image has changed.[125] In the annual Nation Brands Index global survey, Germany became significantly and repeatedly more highly ranked after the tournament. People in 20 different states assessed the country's reputation in terms of culture, politics, exports, its people and its attractiveness to tourists, immigrants and investments. Germany has been named the world's second most valued nation among 50 countries in 2010.[126] Another global opinion poll, for the BBC, revealed that Germany is recognised for the most positive influence in the world in 2010. A majority of 59% have a positive view of the country, while 14% have a negative view.[127][128]

    With an expenditure of €67 billion on international travel in 2008, Germans spent more money on travel than any other country. The most visited destinations were Spain, Italy and Austria.[129]

    German females in the German tracht national costumes of the time of Biedermeier

  • A map of Holy Roman Empire in 1400, reflecting the German society's regional diversity

  • A map of Holy Roman Empire in 1400, reflecting the German society's regional diversity