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Encyclopedia > German people
A stereotypical German
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A stereotypical German

The Germans (German: die Deutschen), or the German people, are a nation in the meaning an ethnos (in German: Volk), defined more by a sense of sharing a common German culture and having a German mother tongue, than by citizenship or by being subjects to any particular country. In the world today, approximately 100 millions have German as their mother tongue. If a distinction is made between Germans and Ethnic Germans, the latter are distinguished by living outside of the Federal Republic of Germany and not holding German citizenship. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (700x963, 80 KB)German Self Portrait File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (700x963, 80 KB)German Self Portrait File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... For publications of this name, see also Nation (disambiguation) The most popular modern ethical and philosophical doctrines state that all humans are divided into groups called nations. ... An ethnic group is a group of people who identify with one another, or are so identified by others, on the basis of a boundary that distinguishes them from other groups. ... Volk is a German language word meaning people or folk. ... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a significant German poet This article is about the culture of the German people. ... First language (native language, mother tongue, or vernacular) is the language a person learns first. ... Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city but now usually a state), and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen. ... A country, a land, is a geographical area that connotes an independent political entity, with its own government, administration, laws, often a constitution, police, military, tax rules, and population, who are one anothers countrymen. ... Ethnic Germans (usually simply called Germans, in German Volksdeutsche) are those who are considered, by themselves or others, to be ethnically German rather than anything else but who do not live within the Federal Republic of Germany nor hold its citizenship. ... Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city but now usually a state), and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen. ...


The concept of who is a German has varied. Until the 19th century, it denoted the speakers of German, and was a much more distinct concept than that of Germany, the land of the Germans. The Dutch and the Swiss had already split off and shaped separate national identities. Swiss Germans, however, retained their cultural identity as German, albeit as a specific German subculture. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... This article may be too technical for most readers to understand. ...


In the 19th century, after the Napoleonic Wars and the fall of the Holy Roman Empire (of the German nation), Austria and Prussia would emerge as two opposite poles in Germany, trying to re-establish the divided German nation. In 1870, Prussia attracted even Bavaria in the Franco-Prussian War and the creation of the German Empire as a German nation-state, effectively excluding the multi-ethnic Austrian Habsburg monarchy. From this time on, the connotation of Germans came to shift gradually from "speakers of the German language" to "Imperial Germans." The Napoleonic Wars was a series of wars fought during Napoleon Bonapartes rule of France. ... The crown of the Holy Roman Empire (2nd half of the 10th century), now held in the Vienna Schatzkammer. ... The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 The word Prussia (German: Preußen or Preussen, Polish: Prusy, Lithuanian: Prūsai, Latin: Borussia) has had various (often contradictory) meanings: The land of the Baltic Prussians (in what is now parts of southern Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave of... 1870 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... With an area of (27,241 square miles) and 12. ... The Franco-Prussian War (July 19, 1870 – May 10, 1871) was fought between France and Prussia (backed by the North German Confederation) allied with the south German states of Baden, Bavaria and Württemberg. ... The term German Empire (Deutsches Reich) commonly refers to Germany, from its consolidation as a unified nation-state on January 18, 1871, until the abdication of Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II on November 9, 1918. ... The term nation-state, while often used interchangeably with the terms unitary state and independent state, refers properly to the parallel occurence of a state and a nation. ... Habsburg (sometimes spelled Hapsburg, but never so in official use) was one of the major ruling houses of Europe. ... Imperial Germans is the common translation of the German word Reichsdeutsche (adj. ...

Germans
Total population: c. 155 million (2005)
Significant populations in: Germany:
   75,500,000

United States:
   60,000,000
Austria:
   7,250,000
Switzerland:
   4,700,000
Canada:
   2,750,000
Brazil:
   2,000,000
The former Soviet Union:
   1,000,000
Australia:
   750,000
Hungary:
   300,000
Namibia:
   150,000
Poland:
   150,000
Romania:
   100,000

Language: German, English
Religion: Christianity, Other, None
Related ethnic groups: other Germanic peoples

Before World War II, most Austrians considered themselves German and denied the existence of a distinct Austrian ethnic identity. It was only after the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II that this began to change. After the world war, the Austrians increasingly saw themselves as a nation distinct from the other German-speaking areas of Europe, and today, polls indicate that no more than ten percent of the German-speaking Austrians see themselves as part of a larger German nation linked by blood or language. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament writings of his early followers. ... Germanic peoples are ethnic groups of Germanic origin, the linguistic, cultural, and racial descendants of the old Germanic tribes. ... World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrinations, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons like the atom bomb. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ...


