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Facts & Figures About Germany

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Area: 357,000 sq. km. (137,821 sq. mi.); about the size of Montana.
Cities: Capital--Berlin (population about 3.4 million). Other cities--Hamburg (1.7 million), Munich (1.2 million), Cologne (964,000), Frankfurt (644,000), Essen (603,000), Dortmund (592,000), Stuttgart (582,000), Dusseldorf (568,000), Bremen (543,000), Hanover (516,000).
Terrain: Low plain in the north; high plains, hills, and basins in the center and east; mountainous alpine region in the south.
Climate: Temperate; cooler and rainier than much of the United States.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--German(s).
Population (2001 est.): 83 million.
Ethnic groups: Primarily German; Danish minority in the north, Sorbian (Slavic) minority in the east; 7.3 million foreign residents.
Religions: Protestants (27.9 million) slightly outnumber Roman Catholics (27.3 million); approximately 3.2 million Muslims.
Language: German.
Education: Years compulsory--10; attendance--100%; literacy--99%.
Health: Infant mortality rate (1998 est.)--5.0/1,000; life expectancy (1999 est.)--women 80 years, men 74 years.
Persons employed (2001 avg.): 38.8 million; unemployed (2001 avg.): 3.9 million--9.1% of labor force.

Type: Federal republic.
Founded: 1949 (Basic Law, i.e., Constitution, promulgated on May 23, 1949). On October 3, 1990, the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic unified in accordance with Article 23 of the F.R.G. Basic Law.
Branches: Executive--president (titular chief of state), chancellor (executive head of government); legislative--bicameral parliament; judicial--independent, Federal Constitutional Court.
Administrative divisions: 16 Laender (states).
Major political parties: Social Democratic Party (SPD); Christian Democratic Union (CDU); Christian Social Union (CSU); Alliance 90/Greens; Free Democratic Party (FDP); Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS).
Suffrage: Universal at 18.


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The government is parliamentary, and a democratic constitution emphasizes the protection of individual liberty and division of powers in a federal structure. The chancellor (prime minister) heads the executive branch of the federal government. The duties of the president (chief of state) are largely ceremonial; the chancellor exercises executive power. The Bundestag (lower, principal chamber of the parliament) elects the chancellor and cannot remove the chancellor from office during a 4-year term unless it has agreed on a successor. The president is elected every 5 years on May 23 by the Federal Assembly, a body convoked only for this purpose, comprising the entire Bundestag and an equal number of state delegates.

The Bundestag, which serves a 4-year term, consists of at least twice the number of electoral districts in the country (299). When parties' directly elected seats exceed their proportional representation, they may receive more seats. The number of seats in the Bundestag was reduced to 598 for the 2002 elections. The Bundesrat (upper chamber or Federal Council) consists of 69 members who are delegates of the 16 Laender (states). The legislature has powers of exclusive jurisdiction and concurrent jurisdiction with the Laender in areas specified in the Basic Law. The Bundestag has primary legislative authority. The Bundesrat must concur on legislation concerning revenue shared by federal and state governments and those imposing responsibilities on the states.

Germany has an independent federal judiciary consisting of a constitutional court, a high court of justice, and courts with jurisdiction in administrative, financial, labor, and social matters. The highest court is the Bundesverfassungsgericht (Federal Constitutional Court), which ensures a uniform interpretation of constitutional provisions and protects the fundamental rights of the individual citizen as defined in the Basic Law.



