The name ‘Germany’
has three references: first to refer the region in Central Europe commonly
regarded as constituting Germany, even when there was no central German
state, as was the case for most of Germany's history; second, to refer
the unified German state established in 1871 and existing until 1945; and
third, since October 3, 1990, it refers to the united Germany, formed by the
accession on this date of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East
Germany) to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, or West Germany). The name
Federal Republic of Germany refers
to West Germany from its founding on May 23, 1949, until German unification
on October 3, 1990. After this date, it refers to united Germany. For the
sake of brevity and variety, the Federal Republic of Germany is often called
simply the Federal Republic.
The Federal Republic of Germany consists of sixteen
states (Laender; sing., Land ). Five of these Laender date from July 1990, when the
territory of the German Democratic Republic was once again divided into Laender. For this reason, when
discussing events since unification, Germans frequently refer to the
territory of the former East Germany as the new or eastern Laender and call that of the former
West Germany the old or western Laender.
For the sake of convenience and variety, the text often follows this
convention to distinguish eastern from western Germany.
Located in the Central Europe, Germany is bordered
by the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland,
south of Denmark. Roughly the size of Montana and situated even farther
north, unified Germany has an area of 356,959 square kilometers..........
Although located mostly at latitudes north of the
United States-Canadian border and thus closer to the Arctic Circle than to
the equator, Germany's climate is moderate and is generally without
sustained periods of cold or heat. Northwestern and coastal Germany have a
maritime climate caused by warm westerly winds from the North Sea; the
climate is characterized by warm summers and mild cloudy winters.............
represents the traditional heritage of Germany
in the field of literature, music, arts, cinematography, sports, cuisines
etc. In the field of literature the country has shown marked progress during
middle ages. At this time some of the master-writing received huge appraisal
for their style and mass appeal...........
German history in the Middle Ages was strongly
influenced by two opposing principles: universalism and individualism. From
their first appearance in the history of the world the Germans represented
the principle of unchecked individualism, as opposed to the Roman principle
of an all-embracing authority...........