The Federal Republic of Germany is a (relatively young) country in Europe. Germany is Europe's economic powerhouse, with a GDP of $3.31 trillion. Germany has a 2010 estimated population of 81,702,329.
 Heiliges Römisches Reich
“”This agglomeration which was called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, a new one was made out of papal hubris when the Pope, who had apparently been drinking too much German beer and mistaken Aachen for Rome, crowned a German king Holy Roman Emperor. Irony not existing in medieval Europe, the Holy Roman Empire held land the former Roman Empire never held, and basically dug the grave of the latter empire.
This "empire" lasted for roughly a thousand years before the last emperor, under pressure from Napoleon, abdicated the Imperial throne in 1806. This later became a major Nazi talking point, as the Nazis wanted to repeat this success.
Germany made more beer. The Germans drank said beer.
 Zeitalter der Industrialisierung
Germany first started to become united by the process of nationalism in the nineteenth century when it was the cultural center of Europe, producing several notable philosophers and artists, such as Immanuel Kant and Richard Wagner, both of whom enjoyed consuming the beer at Oktoberfest in München (Munich) and a little playful banter with the original St. Pauli Girl.
Also important during this period was the rise of Prussia, which took over the vacuum left by the declining Holy Roman Empire in North Germany, and expanded quite quickly, due to some improbable victories over the Austrians in the mid-18th century.
German unification, although desired by many middle-class liberals, only became a reality through Prussian military might, more specifically its victories over Austria, Denmark, and France, so as a result, the empire was fairly authoritarian in nature. It also had quite a few ethnic minorities within its borders, which created tension (this got to the point where Germany just deported Danes living in Schleswig). Germany also joined in on the whole "colonialism" thing during this era, but were quite unsuccessful, considering their size.
 Zwanzigstes Jahrhundert
However, after losing World War I, and suffering humiliating and exorbitant reparation payments, Germany came under the sway of the totalitarian Nazi Party. The Nazi party then took over local radio stations and transmitted the phrase, "Resistance is futile" on all sub-space frequencies. After they managed to conquer most of their neighbors, the combined might of the allied forces finally crushed Germany at the end of World War II and partitioned it between the United States, France,the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. The first three sectors recombined to form West Germany, while the Soviet-occupied portion was known as East Germany, and the country remained divided during the Cold War. A sizable portion of German land in the East was given to Poland, this was to compensate Poland for the loss of Polish land, which was illegally seized by the USSR at the start of WW2.
Unlike East's centrally planned model, West Germany adopted a capitalist economic system and democratic political framework, which made it a prosperous nation and much wealthier than its neighbour. West German enjoyed a high standard of living, while their East German counterparts lived in misery. Ordinary citizens in East Germany became disillusioned with their government after seeing the prosperity of the West (West German television could be seen in most of the East), which contributed to the fall of Berlin Wall and unification of the two divided Germanys.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, many feared that a newly reunited Germany would mirror the militaristic country that had existed prior to World War II. Most jokes centered around France's imminent unilateral surrender. However, Germany has thus far proved itself to be a vibrant member of the international community with strong commitments to beer, peace, beer, multilateralism, and beer, as well as a prolific exporter of high-quality pornography.
Berlin is the capital of Germany. It was captured by the Allies in 1945, and briefly was divided into Russian, American, British, and French sectors. The American, British, and French parts were united and became West Berlin. The Russian partition became East Berlin. Since Berlin was deep in East German territory, when the Soviets locked down rail lines and formed a blockade, closing off access to West Berlin, the Allies responded with the Berlin Airlift, flying enough supplies in on a daily basis to keep the city running. The result was the abandoning of the blockade of the city by the Soviets.
Germany's current government is a federal republic divided into 16 states or Bundesländer. The current head of state is President Joachim Gauck, following Christian "Who?" Wulff who has resigned after numerous scandals; the current head of government is Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel belongs to the center-right Christian Democratic Union, while Gauck is not affiliated with any party.
The German constitution is called the Basic Law, because it was formulated for West Germany only, and the Germans intended to make a new constitution if the country was unified again. However, when reunification did happen, the Basic Law was simply extended to cover East Germany as well, with a few amendments.