Ethnic Germans form an important minority group in several countries in central and eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Romania) as well as in Namibia and in southern Brazil. Until the 1990s two million Ethnic Germans lived throughout the former Soviet Union, especially in Russia and Kazakhstan. In the United States, 60 million people are fully or partly of German ancestry, forming the largest single ethnic group in the country. Most Americans of German descent live in the Mid-Atlantic states (especially Pennsylvania) and the northern Midwest (especially in Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and eastern Missouri.) Ethnic Germans (usually simply called Germans, in German Volksdeutsche) are those who are considered, by themselves or others, to be ethnically German rather than anything else but who do not live within the Federal Republic of Germany nor hold its citizenship. ... Historical lands and provinces in Central Europe Central Europe is the region lying between the variously and vaguely defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe. ... Pre-1989 division between the West (grey) and Eastern Bloc (orange) superimposed on current national boundaries: Russia (dark orange), other countries of the former USSR (medium orange) and other former communist regimes (light orange). ... Mid-Atlantic English describes a version of the English language which is neither predominantly American or British in usage. ... State nickname: The Keystone State Other U.S. States Capital Harrisburg Largest city Philadelphia Governor Ed Rendell (D) Official languages None Area 119,283 km² (33rd)  - Land 116,074 km²  - Water 3,208 km² (2. ... The Midwest is a common name for a region of the United States of America. ... State nickname: North Star State Other U.S. States Capital Saint Paul Largest city Minneapolis Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) Official languages None Area 225,365 km² (12th)  - Land 206,375 km²  - Water 18,990 km² (8. ... State nickname: The Buckeye State Other U.S. States Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Governor Bob Taft (R) Official languages None Area 116,096 km² (34th)  - Land 106,154 km²  - Water 10,044 km² (8. ... State nickname: Badger State State motto: Forward Other U.S. States Capital Madison Largest city Milwaukee Governor Jim Doyle (D) Official languages None Area 169,790 km² (23rd)  - Land 140,787 km²  - Water 28,006 km² (17%) Population (2000)  - Population 5,453,896 (18th)  - Density 38. ... State nickname: Land of Lincoln, The Prairie State Other U.S. States Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) Official languages English Area 149,998 km² (25th)  - Land 143,968 km²  - Water 6,030 km² (4. ... Missouri, named after the Missouri Siouan Indian tribe meaning canoe, is a Midwestern state in the United States with Jefferson City as its capital. ...

Contents


History

The Germans are a Germanic people. Ethnographers hypothesize that all Germanic speakers originially came from Scandinavia, which includes Jutland and the southwest shores of the Baltic Sea before the Migrations Period. Their Indo-European ancestors may before that have migrated slowly from the Black Sea region, and arrived in southern Scandinavia. Assimilation with other peoples is postulated, both with the prior inhabitants of Scandinavia and with peoples encountered on their way from Asia. Then Celtic peoples were either assimilated, exterminated, or driven out during the expansion southwards from the Baltic. The term Germanic peoples may refer to: the Germanic tribes that in the first millennium were seen as a barbarian threat by the Roman Empire and its successors; the Germanic Christianity that in the second millennium came to dominate much of Northern Europe, politically organized in the Holy Roman Empire... Jutland Peninsula Jutland (Danish: Jylland, German: Jütland) is a peninsula in northern Europe that forms the mainland part of Denmark and a northern part of Germany, dividing the North Sea from the Baltic Sea. ... The Baltic Sea is located in Northern Europe, bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainlands of Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and the Danish islands. ... The German term Völkerwanderung (lit. ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies Indo-European is originally a linguistic term, referring to the Indo-European language family. ... Map of the Black Sea. ... Scandinavia, Fennoscandia, and the Kola Peninsula. ... Assimilation, from Latin assimilatio meaning to render similar, is used to describe various phenomena: The process of assimilating new ideas into a schema (cognitive structure). ... World map showing location of Asia Asia is the central and eastern part of the continent of Eurasia, defined by subtracting the European peninsula from Eurasia. ... This article is about the European people. ...


