Persons who consider themselves descendants of German-Pennsylvania Dutch are correctly Pennsylvania Deutch referring to the people of the Netherlands.  Most think they come from Germany. Partially this is true.

The population of Germany is 82,422,299 a density of 611 per square mile. Total area is 26,911 square miles.  The capital is Berlin with 3,389,000.

Ethnic groups are German 92% and Turkish 2%.  Chief religions are Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic  34% and about 4% Muslim.

The government is a Federal Republic with the Head of State being President. The economy is mostly Iron, Steel, Coal, Cement and Chemicals.  The chief crops are potatoes, wheat, barley, and sugar beets.

The life expectancy of the male is 75.8 and the female 82. (Source of this information is the 2007 World Almanac.


Germany, prior to World War II, was a central European nation composed of numerous states which had a common language and traditions and which had been united in one country since 1871; since World War II until 1990, had been split in 2 parts.

History and Government, Germanic tribes were defeated by Julius Caesar, 55 and 53 BC, but Roman expansion north of the Rhine was stopped in 9AD. Charlemagne, ruler of the Franks, consolidated Saxon, Bavarian, Rhenish, Frankish and other lands; after him the eastern part became the German Empire.  The Thirty Years’ War1618-1648, split Germany into small principalities and kingdoms.  After Napoleon, Austria contended with Prussia for dominance, but lost the Seven Weeks’ War to Prussia, 1866. Otto von Bismarck, Prussian chancellor, formed the North German Confederation, 1867.

In 1870 Bismarck maneuvered Napoleon III into declaring war. After the quick defeat of France, Bismarck formed the German Empire and on January 18, 1871, in Versailles, proclaimed King Wilhelm I of Prussia German emperor (Deutscher Kaiser).

The German Empire reached its peak before World War I in 1914 with 208,780 sq. mi., plus a colonial empire. After that war Germany ceded Alsace-Lorraine to France; West Prussia and Posen (Poznan) province to Poland; part of Schleswig to Denmark; lost all of its colonies and the ports of Memel and Danzig.

Republic of Germany, 1919-1933, adopted the Weimar constitution, met reparation payments and elected Friedrich Ebert and Gen. Paul von Hindenburg Presidents.

Third Reich, 1933-1945 Adolph Hitler led the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) party  after World War I. In 1923 he attempted to unseat the Bavarian government and was imprisoned.  President von Hindenburg named Hitler chancellor January 30, 1933; on August 3, 1934, the day after Hindenburg’s death, the cabinet joined the offices of president and chancellor and made Hitler fuehrer (leader). Hitler abolished freedom of speech and assembly, and began a long series of persecutions climaxed by the murder of millions of Jews and opponents.

Hitler repudiated the Versailles treaty and reparations agreements. He remilitarized the Rhineland 1936 and annexed Austria (Anschluss, 1938). At Munich he made an agreement with Neville Chamberlain, British Prime Minister, which permitted Hitler to annex part of Czechoslovakia. He signed a non-aggression  treaty with the USSR, 1939. He declared war on Poland September 1, 1939, precipitating World War II.

With total defeat near, Hitler committed suicide in Berlin April 1945. The victorious allies voided all acts and annexations of Hitler’s Reich.
Postwar changes, The zones of occupation administered by the Allied Powers and later relinquished gave the USSR Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, and Mecklenburg, and the former Prussian provinces of Saxony and Brandenburg.

The territory east of the Oder-neisse line within 1937 boundaries comprising the provinces of Silesia, Pomerania, and the southern part of East Prussia, totaling about 41,220 sq. ft., was taken by Poland. Northern East Prussia was taken by the USSR.

The Western Allies ended the state of war with Germany in 1951. The USSR did so in 1955. There was also created the area of Greater Berlin, within but, not part of the Soviet zone, administered by the 4 occupying powers under the Allied Command. In 1948 the USSR withdrew, established its single command in East Berlin, and cut off supplies. The Allies utilized a gigantic airlift to bring food to West Berlin, 1948-49. In August 1961, the East Germans built a wall dividing Berlin, after over 3 million E. Germans  had emigrated.

On November 9, 1989 the E. German Government announced the decision to open the border with the West signaling the end of the infamous Berlin Wall.
A New Era: As communism was being rejected in E. Germany, talks began concerning German reunification. At a meeting in Ottawa, February 1990, the foreign ministers of the World War II “Big Four” Allied nations – U.S., USSR, UK, and France – as well as foreign ministers of E. Germany and W. Germany reached agreement on a format for high-level talks on German reunification.

In May NATO ministers adopted a package of proposals on reunification, including the inclusion of the united Germany as a full member of NATO and the barring of the new Germany from having its own nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. In July the USSR agreed to conditions that would allow Germany to become a member of NATO.

The two nations agreed to monetary unification under the W. German mark beginning in July. The merger of the 2 Germanys took place on October 3, 1990, and the first all-German elections since 1932 were held December 2, 1990.

In 1992, neo-Nazi groups intensified their campaign against refugees. The Constitutional Protection Office reported 2, 285 violent attacks by right-wingers in 1992. Parliament approved constitutional changes to restrict foreigners’ rights to seek asylum in Germany, May 1993.

U.S. Population by reported Ancestry 2005.
(Numbers in thousands)           Population   %

German 49,179 17.1
Irish 34,689 12.0
English 27,762 9.6
American 20,536 7.1
Italian 17,235 6.0
Polish 9,771 3.4
French 9,530 3.3
Scottish 5,859 2.0
Total 288,378 100.0


Immigrants admitted by state, 2005

California 232,023
New York 136,828
Florida 122,918
Pennsylvania 28,908
Total 1,122,373


Foreign Born Population  (Number in Thousands)

Rank Year Population %
1 1880 Germany 1,967 29.4
1 1920 Germany 1,686 12.1
2 1960 Germany 990 10.2
2 1980 Germany 849 6.0
10 2000 Germany 707 2.3


Contributed by Richard Winters


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