Generally known as unification of Germany: In 1871, German Emperor announced establishment of German Empire at Palace of Versailles in Paris, marking unification of Germany. In 1990, Federal Republic of Germany and Democratic Republic of Germany merged, marking unification of two Germanys. But is Germany really united? The answer is no, Germany has experienced more than 800 years of separation, and time for real reunification is no more than 10 years.Neither holy, nor Roman, nor first empire of empire
In 843, three descendants of Charlemagne from Frankish kingdom, Lothair I, Louis German and Charles Bald, signed Treaty of Verdun, which divided Frankish kingdom into three parts. Louis German got lands in east of empire, so they were called "East Frankish Kingdom". In 870, Louis and Charles Bald signed Treaty of Melson, which divided lands in north of Middle Frankish kingdom and established prototype of territory of Germany, France and Italy.
In 911 King "Louis Child" of East Francia died without an heir, and Conrad I, Duke of Franks was elected king, beginning Kingdom of Germany. In 962, Otto I was crowned emperor by pope and Kingdom of Germany was named "Holy Roman Empire of German Nation" and this empire was also known as the First German Empire.
Holy Rome was large and in 12th century included Germany, Austria, northern and central Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, eastern France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. But his protracted wars exhausted country. From 1254 to 1273, civil strife took place in Germany, and Italy got out of control. In 1356, Charles IV issued Edict of Golden Seal, confirming that emperor was to be elected by seven electors. From that point on, feudal princes took control of power of appointing emperor, and centralization of power collapsed. That is why Voltaire later said that it was “neither holy, nor Roman, nor empire.”Greater Germany and Little Germany
From 15th century, Austrian Habsburg family became powerful and began to monopolize German throne. When Habsburg dynasty was strong, it occupied half of lands in Western Europe, including Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, etc., but division within Germany did not end there.
In 1512, Principality of Prussia was founded in northern Germany, which became second center of Germany. In 1660, Friedrich Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg established a centralized system. In 1701 Frederick III was crowned King of Prussia. After Frederick II ascended throne, he continued to expand and partition Poland.
The Great Revolution of 18th century shook all of Europe, and Austria and Prussia joined anti-French alliance. They suffered a major defeat in war: Prussia was forced to cede 160,000 square kilometers of land to France, Holy Roman Empire collapsed. Only in 1815, when they defeated Napoleon, did both Austria and Prussia enter ranks of great European powers.
But nationalism is on rise in Germany, and all Germans want reunification. Goethe said: “There is not a single city, not even a place where we can firmly state that this is Germany. If we ask this question in Vienna, answer will be: this is Austria; if we ask this question in Berlin, answer is: Here is Germany. Prussia. Where is Germany? This is a historical question that torments every heart of Germany."
To hasten unification of Germany, Prussia and Austria put forward different plans. Austria proposes a "Greater Germany" plan that unites Austria and German Empire. Prussia assumed that it could not become master of Germany and proposed a "Little Germany" plan to exclude Austria. In 1866, Prussian-Austrian War broke out, Austria was defeated and expelled from Germany, and "Little Germany" plan won. Austria then formed Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1871, Prussia won Franco-Prussian War and proclaimed German Empire. But Germany was not fully unified because Austria was forced out.Brief true unification of Germany
After First World War, German Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire fell apart and their territory was greatly reduced. France, Poland, etc., wanted to weaken Germany in past, and Germany fell into a serious crisis. During Great Depression, German economy suffered another severe blow.
At that time there was only one Hitler in Germany. He was born in Austria and his dream was German domination. In 1933 he became head of Germany. Under Hitler's leadership, Germany quickly regained its vitality, and soon its industrial output was ranked first in Western Europe, and a national highway system was established.
But Hitler's ultimate goal was domination. He broke through restrictions of Versailles system and re-established a powerful German military system. In 1938, Germany allied itself with Austria on basis that "Austria and Germany originally had same national blood." Germany has since been renamed Greater German Empire, known in history as Third Reich.
In 1939, Germany annexed Sudetenland to Czechoslovakia at Munich Conference, effectively bringing about unification of Germany. At this time, both Britain and France believed that Hitler should stop. But Hitler's goal was to dominate world, so he soon unleashed Second World War. If Hitler had stopped after Munich, he would have made Germany stronger than ever.
In 1945, Germany was defeated and Germany was divided. This division was not unified until 1990. But newly unified Germany is not very big, and lands in east were allocated to Poland by Soviet Union. Austria, left over from history, remains a fully sovereign country. Therefore, we can say that Germany, in principle, has not been united since 13th century.