Background

After the Migrations Period, Slavonics expanded westwards at the same time as Germans expanded eastwards. The result was German colonization as far East as in Romania and Slavonic colonization as far west as to present-day Lübeck, at the Baltic Sea, Hamburg (connected to the North Sea) and along the rivers ElbeSaale further South. After Christianization, the superior organization of the Catholic Church lent the upper hand for a German expansion at the expense of the Slavs, giving the medieval Drang nach Osten as a result. At the same time, naval innovations led to a German domination of trade in the Baltics and Central–Eastern Europe through the Hanseatic League. Along the trade routes, Hanseatic trade stations became centers of Germanness where German urban law (Stadtrecht) was promoted by the presence of large, relatively wealthy German populations and their influence on the worldly powers. The German term Völkerwanderung (lit. ... The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Colonialism. ... Statistics State: Schleswig-Holstein District: Independent city Area: 214. ... The Baltic Sea is located in Northern Europe, bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainlands of Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and the Danish islands. ... Position of Hamburg in Germany Hamburgs central broadway Jungfernstieg at the Alster lake, between 1900 and 1914 This article is about the city in Germany. ... The North Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between the coasts of Norway and Denmark in the east, the coast of the British Isles in the west, and the German, Dutch, Belgian and French coasts in the south. ... The Elbe River (Czech Labe   listen?, Sorbian/Lusatian Łobjo, Polish Łaba, German Elbe, Hungarian Elba) is one of the major waterways of central Europe. ... Saale is the name of two rivers in Germany: the Saxonian Saale (German: Sächsische Saale) and the Franconian Saale (German: Fränkische Saale). ... St Francis Xavier converting the Paravas: a 19th-century image of the docile heathen The historical phenomenon of Christianization, the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire peoples at once (a political shift as much as a spontaneous mass shift in individual consciences), also includes the practice... The Roman Catholic Church believes its founding was based on Jesus appointment of Saint Peter as the primary church leader, later Bishop of Rome. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... Drang nach Osten (Striving towards the East) is a term used in Germanys history that means the expansion of Germany, German states and German settlement, that led to the conquest of former Slavic and Baltic areas by Germany commencing during the Middle Ages until the end of World War... The Hanseatic League (German: die Hanse) was an alliance of trading cities that established and maintained a trade monopoly over most of Northern Europe and the Baltic for a time in the later Middle Ages and the Early Modern period (ie between the 13th and 17th century). ...


Thus people whom we today often consider "Germans", with a common culture and worldview very different from that of the surrounding rural peoples, colonized as far north of present-day Germany as Bergen (in Norway), Stockholm (in Sweden), and Vyborg (now in Russia). At the same time, it's important to note that the Hanseatic League was not exclusively German in any ethnic sense. Many towns who joined the league were outside of the Holy Roman Empire, and some of them ought not at all be characterized as German. A world view, also spelled as worldview is a term calqued from the German word Weltanschauung (look onto the world). The German word is also in wide use in English, as well as the translated form world outlook. ... Rural areas are sparsely settled places away from the influence of large cities and towns. ... County Hordaland Landscape Midhordland Municipality NO-1201 Administrative centre Bergen Mayor (2004) Herman Friele (H) Official language form Neutral Area  - Total  - Land  - Percentage Ranked 215 465 km² 445 km² 0. ...   Stockholm? is the capital and the largest city in Sweden. ... Vyborg from the tower of the castle Vyborg (transcription of Russian Выборг) is a town with 70,000 inhabitants at Russias border to Finland, on the Karelian Isthmus, close to Saint Petersburg. ...


Also the "German" Holy Roman Empire was not in any way exclusively German, and its course became much different than that of France or Great Britain. The Thirty Years War confirmed its dissolution; the Napoleonic Wars gave it its coup de grâce. This page is about the Germanic empire. ... The victory of Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631) The Thirty Years War was a conflict fought between the years 1618 and 1648, principally in the central European territory of the Holy Roman Empire, but also involving most of the major continental powers. ... The Napoleonic Wars was a series of wars fought during Napoleon Bonapartes rule of France. ...


