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Note: Germany was a collection of competing states until it was unified during the second half of the nineteenth century under the leadership of Otto von Bismarck.
Note: Germany's industrial, colonial, and naval expansion was considered a threat by the British and French and was one of the main causes of World War I, in which Germany was badly defeated.
Note: After the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, Germany was divided into four zones occupied by British, French, Soviet, and American forces.
Note: Since reunification Germany has become Europe's leading economic power. (See East Germany and West Germany under “World History since 1550.”)