The Basic Law (together with the Law on the Federal Constitutional Court) puts tighter restrictions on political parties than exist in many countries: the constitutional court of Germany is allowed to ban any "anti-constitutional" party. This provision has been used to ban both communist and neo-Nazi parties; recently, an attempt was made to ban the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD), but the attempt was derailed when it turned out that a significant number of the NPD brass were in fact government informants rather than actual party members. In considering the evidence presented against the NPD, the Court decided it was effectively impossible to distinguish between genuine party material and material influenced by outsiders, and voted to dismiss the case without ruling on the ban.
Homeschooling is not permitted in Germany, except in a very limited number of circumstances, which causes all the
raving loonies reporters over at WorldNetDaily to get their knickers in a twist whenever someone is prosecuted for doing it.
In a shining display of creativity, one of Germany's primary left wing parties calls itself 'Die Linke', which literally translates to 'The Left'. Their previous name 'Die.Linkspartei' (literally 'The Left-(wing) Party') wasn't a milestone of creativity either.
Europe's largest economy is located in Germany and it weathered the troubles of the 2007-8 financial crisis better in comparison to other states. However, certain details reveal that this happened in part at the expense of the German working and middle classes, the European periphery and the prospective mid-term stability of the whole European economy. At the end of the last millenium the German Social Democrats, the equivalent of the UK Labour and US Democratic parties, came into power. They cut high-end income taxes by almost 10 per cent, started to dismantle the public benefit system and stripped away regulations for banks and employers to prove their centrist credentials. Neoliberal doctrine postulated that this would lead to a quick and broad improvement of sluggish economic numbers. When this failed to materialise the conservatives got voted back in and they doubled down on the neoliberal strategy. Slowly employment numbers rose and corporate profits skyrocketed thanks to the export industry being able to reduce wage costs.  Chancellor Merkel declared that all is well. When German wage dumping turned the 2007-8 banking crisis into a full blown currency crisis for the whole EU, Merkel responded by demanding all countries adopt wage deflation and create trade surpluses.... Yeah, although Merkel has a PhD in physics arithmetic isn't one of her strengths. The German job miracle is another point of contention: While there has been a drop in unemployment, this did not originate so much from miraculous systemic improvement. The administations under Chancellors Schröder and Merkel changed the method of counting the unemployment numbers so they appear lower as they are in reality. In addition, the observed growth in employment can mainly be attributed to a growth in low-wage jobs and temp work, also for workers with higher qualifications  leading to a decline in quality of life . Thanks to a push to destroy the public pension system a record number of retirees had to scrap the whole thing about retiring and returned to the labour market to make a living.. So in essence, the German economic miracle is a result of messing with the accounting, a decreasing standard of living for the general population and depressed economies in neighbouring countries due to a balance of payment crisis induced by Germany and Greece letting the rich dodge domestic taxes.
German Autobahnen are legendary. Legend has it they were originally designed as part of the Blitzkrieg, neatly copied from ancient Roman road system designed to transport legions to the borders. Some few decades later invading neighbours wasn't a real option anymore so they were repurposed as an open racetrack. On most parts there is no speed limit. In practice this turns out as follows: Right lane is for trucks and women. 90km/h max. Middle lane is for normal cars, about 140km/h. Left lane is for BMW and Merdeces, about 220km/h although faster is allowed. Because anything over 130km/h is considered Guilty unless proven innocent, most Germans have webcams in their Audi TT or Porsche Carrera.
Germany is also home to an automotive equivalent to Mecca in the form of the Nürburgring, and in particular its almost 23 km Nordschleife or "North Course." The "'Ring" or "Green Hell," as it is sometimes called, has hosted many memorable races and to this day hosts arguably the most challenging race in the world: the 24 Hours of Nurburgring. Unlike the NASCAR, the race involves more than 4 left turns and lasts for an entire 24 hours period (as befits the name). When not being used as a racetrack, the 'Ring is open to the public on various days wherein weekend warriors can pay a nominal fee to lap the Nordschleife at their leisure; unfortunately, this leads to anywhere between 3 and 12 deaths per given year. Additionally, the course is used by car manufacturers and independent builders the world over to test their high-performance cars; indeed, setting a Nürburgring lap time record earns bragging rights and market share even for weakly-built American cars, of which the record holder for fastest production car from a major manufacturer on the Green Hell has been the American-built Dodge Viper.