Ethnic nationalism

The reaction evoced in the decades after the Napoleonic Wars was a strong ethnic nationalism that emphasized, and sometimes overemphasized, the cultural bond between Germans. Later alloyed with the high standing and world-wide influence of German science at the end of the 19th century, and to some degree enhanced by Bismarck's military successes and the following 40 years of almost perpetual economic boom (the Gründerzeit), it gave the Germans an impression of cultural supremacy, particularly compared to the Slavs. Ethnic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives political legitimacy from historical cultural or hereditary groupings (ethnicities); the underlying assumption is that ethnicities should be politically distinct. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Alternate meanings: See Bismarck (disambiguation). ... The Gründerzeit (German, literally: the Founding Epoch) denotes the first decades after the foundation in 1871 of the Prussia-led German Empire. ... The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ...


The Divided Germany

The idea that Germany is a divided nation is not new and not peculiar. Compared to the neighbors France, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark it was obvious and true. Since the Peace of Westphalia, Germany has been "one nation split in many countries". The AustrianPrussian split, confirmed when Austria remained outside of the 1871 created Imperial Germany, was only the most prominent example. Most recently, the division between East Germany and West Germany kept the idea at life. The Ratification of the Treaty of Münster by Gerard Terborch (1648) Banquet of the Amsterdam Civic Guard in Celebration of the Peace of Münster by Bartholomeus van der Helst, 1648 The Peace of Westphalia, also known as the treaties of Münster and Osnabrück, is the series... The coat of arms of the Kingdom of Prussia, 1701-1918 The word Prussia (German: Preußen or Preussen, Polish: Prusy, Lithuanian: Prūsai, Latin: Borussia) has had various (often contradictory) meanings: The land of the Baltic Prussians (in what is now parts of southern Lithuania, the Kaliningrad exclave of... 1871 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... This article or section should include material from German Monarchy The term German Empire (the translation from German of Deutsches Reich) commonly refers to Germany, from its consolidation as a unified nation-state on January 18, 1871, until the abdication of Kaiser (Emperor) Wilhelm II on November 9, 1918. ... East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR), German Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR), was a communist state that existed from 1949 to 1990 in the former Soviet occupation zone of Germany. ...


The beginnings of the divided Germany may be traced back much further; to a Roman occupied Germania in the west and to Free Germania in the east. Starkly different ideologies have many times been developed due to conquerors and occupiers of sections of Germany. Poets talked of Zwei Herzen in einer Seele (Two hearts in one soul). The Roman Empire is the term conventionally used to describe the Ancient Roman polity in the centuries following its reorganization under the leadership of Octavian (better known as Caesar Augustus). ... Germania - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...


The thought of a weak split nation gave birth to the idea of the advantage by unification. With Prince Bismarck as the great example, the Nazis went all the way and wanted to unite "all Germans" in one realm, which met a certain resistance among the Flemish and the Austrians, and much more so among the Swiss and the Dutch, who mostly were perfectly content with their perception of separate nations established in 1648. The Nazi party used a right-facing swastika as their symbol and the red and black colors were said to represent Blut und Boden (blood and soil). ... Flemish (in Dutch, Vlaams) can either refer to Anything belonging to Flanders (the Flemish nation) or to its inhabitants, the Flemings. ... // Events Peace treaty signed at Westphalia ends the Thirty Years War. ...


Religion

Protestant Reformation started in the German culture, and Germans are both Protestants and Catholics. The late 19th century saw a strong movement among the Jewry in Germany and Austria to assimilate and define themselves as à priori Germans, i.e. as Germans of Jewish faith. In Conservative circles, this was not always quite appreciated, and for the Nazis it was an anathema. After the Nazi rule led to the annihilation of all domestic Jews, the controversy today is over the Gastarbeiter and later arrived refugees from ex-Yugoslavia, who often are Muslims. The Protestant Reformation was a movement which emerged in the 16th century as a series of attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The word Jew (Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity; and often a combination of these attributes. ... Assimilation, from Latin assimilatio meaning to render similar, is used to describe various phenomena: The process of assimilating new ideas into a schema (cognitive structure). ... Judaism is the religious culture of the Jewish people. ... A German word that literally means Guest Worker, this term refers to people who have moved to Germany for jobs since the end of World War II; most of these guest-workers came from Turkey, Greece, Italy, or that general area of the World. ... Yugoslavia (Jugoslavija in all south Slavic languages) is a term used for three separate but successive political entities that existed during most of the 20th century on the Balkan Peninsula in Europe. ... A Muslim (Arabic: مسلم) is a believer in or follower of Islam. ...


