|East Germany See also West Germany German name: Deutschland, Official name: Federal Republic of Germany a country in central Europe: in the Middle Ages the centre of the Holy Roman Empire; dissolved into numerous principalities; united under the leadership of Prussia in 1871 after the Franco-Prussian War; became a republic with reduced size in 1919 after being defeated in World War I; under the dictatorship of Hitler from 1933 to 1945; defeated in World War II and divided by the Allied Powers into four zones, which became established as East and West Germany in the late 1940s; reunified in 1990: a member of the European Union. It is flat and low-lying in the north with plateaus and uplands (including the Black Forest and the Bavarian Alps) in the centre and south. Official language: German. Religion: Christianity, Protestant majority. Currency: euro. Capital: Berlin. Pop: 82 526 000 (2004 est). Area: 357 041 sq km (137 825 sq miles)Related: Teutonic|
|an arrangement of five objects, as trees, in a square or rectangle, one at each corner and one in the middle.|
|a printed punctuation mark (‽), available only in some typefaces, designed to combine the question mark (?) and the exclamation point (!), indicating a mixture of query and interjection, as after a rhetorical question.|
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.”)