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Table A. English Equivalents of Selected German Place-Names
Table B. Selected Abbreviations
Country Profile
Transportation and Telecommunications
Government and Politics
National Security
Chapter 1. Historical Setting: Early History to 1945
Early History
Medieval Germany
The Merovingian Dynasty, ca. 500-751
The Carolingian Dynasty, 752-911
The Saxon Dynasty, 919-1024
The Salian Dynasty, 1024-1125
The Hohenstaufen Dynasty, 1138-1254
The Empire under the Early Habsburgs
The Protestant Reformation
Martin Luther
Resistance to Lutheranism
The Peace of Augsburg
The Thirty Years' War, 1618-48
The Counter-Reformation and Religious Tensions
Military Campaigns
The Peace of Westphalia
The Age of Enlightened Absolutism, 1648-1789
Austria and Prussia
The Smaller States
The French Revolution and Germany
The German Confederation, 1815-66
Economic and Political Trends Toward Unification
The Revolutions of 1848
The Restoration
Bismarck and Unification
Imperial Germany
Political Parties
The Economy and Population Growth
The Tariff Agreement of 1879 and Its Social Consequences
Bismarck's Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy in the Wilhelmine Era
World War I
The Weimar Republic, 1918-33
The Weimar Constitution
Problems of Parliamentary Politics
The Stresemann Era
Hitler and the Rise of National Socialism
The Third Reich, 1933-45
The Consolidation of Power
Foreign Policy
The Outbreak of World War II
Total Mobilization, Resistance, and the Holocaust
Chapter 2. Historical Setting: 1945 to 1990
Postwar Occupation and Division
The Establishment of Occupation Zones
The Nuremberg Trials and Denazification
Political Parties and Democratization
The Creation of the Bizone
The Birth of the Federal Republic of Germany
The Birth of the German Democratic Republic
West Germany and the Community of Nations
Rearmament and the European Defense Community
Social Market Economy
Ludwig Erhard and the Grand Coalition
The Ulbricht Era, 1949-71
Consolidation of the New State
Planned Economy
The Warsaw Pact and the National People's Army
The Berlin Wall
The "Socialist State of the German Nation"
The Social Democratic-Free Democratic Coalition, 1969-82
Willy Brandt
Helmut Schmidt
The Student Movement and Terrorism
The Greens
The Christian Democratic/Christian Socialist-Free Democratic Coalition, 1983-
The Honecker Era, 1971-89
The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
The New East German Constitution and the Question of Identity
Relations Between the Two Germanys
The Peace Movement and Internal Resistance
The Last Days of East Germany
Opening of the Berlin Wall and Unification
Chapter 3. The Society and Its Environment
Physical Setting
North German Lowland
Central German Uplands
Southern Germany
Alpine Foreland and the Alps
The Environment
Historical Background
Age-Gender Distribution
Population Distribution and Urbanization
Foreign Residents
Ethnic Germans
Ethnic Minorities
Women in Society
Marriage and Family
Postwar Christianity
Roman Catholicism
Free Churches
Orthodox Churches
Social Structure and Social Mobility
Social Structure
The Elite
The Self-Employed
Salaried Employees
Civil Servants
The Poor
Social Mobility
The Search for a New National Identity
Chapter 4. Social Welfare, Health Care, and Education
Social Insurance and Welfare Programs
Historical Development
Provisions of the Social Welfare System
Social Insurance
Unemployment Insurance
Accident Insurance
Social Assistance
Other Social Benefits
Current Social Welfare Issues and Outlook for the Future
National Health Insurance and Medical Care
Development of the Health Care System
Health Insurance
Health Care Providers
Remuneration of Health Care Providers
Current Health Care Issues and Outlook for the Future
Historical Background
Educational Policy Making and Administration
Educational Finances
The Education System
Elementary and Primary Education
Junior Secondary Education
Senior Secondary Education
Vocational Education and Training
Tertiary or Higher Education
Education in the New Lšnder
Current Education Issues and Outlook for the Future
Chapter 5. The Domestic Economy
Patterns of Development
The Social Market Economy
The Economic Miracle and Beyond
Unification and Its Aftermath
Structural and Technological Questions
The Role of Government and Other Institutions
The Federal Government Role
The Chancellor
The Minister of Finance and the Minister for Economy
The Bundeskartellamt
Land and Local Governments
Government Subsidies
Government Expenditures and the National Debt
The Associations
The Culture of German Management
Labor and Codetermination
Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing
Energy and Natural Resources
The Financial System
The Bundesbank
Banking and Its Role in the Economy
Nonbank Financing
Other Services
Chapter 6. International Economic Relations
Germany in the World Economy
Germany in World Finance and in the Group of Seven
The Deutsche Mark as an International Currency
Germany in the European Economy
Germany in the European Community
The European Single Market
Germany and the European Union
Germany in the European Monetary System
Germany and the European Monetary Union
Foreign Trade and Investment
Trade Philosophy and the Trade Balance
International Investment in and by Germany
Foreign Aid
Chapter 7. Government and Politics
Constitutional Framework
The Constitution
Government Institutions
The President
The Chancellor and the Cabinet
The Legislature
The Judiciary
The Civil Service
Land and Local Government
The Electoral System
Political Parties
Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union
Social Democratic Party of Germany
Free Democratic Party
The Greens
The Republikaner and the German People's Union
Party of Democratic Socialism
Extraparty Political Forces
Business and Industry
Labor Unions
The Churches
Citizens' Initiative Associations
The Mass Media
Radio and Television
Political Developments since Unification
Chapter 8. Foreign Relations
Major Foreign Policy Goals and Strategies
Early Developments
Postwar Developments
Foreign Reaction to Unification
Postunification Developments
Foreign Policy Formulation
Institutional Framework
Domestic Influences on Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy Positions of the Political Parties
Public Opinion
The Out-of-Area Debate
International Cooperation
North Atlantic Treaty Organization
Western European Union
European Union
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
United Nations
Chapter 9. National Security
Military Tradition
Early History
Prussia's Emergence as a Military Power
The German Military in Two World Wars
Creation of the Bundeswehr
Strategic Concerns and Military Missions
The Armed Forces
Command and Control
Franco-German Brigade and Eurocorps
Air Force
Integration of East German Armed Forces
Defense Budget
Military Justice
Uniforms, Ranks, and Insignia
Citizens in Uniform
Personnel Policies
Service Obligations
Defense Production and Export
Foreign Military Relations
International Military Missions
Internal Security
Federal Police Agencies
Land Police Agencies
Criminal Justice
Incidence of Crime and Incarceration
Dissidence and Terrorist Activity
Appendix. Tables


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