In recent years, the German-speaking countries of Europe have been confronted with demographic changes due to decades of immigration. These changes have lead to renewed debates (especially in the Federal Republic of Germany) about who should be considered German. Non-ethnic Germans now make up more than 8 percent of the German population, mostly the descendants of guest workers who arrived in the 1960s and 1970s. Turks, Italians, Greeks, and people from the Balkans in southeast Europe form the largest single groups of non-ethnic Germans in the country. Germany is now also home to thousands of non-white and racially-mixed people as well. While most ethnic minorities in the country remain non-citizens, thousands have gained German passports. The majority of Germans maintain the view that an individual needs to have at least one ethnic German parent to be considered "German"; this view allows some visible minorities to be considered German, especially children of mixed heritage. Recent changes in citizenship laws and the increased visibility of ethnic minorities would seem to indicate that the concept of who is a German is slowly moving away from one that centered on ethnicity and heritage (jus sanguinis) to a concept based more on nationality, citizenship, and cultural identification (jus soli), although the term Germans in Germany of today often is used specifically to exclude immigrants. The 1960s, or The Sixties, in its most obvious sense refers to the decade between 1960 and 1969, but the expression has taken on a wider meaning over the past twenty years. ... This article provides extensive lists of events and significant personalities of the 1970s. ... The Balkans is the historic and geographic name used to describe southeastern Europe (see the Definitions and boundaries section below). ... The Balkans is the historic and geographic name used to describe southeastern Europe (see the Definitions and boundaries section below). ... Jus sanguinis (Latin for right of blood) is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognised to any individual born to a parent who is a national or citizen of that state. ... Nationality is, in English usage, a legal relationship existing between a person and a state. ... Citizenship is membership in a political community (originally a city but now usually a state), and carries with it rights to political participation; a person having such membership is a citizen. ... Jus soli (Latin for right of the territory) is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognised to any individual born in the territory of the related state. ...


Jus sanguinis still has a strong position in German law, but in the public debate it's increasingly argued support for jus soli along the line that immigrant-children are no immigrants themselves, why they should be considered Germans of equal rights and value as other Germans. Hence a growing number of Germans are of Muslim faith. Jus sanguinis (Latin for right of blood) is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognised to any individual born to a parent who is a national or citizen of that state. ... Jus soli (Latin for right of the territory) is a right by which nationality or citizenship can be recognised to any individual born in the territory of the related state. ... Immigration is the act of moving to or settling in another country or region, temporarily or permanently. ...


Conclusion

Historical persons like Kafka and Copernicus might be called Germans, or might not. Some would hold that they belong to the German culture, which is what decides if someone is considered a German or not, at least in certain contexts. Similarly, Händel, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven may be considered to have been central within the German culture. Franz Kafka approximately 1917 Franz Kafka (July 3, 1883 in Prague - June 3, 1924 in Vienna) was one of the major German language writers of the 20th century most of whose work was published posthumously. ... Nicolaus Copernicus (in Latin; Polish Mikołaj Kopernik, German Nikolaus Kopernikus - February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543) was a Polish astronomer, mathematician and economist who developed a heliocentric (Sun-centered) theory of the solar system in a form detailed enough to make it scientifically useful. ... George Frideric Handel (German Georg Friedrich Händel), (February 23, 1685 – April 14, 1759) was a German-born British Baroque music composer. ... In music, the BACH motif is the sequence of notes B flat, A, C, B natural. ... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) was one of the most significant and influential of all composers of Western classical music. ... Ludwig van Beethoven Ludwig van Beethoven (baptized December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827) was a German composer of Classical music, the predominant musical figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras. ...


The Dutch and the Flemish have another standard language, so conceptually they constitute no real problem. A standard language (also standard dialect or standardized dialect) is a particular variety of a language that has been given either legal or quasi-legal status. ...


With regard to present-day conditions, many, probably most, Germans consider Austrians and the Swiss to have nationalities of their own, although their ethnicity may be defined as German. Nationality is, in English usage, a legal relationship existing between a person and a state. ... This article or section should be merged with ethnic group Ethnicity is the cultural characteristics that connect a particular group or groups of people to each other. ...


See also


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