Category: Deutsches Reich

Categories: German History | Ehemalige Länder in Europa

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Deutsches Reich (German Realm) 1871–1918

Deutsches Reich was the official name for Germany from 1871 to 1943 in the German language, it translates literally in English to "German Empire" and appropriately "German Realm".

As the literal English translation "German Empire" denotes a monarchy, the term is used only in reference to Germany before the fall of the monarchies at the end of World War I in 1918. To refer to the entire 1871-1945 period, the partially translated "German Reich", which has no monarchical connotations, is often used, with "German Realm" being a more appropriate direct translation of the official title. Informally, this nation was also simply known as Germany.

The name "Deutsches Reich" was also often applied in contemporary maps to the Holy Roman Empire (911–1806). The history of Germany during the time of the German Reich (German Realm) is conventionally broken into three distinct periods:

  • the monarchy presided over by Emperors from the Prussian House of Hohenzollern, known in English as the Deutsches Reich "German Empire" (1871–1918)
  • the republic informally called the Weimarer Republik "Weimar Republic" (1919–33)
  • the National Socialist state commonly known as the Großdeutsches Reich "Third Reich" or "Nazi Germany" (1933–45)

Like its Latin counterpart, imperium, the word reich does not necessarily connote a monarchy; the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany used the name Deutsches Reich, while both were at least de jure republican in structure.

Following the de-facto annexation of Austria in 1938, Germany informally named itself the Greater German Reich (German: Großdeutsches Reich). This name was made the official state name only during the last two years (1943–45) of Nazi rule under Adolf Hitler. (1)

The Deutsches Reich was succeeded by the Weimarer Republik.


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03 May 1849 Klein-Flottbek, Holstein, Dänemark, Deutscher Bund - 28 Oct 1929 photo

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