As soon as you get a company car anywhere in Europe, the first thing to do is to book a citytrip on the opposite side of Germany.
Contrary to popular belief, German humour does exist, and it is as diverse as you can expect it from a country of 82 million people.
It deals with many of the same topics that English humour does, but has its own characteristics.
- 'National minorities: "Ossi(e)s" (People from East Germany, the former GDR), "Ostfriesen" (East Frisians, who are portrayed as naive and/or stupid), Bayern (Bavarians) and so forth.
- National stereotypes: for example, Dutch drivers who block the Autobahn with their caravans.
- Gender jokes: about stupid women and primitive men.
- Government and politicians: both in the form of simple jokes and elaborate political cabaret.
- Dead babies
- "Beamtenwitze": jokes about state officials.
- Two state officials meet in the corridor. One of them asks "Can`t sleep as well, eh?"
- "Blondinenwitze": jokes about blond women, who are said to be extraordinarily stupid.
- What`s a blond woman with dyed hair? Artificial intelligence.
- "Bauernregeln": "peasants' (or farmers') rules". While there are, of course, lots of serious rules that may or may not be correct, there are at least as many nonsensical variants.
- "Kräht der Hahn hoch auf dem Mist, dann ändert sichs Wetter oder es bleibt wie`s ist." "When the rooster crows on the dungheap, then the weather will change, or stay as it is."
- Absurd humour: "Nachts ist es kälter als draußen" "At night, it is colder than outside". Yes, that is the actual translation, and no, it doesn`t make any sense in German, either. This example is often used when something completely meaningless is said by accident as a follow-up by the same person (English example: "Do you want some butter on your bed? [Pause] ...yeah, and at night, it is colder than outside...").
- Nazi jokes: which may or may not be perceived as offensive, depending on to whom you are talking.
- The East German Trabant car, notorious for its under-powered engine and cheap construction..
- "What's the best feature of a Trabant? There's a heater at the back to keep your hands warm when you're pushing it."
The main difference between German humour and its English counterpart is that German humour contains fewer plays on words. Since German is a language with strict rules, it doesn't allow as much freedom to re-arrange sentences and it doesn't contain nearly as many double meanings as the English language does.
 Siehe auch
- ↑ Modern-day Germany's official name was previously used for West Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. East Germany was the German Democratic Republic, which like present-day North Korea didn't know what "democratic" means.
- ↑ http://www.google.com.au/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=ny_gdp_mktp_cd&idim=country:DEU&dl=en&hl=en&q=gdp+of+germany
- ↑ http://www.google.com.au/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&met_y=sp_pop_totl&idim=country:DEU&dl=en&hl=en&q=population+of+germany
- ↑ Rather like the situation with the Conservapedia sysops.
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmfhDEaw3l8
- ↑ http://www.sozialpolitik-aktuell.de/tl_files/sozialpolitik-aktuell/_Kontrovers/Mindestlohn/Dostal%202012%20Minimum%20wage%201t700394.pdf
- ↑ http://www.nachdenkseiten.de/upload/pdf/kt_050827.pdf
- ↑ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703578104575397342677852482.html
- ↑ http://seekerblog.com/2012/01/17/euro-crisis-german-unit-labor-cost-repression-is-the-primary-cause-of-periphery-stress/
- ↑ http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/05/lake-wobegon-europe/
- ↑ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/business/global/the-trade-off-that-created-germanys-job-miracle.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- ↑ http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-02-28/europe/31105427_1_unemployment-rate-monthly-report-numbers
- ↑ http://www.wsws.org/articles/2012/mar2012/germ-m22.shtml
- ↑ http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/us-germany-jobs-idUSTRE8170P120120208
- ↑ http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/low-paid-workers-struggle-despite-germany-s-booming-economy-a-832724.html
- ↑ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/19/business/global/many-germans-scrambling-as-economic-miracle-rolls-past.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- ↑ http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/sharp-increase-in-the-number-of-pensioners-working-in-germany-a-852461.html
- ↑ http://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2011/07/11/110711ta_talk_surowiecki
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trabant Wikipedia entry on the Trabant