How big is the territory of Germany? What has changed since modern times?
Germany has a land area of 357,500 square kilometers, ranking sixth in Europe. However, in history, Germany once owned 540,000 square kilometers of land, second only to Russia and more than Britain and France.
The reason why the German territory has undergone drastic changes is mainly due to the fact that in modern times Germany launched two world wars in order to expand its territory.
In August 843, the three sons of the Carolingian emperor Louis I the Pious signed the Treaty of Verdun in Verdun city , dividing the Frankish kingdom into: West Francia, Middle Frank Kingdom and the Kingdom of East Frank, these three countries were established, and laid the foundation of the Italian, German, and French states respectively.
Among the three countries, the most powerful was the East Frankish country. During the reign of Otto I, he took powerful measures to secure the country, and then began to conquer foreign countries. His power grew stronger and stronger. He claimed to be the successor of the Roman Empire, and his descendants established the famous holy Roman Empire.
The long period of foreign conquests led to the decline of imperial power and the country slowly fell into pieces.
This situation continued until the rise of Prussia, Prussia won victories in the Franco-Prussian War, the Franco-Austrian War, and declared the birth of a complete German state.
After the establishment of the German Empire, the territory was very large, including not only the original German vassal state, but also the two regions of Alsace and Lorraine captured from France.
At that time, the German Empire was adjacent to Tsarist Russia to the east, France to the west, Austria to the south, and Denmark to the north, with a land area of more than 540,000 square kilometers, which was second only to Tsarist Russia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Because Germany was unified relatively late, when it planned to expand externally, they found that the whole world had been divided almost. Therefore, they changed the route of external expansion, took the way of seizing resources to strengthen the country, quickly opened the road of external expansion and achieved a little success.
However, when Germany became a defeated country in World War I, it had no choice but to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which was badly affected the German land and economy.
Alsace and Lorraine were taken back by France, Saarland was taken over by France, Eupen were controlled by Belgium, and in Asia, the original sphere of influence was divided up by Germany, Austria, and Tsarist Russia. Poland took advantage of the Versailles Treaty and taking a large part of the coastal area from Germany. This area is called the "Polish corridor", which can be described as a heavy loss.
During this period, Germany suffered heavy losses. Many territories were taken away by its neighbors, and overseas colonies were gone. This turmoil cost Germany 70,000 square kilometers of land, a sharp reduction of 13.5% of its territorial area.
The land losses were severe, the German economy was destroyed, businesses went bankrupt, countless people lost their jobs, and the citizens were extremely dissatisfied with the status quo and hoped that someone would lead them out.
Not all countries were willing to see the weakening of Germany. After all, a Germany that is too weak is not in Britain's practical interests. Therefore, at that time Britain and Germany relations was more friendly than any other country but France was does not think so, they were intend to kill Germany.
Therefore, they took advantage of the weak period of Germany, and France sent troops to occupy the German Ruhr industry on the grounds that Germany did not fulfill the compensation, and the Ruhr crisis broke out. France wanted to expand its own interests in this incident. Britain and the United States did not want France to dominate Europe, and they kept putting pressure on France to withdraw from the Ruhr industrial zone. After the end of this crisis, Germany slowly came out of the predicament.
However, the First World War was too painful, and some people in Germany felt that it was a national shame, and hoped that Germany could once again restore its former glory. In this way, the lower-ranking officer Hitler took the opportunity to rise, and successively occupied the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, then sent troops to Poland, swept across Western Europe, and challenged the Soviet Union. For a time, Germany's territory increased exponentially, and most of Europe became Germany's land.
But this situation did not last long. Hitler committed suicide in desperation, and Germany immediately announced its surrender.
Germany lost more than 8 million people in World War II, the country was in ruins, and the economy was paralyzed. This time the Western powers did not take the same method as the Treaty of Versailles to seize German territory, so they ensured the tranquility of the western border, but the Soviet Union in the East was not so polite.
During World War II, the Soviet Union took a large area of Poland territory, which they could not explain to the world, so they intended to give Poland some compensation, so they gave Poland a large amount of land east of the German Oder-Neisse River and controlled Prussia by themselves. The northern region, which is now the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which was the birthplace of the Prussian Empire.
In addition to the part of the territory taken by the Soviet Union, Germany also free out the territories of Austria and Slovakia. The land area was reduced by 110,000 square kilometers and a quarter of the territory was lost.
In addition to the reduction in land area, Germany was divided into two after the war, the Soviet occupation area became East Germany, and the other occupation areas became West Germany, so Berlin was also divided into two. This situation continued until in recent years, the Berlin Wall was torn down, and the East and West Germany were divided and reunited, and a new Germany was born.
After the birth, the land area of Germany has not changed much, it still maintains 357,000 square kilometer, and now Germany plays an extremely important role in the world economy.