Germany is a large country in central Europe. From 1949 to 1990, it was
divided into the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal
Republic of Germany (West Germany).
On Oct. 3, 1990, East and West Germany were unified into a single nation, also
called the Federal Republic of Germany.
A Short Background
As Western Europe's richest and most populous nation, Germany remains a key
member of the continent's economic, political, and defense organizations.
European power struggles immersed the country in two devastating World Wars in
the first half of the 20th century and left the country occupied by the
victorious Allied powers of the US, UK, France, and the Soviet Union in 1945.
With the advent of the Cold War, two German states were formed in 1949: the
western Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the eastern German Democratic
The democratic FRG embedded itself in key Western economic and security
organizations, the EC and NATO, while the communist GDR was on the front line of
the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact.
The decline of the USSR and the end of the Cold War allowed for German
unification in 1990. Since then Germany has expended considerable funds to bring
eastern productivity and wages up to western standards.
In January 1999, Germany and 10 other EU countries formed a common European
currency, the euro.
||83,029,536 (July 2001 est.)
||Protestant 38%, Roman Catholic
34%, Muslim 1.7%, unaffiliated or other 26.3%
1 EURO to US Dollar : 1,1962 (April 2004)
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