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Germany…Then and Now!
Syllabus Point: Examine the nature of traditional society and culture in that country
Germany in 2009: Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered
to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea; to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic; to the south
by Austria and Switzerland; and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
The territory of Germany covers 357,021 square kilometers and is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. With
82 million inhabitants, it accounts for the largest population among the member states of the European Union and is
home to the third-largest number of international migrants worldwide.[4]
A region named Germania inhabited by several Germanic peoples has been known and documented before 100 AD.
Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire that lasted until
1806. During the 16th century, northern Germany became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. As a modern
nation-state, the country was first unified amidst the Franco-Prussian War in 1871. In 1949, after World War II,
Germany was divided into two separate states—East Germany and West Germany—along the lines of Allied
occupation. The two states were unified in 1990. West Germany was a founding member of the European Community
(EC) in 1957, which became the European Union in 1993. It is part of the borderless Schengen zone and adopted the
European currency, the euro, in 1999.
Germany is a federal parliamentary republic of sixteen states (Länder). The capital and largest city is Berlin.
Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, G8 and OECD. It is a major economic power with the world's third
largest economy by nominal GDP and the fifth largest in purchasing power. It is the largest exporter and second
largest importer of goods. In absolute terms, Germany allocates the second biggest annual budget of development aid
in the world, while its military expenditure ranked sixth. The country has developed a high standard of living and
established a comprehensive system of social security. It holds a key position in European affairs and maintains a
multitude of close partnerships on a global level. Germany is recognised as a scientific and technological leader in
several fields.
If you were asked to describe the nature of ‘traditional’ Germany society, what would it look
What is meant by the term ‘traditional society’? (p. 157) _______________________________
(* See political
structure diagram
under Authority)
The way people organise themselves:
Regional Groups:
- Distinct regional groups dominated Germany. Each with their own distinctive
linguistic features as independent provinces.
- Feudal System of social and socioeconomic organisation until 1830s. From 1830s
the class system, under the social and economic forces of industrialisation developed.
Political Organisation:
- Germany was unified as a modern nation-state known as the German Empire or the
Second Reich (the German word for Empire) in 1871. The Kingdom of Prussia was
its largest territory.
- What is an Empire?
Education System:
- System influenced by religious orders. Secondary and University education is
available to middle and upper classes.
Values, laws and beliefs that bind a society together:
Language and Ethnicity:
Religion: Within traditional German culture Protestantism was dominant in most
regional areas, combined with some distinctly Catholic areas (e.g. Bavaria).
Class divisions:
Individuals who are shaped by their society and culture and in turn develop a
sense of social identity:
ENVIRONMENT The physical and social setting of a society:
- great regional variations in topography and geography
Is a constant in all societies. We choose to measure it in terms of past, present
and future:
Traditional society: 10th Century – Late 1800s to early 1900s
Capacity to influence others to follow a course of action or point of view that
they would not otherwise follow:
Who exercised power in traditional German society?
Implies a legitimate use of influence and/or persuasion:
Political authority (Imperial System of Government):
- The Second Reich was ruled by an Emperor known as the Kaiser.
- He was a hereditary ruler and had enormous power. He could choose and sack
ministers, controlled foreign policy and could declare war.
- In 1888 the 29 year-old Wilhelm II became Kaiser. He was a great nephew of
Queen Vitoria of Great Britain.
Socially constructed differences between men and women:
Role of women:
Role of men:
The tools that make tasks easier:
What is industrialisation and modernisation?